I find it easy to get caught up in all the speculation about the political scandal that’s brewing around the Prime Minister’s office (not to mention the Toronto mayor, the London mayor, election manipulation through deceptive robo-calls, and the political payoffs in Montreal). The storyline reads like that of a detective novel: Why did Nigel Wright, the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, give $90,000 to Senator Mike Duffy (a man who shouldn’t even be a senator from PEI because he doesn’t reside in PEI)? Who did what? Who knows what? And when did they know it? Each night I watch the news to hear the plot as it unfolds. It’s human nature to get caught in the story.
But it’s also human nature to bring more than mere curiosity to the intrigue. If I look through a spiritual and ethical lens, I begin to wonder how I am connected to the scandal. Am I just an observer? Or does my connection go much deeper? Do we, as citizens, contribute to these scandals by our lack of democratic participation, our lack of attention to the political sphere? Do politicians and their staff think they can get away with things because they’re assuming that Canadians are interested only in the issues that affect their own financial bottom-line? Are they right?
Perhaps, the deeper scandal is the way that we, as Canadians, have taken our democracy for granted --- so much so that it is slipping away from us without our even noticing it.
Sue Wilson, CSJ