I USED TO live in a very corrupt country, one where funding for a politician’s new home in the Bahamas was more important than funding for health care. In Ukraine, politicians would rather spend the country’s money on a $1,000 bottle of champagne than help citizens and lower the class divide. That’s exactly why I came to Canada.
But here I am, nine years later, seeing the very signs of corruption I wanted to avoid. I looked past government employees using a military helicopter for a free ride. I ignored certain ministers carrying gold-plated business cards. Although using government funds for personal gain is unquestionably wrong, I’ve seen worse.
And here’s what worse: The government of a country that’s looked up to, that’s a world leader, using dirty techniques to get into power. I have a lot of problems with the Canadian electoral system, but it’s obviously not changing any time soon, and if a government was legitimately elected—even if it’s a government I dislike—I’ll bitch about it but live with it.
Steam starts coming from my ears when I discover so-called robo-calls were made to non-Conservative ridings, directing constituents to non-existent polling stations in an attempt to prevent them from voting. This is my last straw.
I’ve seen what a lack of democracy and transparency can do to a country—frankly, nothing good. Ensuring a relatively clean election and meeting the needs of voters is not optional for a world leader like Canada, but apparently it is for whomever decided to sabotage last year’s election.
Whatever good or bad decision the government makes, I can live with. After all, Canada voted and Conservative was the choice we made. But if that government gained its power through illegitimate means, it’s time to grab our pitchforks.
When obvious electoral fraud took place in Ukraine, we had the Orange Revolution and reinstated the rightful leader of the country. In Canada, the robo-calls scandal is only provoking sternly worded editorials and shoulder shrugs followed by lazy grumbles.
It’s time to hold the government accountable for its actions—push Elections Canada to investigate robo-calls, make complaints to members of parliament, and actively seek the democracy this country holds so dear.
If we’re not willing to do that, why don’t we just invite the government representatives to build homes in the Bahamas and drink expensive champagne bought with our health-care money? If we won’t fight for our democracy, we might as well sit back, shrug our shoulders, and watch it disappear.