Doug Rutherford

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Why people hate politics

November 2011
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I’m beginning to understand why the voting rate has declined to the extent that it has. It’s not that hard to realise why people can be so disillusioned with politics and politicians in light of recent events.

Thursday’s news is a perfect point to highlight this state of affairs. After several years of deliberation over campaign funding irregularities, the Conservative Party of Canada and their fundraising arm plead guilty in a plea bargain to overspending their allotted amount of advertising. As part of the plea bargain, the related charges against four individual members of the party were dropped. The party was fined a total of $52,000. To most, this would represent an action that we should, at least, express some embarrassment for. Absolute contrition would be an even better response.

So, imagine my disgust to hear the response of Fred DeLorey, the Conservative Party’s director of communications, who said in a written statement quoted by the CBC, “This is a big victory for the Conservative Party of Canada… Every single Conservative accused of wrongdoing has been cleared today.” A second response quoted on CTV news was equally astounding. Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre said. “We acknowledge there were some administrative mistakes and we are paying for those through a modest fine.” But, he said, “the practice in which we engaged in was legal and ethical.”

This is not the response one expects after you have been caught cheating in an election, admitted it in a formal statement of fact agreed to as part of the plea, and fined the maximum amount for the offence. Being caught and fined is a huge victory? And, bluntly, how the hell is something that you are willing to plead guilty for either legal or ethical? Last, but not least, no one was “cleared.” The charges were dropped to save a trial for all of the offences with the plea of guilty on the biggest offence.

Is it any wonder people can’t get excited over politics? If this is the standard for what we’re electing, why bother? We should expect better, and we should be getting it…



  1. Norm says:

    Just curious Doug. Along with quoting these statements is there anything in the CBC article that states, categorically, that the four were not exonerated and that the practice was not legal and ethical?

    Plea bargaining proves neither innocence or integrity.


    • The four weren’t exonerated, since they weren’t tried for the charges. Instead, the charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement, according to the prosecutor’s office. And since the party pleaded guilty to violating the Canada Election Act, how would the practice be legal or ethical?
      Actually, a plea bargain proves guilt more than anything else.

  2. Murray says:

    When you’re not guilty the answer is “we’ll see you in court”, Norm. Plea bargains happen when you’re guilty, and the penalty you’re being offered is lighten than what a court case would probably hit you with.

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