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Why did it take so long to table Integrity Motion?



Editor: I was both surprised and amused when I read a few weeks ago, of the submission of an “Integrity” bill by the NDP and and subsequent support (with reservations) by the ULP. I was surprised that it took a country three decades to advance such legislation when virtually every democratic (and a few who aren’t so democratic) country in North America, Latin America, Europe, and even many in Asia and the Middle East, have had such legislation in place for many years.{{more}} My amusement was at the statement by the Prime Minister indicating that it could be hard to find potential candidates who would be willing to reveal their personal finances.

Not only are candidates required to submit detailed accounts of their tax returns for the last several years, but all sources of contributions, sources of income, and investments, foreign and domestic, and in many cases their personal expenditures as well, in excess of a defined sum, but the same rules apply to ranking elected officials. This is not a one time process but such information must be divulged on a yearly basis and is indeed carefully scrutinized not only by the Media but by the constituents of the elected officials. This process does not seem to diminish the field of honest, competent, qualified potential candidates who are only too eager for the electorate to know such information, in order to contrast it with their opponents credentials.

Obviously these provisions do not apply in dictatorships, or under outlaw regimes which make up their rules as they go along and change them at will.

Are we to consider ourselves in that camp? A tyranny whose candidates and government officials are afraid of public scrutiny of their individual finances? Such seems to be the case.