Prime Minister Jean Chretien:
coping with his rules of ethics and his no-fault government

Nipawin - November 24, 2000 - by: Mario deSantis


Our hypocritical PM Jean Chretien is asking for an apology(1) from both Joe Clark and
Stockwell Day for their charges that he behaved unethically when he personally intervened
with the president of the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) for the granting
of a $615,000 loan to his friend and business neighbour Mr. Yvon Duhaime. The asking
of this apology comes after Ethics Counsellor Howard Wilson exonerated Jean Chretien
of any ethical wrongdoing by stating

did not
any rule

"The Prime Minister, in calling the president of the BDC, did not violate any rule which has been established by the Canadian government in terms of ministers dealing on behalf of constituents with government agencies(2)."



ethical behaviour

This ethics counsellor is a laugh of a man, first because he has no intrinsic power to say
anything against Jean Chretien since he is directly responsible to the Prime Minister,
second because he makes a mockery of our rules by saying that the Prime Minister didn't
violate any rule. Yes, we must abide by the 'rule of law' but we can't establish too many
written rules to regulate the behaviour of people. And in this instance, it would be
impossible to write an infinite number of specific rules to ensure the ethical behaviour
of Jean Chretien; in fact, Jean Chretien has been called the 'Teflon Jean(3),' that is a man
able to repulse any charge of wrongdoing.




So what do we have to do to have a sense of justice in dealing with this kind of a man
and his friends? We have to go back to the understanding that we cannot rely solely on
the written laws and on the written rules to have a democratic society. We must
understand that in the exercise of our freedom we need to use our common sense, and
respect other people's freedom as well.



no-fault governments

We have too many written (statutory) laws and written rules, and we are losing sight of
what the ethical exercise of our freedom is. We have too many written laws and written
rules, and this is happening because our governments are becoming no-fault
governments(4). These no-fault governments are covering up their misdeeds either by
claiming that there are not enough laws or rules, or by having one law on top of another
and one rule on top of another. And then ultimately, when these no-fault governments
are subject to investigations for wrongdoing, they police themselves by using the most
restrictive narrow interpretation of the rule of law, and in so doing they get away with
their unethical and possible criminal behaviour.




We must remember that ethical behaviour is not the liberty to do anything we want as long
as we don't violate a specific law or a specific rule. All these laws and all these rules are all
interrelated and together they should promote our ethical and civil behaviour. Consequently,
our ethical behaviour is not determined by a single action but by the patterns of our civil
relationships. In a next article, I will describe a limited set of events which will help us
understand the behaviour of Jean Chretien as he wheeled and dealed with his friend and
business neighbour Mr. Yvon Duhaime.
  List of relevant political and economics articles


PM demands public apology for mudslinging, Robert Fife, Ottawa Bureau Chief, with files from Justine Hunter, Jöel-Denis Bellavance and Sheldon Alberts, November 23, 2000, National Post


Ethics Counsellor's report meaningless, Peter Shawn Taylor, November 22, 2000, National Post


Teflon Jean faces a severe test, Lawrence Martin, November 20, 2000, Southam News,


PM's power 'unhealthy': ex-official. Need checks and balances, Alan Toulin, November 23, 2000, National Post