In June of 2009, I posted A country of ugly Canadians? examining a few ideas of Ottawa law Professor Amir Attaran. His statements about Canada’s tolerance of corruption need re-emphasis in the light of the BC Rail scandal.
Despite indisputable evidence of wrongdoing, plutocrats closed ranks to protect their own. Political corruption needed and got assistance from the legal profession (Berardino, Seckel, Loukedelis et al), the Supreme Court of BC (MacKenzie, Dohm, etc.), the RCMP (Bass, DeBruyckere, etc.) and, worst of all, the self-censoring media. (Canwest/Postmedia, Global TV, Corus).
Should we be surprised? Do you suppose Professor Attaran would be surprised? No, this is business as usual. From my article last year:
Attaran accuses Canada of deliberately maintaining the loosest corruption laws of any developed country. Bribery of foreign public officials is only criminal if the transaction occurs entirely in this country. Canadian executives can pass out cash stuffed envelopes around the world but they enjoy exemption from prosecution here. None of the other 29 OECD countries has this loophole and, despite mighty complaints from abroad, Canada cravenly refuses to close it.
Attaran faults fellow academics and NGO leaders for failing to speak out and complacently accepting the drift away from effective internationalism. He blames widespread self-censorship on the dependence of individuals and institutions on government funding. He also says that government has given in to the convenience of employing experts and consultants selected from a sycophantic gallery. As in most established bureaucracies, contrarians are unwelcome, even driven out.
Contrarians are rare in the mainstream media (Paul Willcocks – exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis). Respecting BC Rail, the entire story cannot be understood without reading the blog world. Sad, is it not?