Saturday, June 28, 2014

Crooked Politicians?

On June 13, 2014, Joe Fontana was found guilty of fraud, forgery, and breach of trust for actions that took place in 2005 when he was a Liberal Party cabinet minister of the Federal Parliament of Canada (see the Maclean’s article here).  As a result, Fontana resigned from his position as Mayor of London, Ontario, Canada on June 19, 2014.  The conviction relates to using taxpayer money to pay for his son’s $1,700 wedding reception in 2005.

Fontana stated, “I obviously need to digest what has taken place, talk to my legal team, and look at what I’m going to do.”  He also said that he regrets “that all this had to happen, especially for the people of London.”  Furthermore, Fontana said that he was “very surprised, shocked, [and] devastated” by the verdict.

Before we move on, let’s take a moment to digest the situation.  So, this story relates to one politician and one incident.  But, are we naïve enough to believe that this only applies to a solitary politician?  Might there be some politicians who have done similar things on occasion?  Of course not!  All politicians are upstanding citizens who only want what is best for their constituents!  Yah, right!

Now, consider the following train of thought: Since the inception of government in our respective countries, how many times have politicians lied to the people?  How many times have politicians made closed-door agreements or shady business transactions at the expense of the people?  What about other government employees who have expense accounts?  Since our governments have been put in place, how much money have the people been defrauded of?  Given the amount of politicians and government employees who have come and gone, I could never come up with a figure that would approximate this amount of money.  Would it be sufficient to cover the deficit?  Maybe, you never know!  But I digress…

Coming back to the reality of these types of circumstances, we must also ponder the level of trust that we citizens place in the hands of politicians.  After all, politicians have repeatedly shown us that they cannot be trusted!  Nevertheless, we continue to elect these types of people and they continue to disappoint us.  What I find repugnant is the fact that an abundance of the politicians who are “discovered” like Fontana claim that their actions resulted from innocent mistakes.  And, worse yet, they often get away with only a slap on the wrist!  For those who are charged and found guilty, a conviction of “breach of trust” is an enormous understatement!  And what do we do about it?  Squat!

The whole affair is sad.  These positions as our “representatives” are nothing but revolving doors.  The way things are going, anytime that a politician gets singled out for inappropriate behaviour or caught for any wrong-doing or crime, they’ll be able to get away with the whole thing with an excuse as simple as, “I blame it on fast foods!”

- B. J. T. Pepin

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