"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Thursday 4 April 2013

"By their deeds ye shall know them"

I am  slowly and clumsily learning to appreciate the ipad.
Comments are an essential part of the blog. I need them.
Unfortunately I am receiving a spate of trash  as well. Legitimate  comments to the post are occasionally thrown out with the trash.
Others are unpublished because I don't want to be indirectly responsible for the sentiment expressed.
A comment yesterday re-hashed the argument  a person who is not in favour of a Code  of Ethics is afraid of what might be dug up about themselves. It's the kind  of logic Catherine Marshall might  express.
What kind of ethic  would allow such a groundless accusation to be made.
Yet  it is the kind of worthless assumption politicians fear.
Failure to vote in favour of a Code of Ethics means voters will assume an inclination towards corruption.
The  same flawed logic allowed Councillor Ballard to make a baseless accusation against council members Tuesday, on the pretext he was serving  public interest.
The same allowed Councillor Gaertner last term, to believe an application for a grant for her non-profit  youth club business was not a conflict  despite being  a member of Council.
The same allowed  the Council to approve the grant.
The common factor is a Coucillors' ability to believe in their own honesty while doing something patently dishonest,
The problem is not a lack of honesty.
The problem  is  a lack of judgement.
Without judgement, ethics become a hit and miss affair,mostly
They are  whatever a politician can justify in his own mind; whatever  he thinks he can sell to his own advantage.
The idea municipal politicians can agree to rules governing individual behaviour in every situation is a contradiction in terms.
For example, on Tuesday, a motion to publish Councillors expenses annually failed  A motion to publish quarterly failed. Someone moved to publish  every six months; the majority agreed.
Compromise happened.
Expenses are currently published annually.Councillor Ballard raised  suspicion something was amiss.  Politicians are naturally jittery. It's the nature of the beast.
Ethics written, hard and fast, in a Code, cannot be compromised.
Politics is the art of compromise.
The two cannot co-exist. At best the logic is flawed . At worst a  cynical sham.
The town's first  Integrity Commissioner  was an academic. He was excited  by the opportunity
to  introduce ethics into municipal politics.
He  set up two workshops.
Neither the former Mayor nor chief co-hort attended the first.  The second was not allowed.
At the first workshop I asked the Commissioner how much he knew  about municipal poltics.
He responded he had dealt with "governments with blood on their hands"
The Integrity Commissioner was "stripped of his authority" concurrently with his first decision.
He found the complaint filed by one Councillor and supported by five others, including the former Mayor, was "purely political"


Anonymous said...

Ages ago, I recall you stating that they made all those convoluted plans & then could not understand why so few of them actually worked. When residents can clearly see the wheels turning, it is difficult to disguise the intent of that sanctimonious trio.

Anonymous said...

Councillor Ballard has created a bit of a problem for himself and others. He claims to uncovered plots and conspiracies all over town in every little nook and cranny. but people who actually know the so-called plotters are rolling their eyes at his stupidity.
I wonder if he still stuffs material under his bedroom door to keep Dracula from floating into the room as smoke at night.

Anonymous said...

Christopher Ballard reminds me of a room-mate I had at school. She was hell-on-wheels with the younger girls, inventing rules & calling them on minor infractions. Had no authority - just took it. Woe to anyone 5 minutes late for curfew coming back from the Library in a blizzard or giggling in chapel. She over-saw the residence elections with an iron fist, pulling ballots when the X strayed a fraction. Constant petty nagging.
I have no idea how it happened & don't want to know. but come the exams in spring, she was throwing up each morning in the communal washroom. Another individual was on his/her way.