By Erin Drushel
Last week the Canadian Senate voted to suspend Sens. Patrick Brazeau, Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy, as they are under investigation for claiming wrongful expenses and/or abusing housing allowances. This is only the second time in Canadian history that a Senator has been suspended, but this time it’s threefold.
Frankly, they got what they deserved.
And is it just me, or is one of the most annoying things about this whole scandal – apart from the alleged abuse of the public purse – a whiny Pamela Wallin. Boo-hoo, I’m telling you they’re not treating me fairly. I was confused by the paper work… you were a reporter once. You and Mike Duffy; and you’re trying to get the sympathy of Canadians by crying ignorance? News flash! You two – of all people – should have known better. A part of your previous lives was calling out the same type of nonsense you’re alleged to have pulled.
Whatever happened to suck it up and do the right thing?
Now that I live in the U.S., it’s not often I get asked about Canadian politics – nobody asks me about Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford, but that’s because it’s already plastered (no pun intended…) around the world. But this past spring I was surprisingly asked about the expenses scandal in the Canadian Senate. It was something to the effect of, “What’s up with that Duffy guy?” But even so, that passing question lent greater magnitude to the problem. People outside of Canada were taking notice.
And since the scandal broke, I’m often asked, “Doesn’t Canada have a mechanism for getting rid of these jokers? Don’t you have impeachment laws?” …and so on. And I find myself continually saying that – according to some cursory glances – in theory we do, but Canada has never really had to deal with these issues before, at least not in this way.
And really, isn’t that at the heart of it?
The hard reality is that we Canadians need to face the fact that when it comes to punishing political abuse, these theoretical possibilities that exist can no longer remain theoretical. We are coming to a point where, moving forward, we’re going to need these mechanisms in some known working order.
Pamela Wallin may say that this is a “sad day for democracy” because she’s been suspended; but, she really has no idea just how sad a day it is.
On the one hand, having clear rules and guidelines to manage political scandals just makes sense. But on the other, it should be painfully sad that – as a nation – we’ve come to this: having to anticipate the worst in our politicians/people.
Perhaps it’s been a long time coming, but in my view, that’s a long-held Canadian ideal now shattered.
– Erin Drushel