GUEST BLOG: Looking for truth in the SNC-Lavalin controversy

By Iyiola Adebayo

As parties in the SNC-Lavalin corruption scandal fight to keep their heads above water, Canadians are in the dilemma of having to decipher all the questions with few answers.

One important question in all of this, though is:  Are Canadian values and corporate and governmental ethics eroding?

As I carved out my thoughts and opinion, two similarly themed songs humorously flooded my mind; the lyrics of Pete Townsend of The Who, ‘We won’t get fooled again,’ and African music legend, Fela Kuti’s campaign against corruption in successive governments.

At the tail end of Townsend’s lyrics, he sings, ‘Meet the new boss, same as old boss,’ and in Kuti’s; ‘Soldier go Soldier Comes’ (The barracks remains the same).

Seems to me that these lyrics appropriately categorizes governments not only in Canada, but around the world as often similar. The only thing constant is their names or the parties they represent.

Canada ranks the 9th least corrupt nation on Transparency International’s “corruption index, but corruption isn’t new to Ottawa. Time and space would not permit me to list corruption cases big and small; from the Conservative’s Pacific scandal in 1871 to the Liberal’s Sponsorship scandal in 1996 and now the SNC-Lavalin controversy.

While the outside world thinks Canada is almost virgin to corruption, the noise generated here in Canada from various corruption cases from parliament to big business, and of course local businesses, is deafening.

It has left me, as an African Canadian – confused.

Well, you can’t really blame me, coming from the background of a free-for-all corruption arena without a judiciary strong enough to hold sway for posterity.

In this season leading to elections in Canada in the fall, and amid troubling corruption allegations at the height of governance, Canadians must not be divided by whose noise is the loudest. But in all of the confusion we must find a unifying salient truth that we can embrace and uphold regardless of party and affiliations, so our founding beliefs are intact.

A 2009 series of reports from the Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Saskatchewan succinctly encapsulates this this truth:

“Canada’s corruption problem is relatively minor by International standards, but it is substantial when considered against the definitions and standards that Canadians have come to adopt in evaluating their political institutions…” Michael M. Atkinson

Corrupt people will always be among us, but like our guest Larry Law, owner of the Living Water Resort, where 43 Mexicans were working in his hotel by day and found living in squalor by night – he rose to the occasion and made things right. Hats off also to the Ontario Provincial Police who literally say they,  “rescued” the workers.

Also worthy of mention, are the brave whistleblowers calling out corrupt people in government and institutions.

Canadians must continually rise up to hold its government accountable; and speak truth to power.

For people of faith, it’s probably even much more complex where to stand, but the scripture clearly teaches that we should always take a prayerful standpoint for our nation and all its leaders.

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