Like all governments around the globe, Canada has had a bit of a checkered past – even though it enjoys a reputation and perception in the global community as one of the better places to live around the world. Politicians however, as we see all too often today, are fallible people and some of them definitely have a few shortcomings as far as moral and ethical guidelines are concerned.
Here are just some of the bigger political scandals of Canada and the impact that they had on this great nation.
The Pacific Scandal
Though there aren’t any surviving members of the Canadian citizenry to tell us the impact that the Pacific Scandal had in 1873, the sheer magnitude of the scandal makes it one of the most memorable of the Canadian governments past.
According to documents and research, in 1872 Sir John A Macdonald (and other conservative government members) accepted $350,000 – not adjusted for modern day inflation – in campaign donations from Sir Hugh Allan in exchange for government contracts to build the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Even though the Prime Minister protested that the donations and the awarding of the contracts had absolutely nothing to do with one another and were to completely unrelated events, a telegram sent six days before no election stating “I must have another $10,000. Will be the last time of calling. Do not fail me. Answer today” would tend to point in a different direction.
The Hospital Document Scandal
Fast forwarding quite a bit, in January 1978 Solicitor Gen. Francis Fox was involved in quite a scandal that left the Liberal government shocked right to its core. Having little whatsoever to do with a government funds and no violation of his post, Francis Fox was found guilty of assisting a woman he had nothing with receive any illegal abortion – even going so far as to sign the woman’s husband’s name on a hospital document, committing forgery.
Two years later he was back in the cabinet, until he lost the 1984 election.
The APEC Scandal
In 1997, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police ended up pepper spraying protesters that lined the travel route of world leaders looking to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference in Vancouver. The prime minister at the time (a liberal named Jean Chretien) made light of the matter, commenting that he used pepper on his plates – inferring that it was no big deal whatsoever.
Four years later, a retired Saskatchewan judge found that the Royal Mounties had acted inappropriately, and that the Prime Minister was responsible for issuing orders then led to the unnecessary and unprovoked attack.
The Billion-dollar Scandal
In 2000, Human Resources Development Minister Jane Stewart found herself in some very real and serious trouble after the government was unable to account for nearly $1 billion that was supposed to be spent on job creation and educational projects. 12 different audits were carried out by the RCMP, and even though Stewart faced an onslaught of questioning for months and months by the House of Comments she was able to retain her position – but decided not to run for reelection in 2004.
Rob Ford, Mayor of Toronto
This brings us all the way up to the modern day and the almost unbelievable (but shockingly true) story that continues to unfold on a daily basis surrounding Toronto’s mayor Rob Ford.
Whether it’s his admission of smoking crack (while in office), his in appropriate comments to reporters about the activities that he conducts in his bedroom with his wife, or any of the other almost too unimaginable to believe comments that he makes on a regular basis, Rob Ford is a walking scandal in the Canadian government.
Some compare him to the Charlie Sheen of Canada, which is not exactly the highest form of praise in any way, shape, or manner.
So there you have it. These are some of the most shocking political scandals of Canada, and there sure not to be the last. Canada has earned its reputation as a beautiful place to live, a beautiful place to work, and a beautiful place to be born in – but it certainly has its fair share of a dark underbelly. Just ask Mayor Rob Ford.