Trump’s impeachment trial was a perversion of justice

These absurdities don't fit any legitimate expectation of a legal proceeding, let alone a trial of the most powerful person on the planet

Trump’s impeachment trial was a perversion of justiceSince judges exist for the essential goal of delivering justice to fellow citizens, a vigorous ethical commitment should be a key part of their professional code. Spanish moral philosopher Adela Cortina notes that corruption is encouraged by the weakening of the internal good. The world had front-row seats to the judicial proceedings in the second…

Buttergate compromises the farmer-consumer contract

Deep-rooted problems within dairy industry finally being exposed

Buttergate compromises the farmer-consumer contractThe Dairy Farmers of Canada should be commended for asking members to stop using palmitic acids in feed while launching a national investigation into the matter. For likely the very first time in its history, arguably the most powerful lobby group in the country opted to listen to Canadians. It’s not easy to admit publicly…

Covid-19 and our forgotten freedoms of assembly and association

It is in emergencies that we see whether our deepest societal values mean anything

Covid-19 and our forgotten freedoms of assembly and associationBy Nnaemeka Ezeani and Dwight Newman Macdonald-Laurier Institute Government restrictions on various forms of gathering have bothered many Canadians throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. While freedoms are subject to limits for appropriate policies to protect life and health, there is a lingering sense that some of these policies have gone astray. But many find it hard…

Thankfully 2020 is over, but we’re not out of the woods yet

There's that little matter of actually rolling out the vaccines on a much wider scale in Canada

Thankfully 2020 is over, but we’re not out of the woods yetSad to see 2020 go? You’re in the minority … of one. Everyone else was quite ecstatic to roll out the welcome mat for 2021. The biggest issue we faced in 2020 was obviously the coronavirus pandemic. More than 85 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 worldwide, leading to nearly 1.85 million deaths as…

Trudeau’s litany of broken promises, and higher carbon taxes

Trudeau told us he wouldn’t be increasing taxes. He lied

Trudeau’s litany of broken promises, and higher carbon taxesBy Aaron Wudrick Federal Director and Franco Terrazzano Alberta Director Canadian Taxpayers Federation Happy New Year taxpayers! Well, maybe not so happy after all. Courtesy of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, you can now expect higher home heating bills and gas prices. The Trudeau government recently rolled out new plans to massively increase the carbon tax…

The slippery ethics of paying grocery executives bonuses

COVID-19 has made us realize that many people whose jobs are too important to be interrupted are the ones earning the least money

The slippery ethics of paying grocery executives bonusesAlmost everyone agrees that grocery store workers should earn better wages, especially during a pandemic. In Canada, their hourly rate hovers around $15 an hour. New hires get about $13 an hour, while the highest paid earn almost $50,000 annually, or about $25 an hour. In a high-volume, low-margin world, salaries are what they are.…

What happens when capitalism lacks a soul?

Corporations have created a structure that’s unsustainable on political, economic, environmental and even spiritual levels

What happens when capitalism lacks a soul?In recent decades across the globe, the super rich have been getting richer while the middle class shrinks. This is a danger not only to our economy but to democracy itself. Unfortunately, while millions of people have lost their livelihoods during the COVID-19 pandemic, the richest of the super rich have seen their assets balloon.…

Why can’t Trudeau grasp what ‘conflict of interest’ means?

If he can’t figure out that his family’s involvement with the WE Charity was a conflict of interest, then he really does have an ethical blind spot

Why can’t Trudeau grasp what ‘conflict of interest’ means?Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been criticized for his seemingly cavalier attitude with respect to parliamentary procedure and taking ethical stands. The running joke has been that either he doesn’t know, doesn’t care or experiences things differently than others. Here’s yet another example and it’s one of the strangest to date. Trudeau, like many of…

How to raise a generation of moral, courageous rebels

Personality and upbringing play a significant role in developing moral character, but certain aspects can be taught

How to raise a generation of moral, courageous rebelsThe primary goal of teaching Social Studies in British Columbia is “to give students the knowledge, skills and competencies to be active, informed citizens who are able to think critically.” We want to produce students who can think for themselves and have the moral courage to advance our society in an ethical manner. Accomplishing this…

Trudeau’s lack of a moral code keeps getting him in trouble

And hiring a director of ethics won't do much to curb his natural tendencies

Trudeau’s lack of a moral code keeps getting him in troublePrime Minister Justin Trudeau will soon visit Canada’s ethics commissioner for the third time in five years. His ethical standards and lack of a moral code have been in question as the result of two previous controversies – visiting the Aga Khan’s private island and the SNC-Lavalin boondoggle. This new political controversy could be the…

Justin just keeps digging his political grave

With the WE scandal, Trudeau is at it again

Justin just keeps digging his political graveThe coronavirus pandemic is one of the biggest events of our collective lifetimes. You don’t have to take a poll. It just is. Millions of Canadians without work. Companies going bankrupt. Families in crisis. And, of course, 110,000 of us infected with Covid-19, and more than 9,000 dead. It has been a cataclysm. It has…

Could WE Charity spell the end of Trudeau?

He’s become the Rodney Dangerfield of Canadian politics: no respect at all

Could WE Charity spell the end of Trudeau?Picture this imaginary scene. In a dark corner of dank Rideau Cottage sits Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He’s resting comfortably in an old armchair, thinking about his future – and what he might wear to his next costume party, one assumes. His political honeymoon ended what seems like several lifetimes ago. His role as a…

Canada’s foreign policy isn’t what it used to be

Unfortunately, the list of ethical failures by the current Liberal government is very long

Canada’s foreign policy isn’t what it used to beCanada recently failed in a bid to become a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. It’s something neither Stephen Harper’s nor Justin Trudeau’s government has been able to achieve. The last time Canada was on the Security Council was when Jean Chretien was prime minister in 2000. Before that, it was during the…

Some day soon, we have to stand up to China

We must be prepared to stand our ground and face whatever economic and political consequences that may follow

Some day soon, we have to stand up to ChinaDiplomacy is a dirty business. When two countries are trying to build or repair a relationship, they often resort to tactics that are illegal, immoral, mendacious or just generally offensive to our sense of what’s right and wrong. Just ask the two Michaels. Diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor have been in prisons in…

Why nice guys ultimately finish first, in business and life

Ethical companies understand the importance of a good public image, employee satisfaction and having repeat customers

Why nice guys ultimately finish first, in business and lifePhrases like, “It’s a dog eat dog world,” and “Nice guys finish last,” suggest it doesn’t pay to be kind or ethical. If you want to make it in this world, you apparently have to drive a hard bargain and look out for No. 1. Not true, say the statistics. According to the statistics, companies…

Sending a harsh message to sports’ cheaters

Baseball suspensions and fines should reverberate through all sports, down to children's athletics. Cheating is a social ill that needs to be addressed

Sending a harsh message to sports’ cheatersMajor League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred handed the Houston Astros severe penalties for cheating this week. Manfred suspended Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch for a year each for their role in using electronic equipment to steal the signs of opponents. He also fined the organization $5 million and stripped the Astros…

Sport, at its best, can help change the world

Leaders must fully incorporate social, cultural and environmental considerations – not just economic ones – in their decision-making

Sport, at its best, can help change the worldOne of the greatest, and most memorable, sports-related quotes comes from Nelson Mandela. “Sport has the power to change the world,” said Mandela. “It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create…

How politicians manipulate our decision making

The recent federal election offered us a lesson on how the manipulation of a narrative can have dramatic impact on how we think and behave

How politicians manipulate our decision makingLike many Canadians, I was amused and entertained (and appalled) by the recent Canadian election. But beyond the entertainment factor, there was a lesson here about human behaviour which we need to take to heart. The spate of scandals (#MeToo, political interference in the legal system, racism, lapses in ethical behaviour, the Norman Affair)  surrounding…

Like father, like son? How Justin and Pierre compare

I thought Justin Trudeau was largely free of his father's unattractive qualities. Or would at least hide them better. I was wrong

Like father, like son? How Justin and Pierre compareSome of the chatter around the federal election focused on the potential comparison between Justin Trudeau in 2019 and his father, Pierre Trudeau, in 1972. Given the circumstances – both men running to defend convincing majorities won four years earlier – it was an obvious topic. I wrote a column on it last January, specifically…

Capitalism has its own moral virtues

Dictating social outcomes for corporations is unnecessary and unproductive

Capitalism has its own moral virtuesIn a time where capitalism is under attack from several directions, it’s also being undermined by the very individuals and organizations that should be defending it. The Business Roundtable, a group of chief executive officers of more than 100 of the largest publicly traded corporations in the United States, recently issued an open Statement on…

Which unprincipled party will you be voting for?

Even overlooking the personal smears, record fudging, or repressing the truth, the parties are filled with contradictions of the things they stand for

Which unprincipled party will you be voting for?If there were any idealism left regarding the virtues of Canadian politics, the current federal election campaign is almost certain to have smashed it. Good governance and the common good were not the winners in last week’s English language debate. Thursday's French language debate was a slight improvement, but a one-off exception hardly undoes the…

Moral indignation needs some perspective

We’re behaving as though absolutely nothing we do today will cause future generations to look back at us as backward, insensitive and brutish

Moral indignation needs some perspectiveThere’s a certain myopic moral indignation in the criticism of prominent public figures for having painted their faces, dressed inappropriately, or said or done things in the past that we find offensive today. It’s understandable, for example, that many are offended and disappointed in the conduct of Justin Trudeau. These feelings are justified and important.…

Beyond carding: how police surveillance has dangerously evolved

The end of carding won’t cease the gathering of information. Instead, it will be entered into police data bases without the public’s knowledge

Beyond carding: how police surveillance has dangerously evolvedWe’re in the era of predictive policing, geo-profiling and crime prevention – carding 2.0 – and need to ask the tough questions about what that means. Understanding and safeguarding personal freedom and civil rights is more critical than ever. The pace at which artificial intelligence is being developed and incorporated is far outpacing the regulatory…

Can ethics save capitalism?

The rise of angry populism has illustrated one critical truth – CEOs and other business leaders need to align their actions with the greater good

Can ethics save capitalism?The most common criticism of capitalism is that it has no history of working for the benefit of society as a whole. You may be surprised to learn that major schools of thought believe this is a virtue, not a fault of capitalism. If you had asked the late Prof. Milton Friedman, former head of…

Pro-life, pro-choice? Prove it

It’s time for advocates on both sides of the abortion divide to be true to their preferred monikers

Pro-life, pro-choice? Prove itThere’s perhaps no more contentious topic of discussion in Canada than abortion. Even Canadian lawmakers are hesitant to debate the subject. As a high school teacher of a class called Social Justice 12, I can’t ignore the topic. And my code of ethics requires that I facilitate legitimate research and respectful discussion, all the while…

Onslaught against conscience gaining momentum

Every Canadian has the fundamental right to think and believe freely. But an Ontario court has sided with the suppression of the individual

Onslaught against conscience gaining momentumImagine being a feminist physician unshakable in your conviction that girls and women must be protected from patriarchal oppression. Now picture being asked to assist with a sex-selection abortion because daddy doesn’t want a female child and mother consents to his wishes. Up until May 15, reasonable Canadians would concur that you had every right…

Ont. court to doctors: choose your conscience, or your career

An Ontario court decision reveals a vision that’s equal, equitable and a la carte – and defies doctors freedom of conscience

Ont. court to doctors: choose your conscience, or your careerThis is one of those times I’m glad I’m not a family doctor. Or, more specifically, a family doctor (any medical doctor, really) who objects to certain procedures based on my conscience. Because if I was, and if I was working in Ontario, I’d find myself choosing between my career, and all I’ve worked for,…

What to do when you have a values clash with your boss

First, you need to pause and acknowledge that people hold different values and it doesn’t necessarily make them bad people

What to do when you have a values clash with your bossSo many leadership lessons lurk in the events that have plagued the Canadian political landscape over the past few weeks that it’s hard to know where to start. Leadership lessons that emerge from crises are easy pickings; they’re so obvious and it’s so easy to be self-righteous. A much tougher question is: What on earth…

Jody Wilson-Raybould and the relativism of “truth”

Jody Wilson-Raybould controls the narrative over the SNC-Lavalin controversy. But how do we know what's really true?

Jody Wilson-Raybould and the relativism of “truth”Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:32) There was a time in our society when this important biblical passage meant something. Honesty was the best policy. Always follow the straight and narrow path in life. Young George Washington couldn’t lie to his father about chopping down a…

Would you follow orders even when it showed a lack of compassion?

In the early '60s, Yale's professor Stanley Milgram performed an experiment that revealed some interesting observations about human behaviour

Would you follow orders even when it showed a lack of compassion?In the early 1960s, Yale psychology professor Stanley Milgram performed an experiment that revealed some interesting observations about human response. Though the result and ethics of his experiment have been questioned, his findings continue to cause us to ponder what each of us would do if we had to choose between following directions and showing…