column was published in the
Shore News on
April 21, 1999)
By Leo Knight
happened to credibility, integrity and honour?
happened to the respect and high regard we used to possess for
I was a kid, my father told me about honour. He said it was the
one thing a man should never give up. Inherent in that piece of
advice, was the necessity to always tell the truth. In a long
ago Crime & Punishment column, I described the
"old fella" as the man Diogenes was looking for, so
honest was he.
in addition to his honesty (I remember him once trying to put a
dime, returned to him while using a pay phone, back into the
phone and getting frustrated with his inability to convince the
operator that he wasn't trying to call anyone) he held
politicians such as former Prime Minister Lester Pearson in high
esteem. Why? Because he felt they had honour.
respected the law and those who enacted, enforced and
adjudicated it. Their integrity, in his eyes, was absolute.
"old fella" died a few years back and it is just as
well I suppose. What might he have made from the shameful
actions of the Glen Clark government?
as disgraceful as Clark is, he has not cornered the market on
dishonour. There no longer seems to be a price paid for
dishonesty. Truth has been replaced by spin. All for the greater
good apparently. It seems to matter not what you do as long as
you don't get caught.
premier told us he had balanced not one, but two budgets, to get
elected in 1996. But two weeks ago, after the NDP tabled its
eighth successive budget drowning in red ink, he remained in
Parks said the NDP lied about its involvement in the
unsuccessful recall campaigns in Prince George and Skeena. But
there Glen sits, still in power.
Pilarinos? Just a guy from the neighbourhood whose kids play
with his children. Well, not exactly, as it turns out.
Clark's still there, despite the spectre of being involved in an
RCMP investigation. Despite the unprecedented search of his home
and office by police with a search warrant, he still clings to
the levers of power.
he has no shame.
unfortunately, it's not just our political leaders who have lost
their sense of honour. Apparently it now even affects Supreme
Madame Justice L'Heureux-Dube took the unprecedented step of
criticizing Alberta Judge McLung in the top court's review of
the Ewanchuk case, she showed her feminist colours.
that being a feminist is a bad thing, it was the wearing of it
on her sleeve that startled watchers of the normally
Women of Canada complained to the Judicial Council about the
position L'Heureux-Dube took and suggested this was because she
was a former member of the feminist activist group, the
International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA).
Judicial Council was investigating the complaint and asked the
jurist the question.
wrote a letter to the council saying: "With respect to the
International Federation of Women Lawyers, I am not now, nor
have I ever been, to the best of my recollection, affiliated
with this organization."
REAL Women have obtained a document under the federal Freedom of
Information legislation which lists L'Heureux-Dube, who was a
Superior Court Justice in Quebec at the time in 1981, as the
Canadian vice-president of FIDA. Not just a member mind you, but
the national vice-president of the organization. Evidently, the
experience was so unfulfilling the position slipped her mind.
that, the integrity of no lesser a body than the Supreme Court
of Canada has been compromised.
seems we've come to expect our leaders will lie to us and we
accept it instead of screaming from the parapets.
no longer look up to those in positions of power and influence.
Instead we give them tongue-in-cheek pet names like "Lyin'
Brian" and "Glenocchio."
police chief takes part in a public campaign against drinking
and driving then promptly gets hoisted by his own petard at a
roadcheck. Instead of apologizing to the public for an appalling
lack of judgment, he tries to minimize the transgression by
saying he only had three glasses of wine over a several hour
period and was "shocked" when he blew a warning on a
roadside screening device.
an idiot would believe that possible, but instead of calling him
on it, the media report it as gospel and the public shrug at the
spectre of another fallen icon.
politicians, police chiefs, leaders are all apparently afflicted
by the same shamelessness. The type of people my father used to
point to as life examples for me to emulate. What now do we tell
our children as we try to instill important values in them?
can't even use sports heroes as role models any longer. Most of
today's athletes have rap sheets in the news to go along with
their performance records.
a week that had the greatest hockey player to ever lace on a
pair of skates retire with his integrity and dignity intact, we
also saw the most recent arrest of baseball star Darryl
Strawberry for cocaine possession and trying to solicit a
prostitute. In L.A., court jester Dennis Rodman finally wore his
I, like most people, watched Gretzky's farewell splash from New
York, I couldn't help but think that we needed the type of
qualities he demonstrated this past week in the people who
aspire to assume the public trust. He handled the whole thing
with ease, humility and soul-baring honesty.
A class act who will be missed. Unlike the rest of them, who won't.