Two stories are unfolding in Canada that appear to continue the downward spiral of ethical lapses by contemporary leaders. The first concerns Rob Ford, Mayor of Toronto.The second, Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
The beleaguered Toronto Mayor, Rob Ford is back in the news.
Ford has been charged in past with conflict of interest, sexual harassment, public intoxication, bigotry and driving under the influence.
Ford's latest challenge could prove his undoing. He is alleged to have smoked crack cocaine, purportedly captured on video.
Apparently Ford was filmed cavorting with known drug dealers, one of whom was shot dead by persons unknown sometime after the video was shot.
Ford is now the subject/target of every late night comedy show host in North America.
So much for Toronto-the-Dull.
Amidst calls for a statement, demands that he enter rehab by staffers, and an angry citizenry demanding his resignation, Ford has stonewalled.
Nonsense is the official reply, delivered by Doug Ford, the Mayor's seemingly smarter brother.
Prime Minister Harper, the law-and-order, clean-up-government-corruption 'broom' of just a few years ago, is mired in ethics controversy as well.
The P.M.'s Chief of Staff, Nigel Wright payed Senator Mike Duffy's $90,000 of disallowed housing expenses from his own pocket.
Harper claims he didn't know. That's why he accepted Wrights resignation much later than perhaps he should, he explained.
Any Canadian that believes Harper didn't know what was happening right under his nose hasn't been paying attention to the Prime Minister's modes operandi.
The ultimate control freak, not even the Tory backbench can utter a word without his express approval.
This is the same Harper who slammed then P.M.Paul Martin for the mess he inherited from Jean Chretien, known as Sponsorgate.
Here's what Harper said then:
"At worst, he personally ordered it done and chose the people who executed the plan. At the very least, he fostered an attitude within the party, chose the managers of the people who committed these crimes and completely and utterly failed to exercise any oversight, supervision or leadership. In the end, it doesn't really matter where [his] actions or lack of them fall on that scale. He is the leader and a leader is responsible for the actions of the people he leads. If he had a right or honourable bone in his body, he’d admit that and resign immediately." - Stephen Harper on Paul Martin, during the Gomery Investigation, 2005.
Perhaps Mr. Ford and Mr. Harper should be held to account in just such a manner should it be learned that they both stepped across ethical boundaries.
© Patrick O’Neill 2013. All rights reserved.