On January 28, 2021, the Corruption Perceptions Index report was released for the year of 2020. Let me explain how the rankings work: each country is rated on a scale of 0-100. The closer to zero, the more corrupt your country is. The closer to 100, the cleaner it is. To find a country’s rating, it undergoes 13 different “expert assessments and surveys” that focus on business owners. 70% of countries had a score of less than 50, which is to say they are "more corrupt."
First place was tied by Denmark and New Zealand. In last place. the world's most corrupt country was Sudan, in slot 183. Just to acknowledge our neighbors to the south, the U.S. came in 25th place due to “conflicts of interest and abuse of office at the highest level”. With this in mind, we should be incredibly grateful that our very own Canada came in 11th place . However, that is until you realize that back in 2012, Canada was in fourth place. In 2018, our country was in 9th place, still within the top 10. With this knowledge, we can see that in the last ten years Canada has suddenly fallen below seven other countries on the scale. What could have possibly caused such an increase?
Taking a look back between 2012 and 2018, some big things happened to bump Canada from 4th place to 9th place on the index. Let’s look at a few of them.
The Ontario Power Plant Scandal was a major shock to Canadians. The PC and NDP cancelled two natural gas power plants, one in Oakville and the other in Mississauga. Originally, the Liberal government had stated that the cancelations only lost a measly $190- $230 million for the Mississauga plant and $40 million for the one in Oakville. Soon after, the Auditor General of Ontario released a report that showed the Mississauga cancelation actually lost $275 million and the other in Oakville lost $675 million. This gives us a grand total of $950 million wasted. The scandal was so immense that it was a major contributing factor in the resignations of Premier Dalton Mcguinty and Energy Minister Chris Bentley.
Next came the KPMG scandal. KPMG is a multinational accounting firm that decided to offer their clients a “no tax” option. This of course was a major scheme as they gave this offer for a 15% cut of their clients' profits. These schemes were linked to not only Canadian and U.S. businesses but also reached around the globe to South Africa. It was found in court that one incident had earned the company $300,000. So far, several executives have received jail time and the company has been fined around $50 billion.
A final example would be the Canadian Senate expenses scandal. This one really threw everyone for a loop as it was revealed that multiple senators that had been caught making expense charges that were not related to their position. Senators Mike Duffy, Patrick Brazeau, Mac Harb, and Pamela Wallin were all found to have claimed travel and housing expenses in their taxes that did not qualify as a write off. Wallin and Harb were only expected to pay back some of the expenses owed. Other than that, no other penalties were laid and all of the Senators (except Harb who retired) were reinstated in the Senate.
In the short years between 2018 and 2020, things clearly only escalated to land us in 11th place. What are some of the top competitors? Let’s take a look.
The biggest scandal to date was SNC-Lavalin being leaked as having bribed Libyan official Muammar El-Quadifi’s son with millions of dollars to gain civil engineering contracts in Libya. To add to the mess, former Justice Minister and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould outed Prime Minister Trudeau for having attempted to bribe her and pressure her to seek a Deferred Prosecution agreement. Had this agreement been obtained, it would have allowed SNC to continue bidding for domestic government contracts. Thankfully, Jody did not seek that agreement.
Another bold instance of corruption was reveled when WE Charity was awarded a federal contract to the tune of a $912 million Canada Student summer Grant Program. This would have been great, had the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the YMCA not pointed out some possible prejudices and unfair advantages granted to WE Charity. First of all, WE Charity had been accused of paying members of the Trudeau family to appear at some of their public events and used family photos of Trudeau's family as a celebrity endorsement on their application. Trudeau himself had - for some unclear reason - also noted that he felt they were “uniquely capable of administering the program…” and that they were, “the only possible option.”
The Prime Minister also claimed it was the choice of the civil service and not himself personally. YMCA and PSAC were skeptical of this, as they are extremely well established in Canada. Also, there was hard evidence of preferential treatment. For example, WE Charity submitted its proposal and was allowed to revise it numerous times. Interestingly enough, none of the other candidates were ever aware that a proposal was needed and there was never any attempt to contact them and notify them of the qualification.
Unofficially a scandal or is the financial managing of COVID-19 throughout Canada. A CBC post revealed that the federal government has been spending $952 million a day, Within eight months those numbers grew to $240 billion paid out to businesses, individuals, employment insurance changes, PPE, among other charges. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland released a report in Nov. 2020 that estimated COVID spending for the fiscal year (which ends March 31, 2020) will add up to
It makes people wonder how on earth the Canadian economy will ever pick up when a large majority of our total population has been kept from working for most of the year and small businesses are being shut down rampantly throughout the country. To top it off, even though most of the financial spending is available for the public to view it, the data appears vague at times and lacks certain details.
It will be curious to see what our ranking is next year for 2021 as the year has already gotten off to a poor start. The most corrupt secret our government has ever had released happened just a few weeks ago when police and health officials from the federal government forced Nikki Mathis from the Calgary airport. They gave no information to her family as to her whereabouts as they drove away with her in an unmarked van. This was the information that led us to find out about COVID detainment facilities where citizens are being held until the government is satisfied that they have tested positive for the virus.
Several government officials denied this was true at first. However, over the last few weeks, many of them have started to accept that this is happening and start speaking out. Officials such as MLA Shayne Getson, Parliament Member Jeremy Platzer and Premier Jason Kenney have all shared their opinions about how this goes against our rights as Canadian citizens. Unfortunately, there have still been other cases reported of Canadians being taken into custody since Nikki Mathis; this battle is clearly still ongoing and we have yet to see resolution or consequence.
Although this next scandal took place right after Christmas 2020, it took place so close to the new year that it definitely set a tone that carried into 2021. Rod Phillips, Ontario’s Finance Minister, was caught vacationing outside of the country on December 29, 2020. He had left with his wife on December 13, 2020 even thought the Canadian government was strongly urging all citizens to avoid unnecessary travel. By December 31, 2020 Phillips released a statement that he had resigned from his position. Along with Phillips were 24 MLAs, MPs, and other government officials that had travelled abroad. All of them announced their resignations shortly after Phillips.
Last but not least, Justin Trudeau had invited the Chinese People’s Liberation Army to come to Canada to train back in 2020. Specifically, the joint exercise was cold weather training, which is essentially exercising in the cold to increase your blood flow and in turn have better heart health. At this time, two Canadian citizens, Micheal Spavor and Micheal Kovrig, had been kidnapped by China so the Canadian Armed Forces cancelled the training entirely. It’s been said that our Prime Minister was outraged by this decision.
These are all just a few examples from these specific time frames which are the most shocking. However there are still many others out there, who knows what will be found out in the future.