If I had to describe Canada’s political situation today, I would say that it’s a cesspool that consists of a corrupt government, monopolistically greedy institutions, and a horde of mindless obedient zombies that we call ‘citizens’. How can the mass-population be considered citizens when they barely control the parliament that is supposed to represent them? And to what extent will we allow cruel companies to control legislators and lawmakers with the forbidden-fruit that is corporate lobbying?
As Canadians, we’re incredibly lucky to have a constitutional democracy. And while our current form of democracy is fundamentally flawed, we should still be grateful for the opportunity to debate, criticize, and amend that fact.
With that being said, the freedom of our constitutional democracy is being encroached on daily by the eight-thousand individual lobbyists representing over three-thousand three-hundred corporations who act as in-house lobbyists or direct consultants of our elected officials.
But firstly, who even are lobbyists, why is lobbying in Canada flawed today, and how could we take steps to change that?
Lobbying is the act of which individuals, lobbyists, articulate their interests to public officials in an attempt to influence public policy in their favor. This could be in the form of favors, gifts, promises, funding, or in not so rare illegal cases, blatant bribery.
A big example of lobbying in the US would be in the cigar industry. Cigar companies have been lobbying legislators for years with billions of dollars to not group cigars with cigarettes when they’re both in fact very harmful and similar in essence.
Immediately this should be raising red flags for you, the reader. Why would a democracy allow a legal form of corruption in their country? Well, this is because of the fact that if done properly, lobbying allows parliament to understand what their people need. Due to this, lobbying is a central part of why democratic governments can run smoothly and know what problems their country is facing.
However, like all supposedly good things, lobbying requires strict boundaries to prevent corruption to ensue; and this is where Canada falls severely short. This is because while countries such as the UK, France, and the US are starting to react with strict legislation in response to the immense growth in the lobbying industry, Canada’s legislative laws are very lax.
In fact, it’s said that Canada’s current code basically encourages bribery. This is because lobbying requires cash payments to be to groups instead of individuals, for all lobbying to be public, and for cash to only be accessed under specific circumstances; for example money donated for fundraising can only be used for fundraising needs.
In contrast to this, Canada allows individual lobbying, cash to be accessed for whatever reason, and most importantly, it can be completely secret.
Obviously, if you were to look into the lobbying code, none of this is specifically expressed. But, the loopholes that are available for corporations to abuse have enabled Canada’s political scene to be a hotbed for corruption. It’s almost as if the Canadian government allowed high-school students to write their lobbying tax code, and even still the majority of us would do better.
The worst part about all of this is that there’s no real solution to change it. After all, when all of our elected officials are basically being directly paid by the largest corporations in the world, how can the individual stand up to that? And there’s no blatant proof of any corruption present because they aren’t required to show any.
The current situation is an absolute joke without any solution and with nobody talking about it. Instead, we talk about wars in Africa and Europe, countries with a vastly different ecosystem, culture, people, and situation than our own which we have frankly no business meddling with.
After all, to quote James Madison, 4th President of the United States and Founding Father, “If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”