“Be the change that you wish to see in the world,” Mahatma Gandhi advised.
What would journalist Mike Duffy say about Senator Mike Duffy? Maybe three things:
1. This is not a Senator from PEI who has just arrived in the capital and jumped off the back of the potato wagon and knows nothing of perceptions and politics. This is an experienced former journalist who knows all about the “sniff” test, the “how will it look on the front page of the Globe” test, and the piranha-like instincts of the media to go after politicians they see as covering up or seeking personal gain at taxpayers’ expense.
2. Parliament put in place the Accountability Act. Why don’t Parliamentarians follow Gandhi’s advice, and their own, and practice accountability
3. Why didn’t the Senator get a bank loan and repay it, instead of the questionable “gift” from the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff?
Public servants are rightly held to a high standard. Senators should be as well.
We speak of transformational leadership – how have respected journalists Duffy and Pamela Wallin been transformed into the leadership examples we now see? Is it the system? Is it the lack of accountability and openness mechanisms? Is it a character flaw that has surfaced in the circumstances?
Should Senators be held to the same standards of accountability as senior public servants? The Canadian Taxpayers Federation thinks so, and has suggested an Accountability Act 2.0 for them.
Senator Vern White, former chief of police in Ottawa, is quoted in today’s Citizen: “(The public) demand integrity and they don’t feel like they’ve received that and we have to understand it when we communicate with them…Integrity’s all we have, … loyalty can’t be more important than integrity.”
Indeed. Let’s see integrity. Let’s see leadership the public, and the public service, can respect. Let’s see the Senate be the change they want to see in the world.