Ottawa Pols Are Well-Served, But Where’s The Public’s Service?

 

Politics, 21st-century style, is not about what’s best for the community but what’s best for me.

It’s about money and power. That’s not good.

Capital Councillor Shawn Menard receives $300,000 from a developer for his ward. The right wing of council finds all sorts of dark motives for this and no end of inuendo. Of course, the right wing of council is not above receiving many campaign donations from people related to developers. (By the way, Ottawans might have the idea that donations from developers and labour groups have been eliminated in the municipal election process. They would be wrong. The loophole is that individuals can donate to a campaign. That a number of these donations come from friends, relatives, owners and employees of developers is probably just a coincidence. But that’s how developers keep municipal politicians on a short leash. Sometimes even children of developers make campaign donations though where they come up with the cash is a mystery.)


Hypocrisy perchance? Nah, that’s politics. Let’s overlook the inconvenient. What’s in it for me?

So the right on council ascribes all sorts of motives to Menard and the money. “I have it on good authority that …” Really, and what good authority is that? Thin air? Gossip? Rumour? The guy next to you just talkin’. Say that outside the council chamber and you’re subject to libel if you can’t prove it. Inside the council chamber, you can say what you want. Truth doesn’t matter as a defence. No end of politicians take advantage of that in chambers of good governance across the country.

Councillors on the right attribute the acceptance of the donation as unacceptable. Councillors on the left say the donation was a goodwill gesture by the developer.

So how does this controversy end at council? The donation is split up to go to every ward.

Now let’s see. The right says it’s bad ethics to accept such a huge donation for your ward. But, and this is a big but, it’s okay for everyone to receive part of the money.


So if one politician sidles over to the trough, that’s bad. But if every politician sidles over to the trough, that’s good. Ethics are especially situational these days. Generation entitlement is running the joint now.

Oink.

Welcome to the ethics of the 21st-century politician.

What does this have to do with good governance? Nothing. It’s about scoring political points.

The transit system has been butchered, the ByWard Market is a mess of homelessness and violence, the police department is a wreck, Lansdowne doesn’t work and won’t work after $419 million is plowed into it,

But what are these guys worried about? Themselves. Maybe you could throw a worthless night mayor into this mix as well.

Public service? Why yes. The public makes sure the pols and the staffers are well-served.

Ken Gray

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