The latest scandal to rock the Upper House – Canada’s Senate – over several senators improperly collecting a housing allowance – strikes close to the bone as two of the highest profile “porkers” are former journalists.
It strikes us as odd that journalists should be appointed senators in the first place. As members of the fifth estate, it is their duty to scrutinize and report on the types of pork barrelling we are hearing that these senators are taking part of. They spend their careers seeking out this type of story, and to their credit; these are the types of things Canadians need to be aware of, especially when one ponders the questionable value of the upper house. Journalists, as a profession, should never be appointed to such a position of privilege; at the very least, any self respecting journalist should never accept a senate appointment.
How does it look when a sitting government and appoints a journalist to the senate?
It also doesn’t look good when former journalists, who were once held in high esteem by the public for their journalistic professionalism, are in turn exposed for having no better morals than the politicians they reported on during their journalistic careers.
It must be human self interest, however, that eventually seems to taint everyone exposed to the excesses of government, for it seems like no one is immune to the prospect of easy money paid out at the expense of the taxpayer, when the opportunity arises.
If the allegations against these two former journalists turn out to be true, Canadians are presented with yet another reason for the urgency for senate reform, and for the justice system to condemn this behaviour to the letter of the law.
For its one thing when a career politician pork barrels; it’s quite another when a professional who spends their career watching and reporting this disgraceful, selfish behaviour turns around and emulates it at the first privileged opportunity.