Ford, Coderre, Brazeau, Duffy and Wallin: their stories suggest a bold change to the system

This morning, the embattled franchise of Toronto mayor Rob Ford leaped ahead of the Senate scandal as the lead story in Canada’s news media. Accused of smoking crack cocaine, Ford proposed that police release a video of his alleged activity. Presumably they can’t do that without authorization from the courts.

Also today it was announced that Denis Coderre was elected mayor of Montreal by only 13 per cent of eligible voters. The actual proportion of the vote he received among four anti-corruption candidates was 32 percent. But 60 per cent of eligible Montrealers didn’t vote.

Pundits explained the low turnout as a reaction to corruption. Two Montreal mayors resigned since 2009 over corruption scandals. Just days before this weekend’s election Coderre pushed his Équipe Coderre party colleague Robert L. Zambito to withdraw as a candidate for council because of a police investigation into an alleged $20,000 bribe.

These are just the most recent political scorchers that have burned through Canada’s government. Obviously, the electoral system fails to to enlist people who would put self-interest aside during their tenure in government. Neither does the appointment system, responsible for putting Patrick Brazeau, Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin into the Senate.

With the will of voters who want to trust their government, we could be bold and change the system. But let’s think out of the box this time and avoid political influence. Let’s switch to basic democracy.

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