Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Vote Selling Sells Us All Out

By now, there isn't too much more that I can add to the story of the Liberals' attempted bribery of Gurmant Grewal.

But Prof. Arthur Schafer has in his Edmonton Journal op-ed.

Politicians are in a trust relationship with the citizens they govern.

There are special norms that are meant to govern behaviour in the public realm. When the self-seeking values of the private sphere are illegitimately imported into the public sphere, then the public sphere becomes debased.

Public officials have a fiduciary duty to excise their judgment and allocate government offices solely on the basis of what they think is best for the community.

When citizens perceive that politicians are motivated by self-serving interests rather than the public's best interest then the very label "politician" becomes a term of abuse. What should be seen as an honourable vocation comes to be seen, instead, as mere opportunistic careerism. The resulting contempt and cynicism can easily undermine the foundation of democratic society.

If we shrug off this particular bribery attempt as politics as usual, it will become politics as usual. Public offices will become just another commodity for sale, as they once were in England in the era of the rotten boroughs, special pensions and army and navy commission sales.

The Liberals are undoing the work of centuries of progress in parliamentary democracy.

Don't let them drag us back to the 18th century.

1 comment:

Canadi-anna said...

What makes this particularly offensive, is that one of these men is unelected, and on the public payroll.