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UNIT 12 2013.docx

2 Pages

Political Science
Course Code
POLS 3440
Geoff Stevens

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UNIT 12: CORRUPTION ON THE GLOBAL STAGE OBJECTIVES: After completing this unit, you should be able to: • assess corruption as a global issue • appreciate why Canadian corruption, such as the Sponsorship Scandal, seems to pale into insignificance next to abuses in countries with less developed democratic institutions • explain the work of Transparency International in monitoring global corruption. LECTURE So far in this course we have concentrated on corruption and scandal in the North American context. We have learned about the Pacific Scandal in Canada and the Watergate Scandal in the United States, the Sponsorship Scandal in Canada and the Clinton-Lewinsky affair in the United States. We have studied the codes of conduct for MPs, ministers and lobbyists, the Access to Information Act, and the measures that have been enacted over the years to regulate political financing. Many of the issues we have examined resonate far beyond Canada’s borders. This is particularly true of issues that involve lying in politics and the role of the press as watchdog in a democratic society. A visitor from Mars who happened to log onto POLS 3440 DE could be excused for thinking that Canada must be the most corrupt, scandal-ridden place in the world, if not the universe. That’s not so, obviously. Even though Canada has slipped in recent years in the annual “Corruption Index” published by Transparency International, we remain a very “clean” country” in comparison to most countries in Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Asia, Caribbean and Latin America. It’s just that we are not doing quite as well, or keeping quite as clean, as we used to. Yet it is important to bear in mind how fortunate we are compared to most of the rest of the world. We have free elections. Our elections are not decided by bribery or fraud or at the point of a gun. We are not governed by despots who think nothing of exiling, jailing or even murdering their opponents. We have a parliamentary system that works, and works well – a system in which a government that fails to retain support in the Commons can be thrown out and forced to seek a new mandate, as happened as 2011. Our MPs and candidates are free to speak their minds and to advance unpopular views, if they wish. We have laws, codes and rules that, by and large, keep patronage and conflict of interest under control. Our election financing laws are among the most effective in the world. Some apologists for corruption embrace a double standard. While depl
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