Given the minority government, the next election could happen any time, so our election law needs to be strengthened as soon as possible to ensure our next election is more fair, honest and democratic.
It’s long past time for federal political parties to close the unethical loopholes, and ensure a fully independent, fully empowered, accountable and strong ethics commissioner is appointed to enforce the rules, and to penalize all violators.
Everyone should question whether the information about cabinet decisions that Vice-Admiral Norman allegedly shared really was secret, and therefore whether sharing that information should be included as evidence of his alleged breach of trust.
The ban should be changed into a sliding scale from one to five years that applies to all politicians, staff, appointees, and government officials—with a longer cooling-off period for people who have more power and connections, and a shorter cooling-off period for people with neither. The commissioner of lobbying should be empowered to decide the specific period for each person.
These changes won’t stop bribery but they will discourage it by making it more clearly illegal, and by increasing the chances of getting caught. Until all Canadian jurisdictions—federal, provincial, territorial and municipal—make these changes, big money will continue to dominate, and corrupt, our politics.