I never thought of myself as a politician and I didn’t become a city councilor in 2017 because I had political ambitions. At the municipal level, I think most people enter politics because they want to see change and improve their community. But often, for some odd reason once in power, things change for some of them. So, we must ask ourselves why and is it possible to keep sincerity, authenticity and transparency once elected, especially in today’s society?

I’m sure you would agree that a person who engage in misleading or deceptive conduct is typically not acceptable in our society. As well, if a person makes a statement that is false but represents it as fact, that is also considered a misleading behavior. So why should standards for politicians be any different than the standards we set for ourselves? 

Change disturbs

Pushing for change means that you will disturb some people who are not willing to go in the same direction. This will often lead to turmoil and attacks to try to discredit those politicians and any effort made to bring change. There is often coordinated pressure and tactics coming from those who are looking to stay in power or those who don’t see things the same way. Even at the municipal level, it can get really nasty! This can get overwhelming and discouraging quickly because there is no fairness or justice in this game! Unless you have power or connections, you’re on your own. At this point, politicians have a few choices:

  • keep fighting
  • give up
  • give in

Power and dishonesty: Politicians are all the same!

Unfortunately, the reputation of all politicians at every level of government seems to be painted with the same brush stroke by those who elected us. “They’re all the same” they say! I must admit it’s understandable, dishonesty appears to be everywhere around us and it has been like this for a very long time. It often feels that the system is designed to encourage corruption or dishonesty and unethical behavior with no real repercussions for those who are involved.

When you’re a decision maker, there is a lot of pressure to keep people around you happy. Perhaps, a number of politicians can be easily coerced which allows them to fall into a deep hole and behave in ways which was never part of their character before. Power does funny things to some people, and although at one time their intentions were probably honest and legitimate, things can change fast! Decisions that once where made to benefit citizens are now to benefit oneself, to gain votes to stay in power or advantage those who are looking to make other kind of gains. The fact is, political corruption and dishonesty weakens democracy and impacts the trust our constituents have in ALL elected officials.

Honest politicians do exist

It’s important to keep in mind that politicians are not all corrupted or dishonest and most are real and genuine (yes…it’s true). Only a small minority of politicians are dishonest, but because of the media and the internet the perception make it seems to be more common than it is. Rarely do we focus on the good politicians, it wouldn’t be very profitable for the media or entertaining for their audience.

Why does it appear so difficult to find honest politicians? Other than easily influenced politicians, perhaps our constituents are partly to blame. The vast majority of voters don’t really research candidates and often vote based on impressions and popularity, if they vote at all. Let me remind you that voter turnout in the last 2017 Saint-Lazare elections was only 37%. As well, the perception of dishonesty is often due to the fact the people don’t necessarily understand how decisions are made and how the system works. People easily jump on the corruption argument when they don’t understand why decisions are made. Again, citizens need to get involved and keep an open mind to understand better.

You can tell apart the good from the bad apples usually by simply observing their behavior (looking like a nice guy/girl doesn’t cut it). Those who are real and genuine politicians will deliver on their promises and be able to have honest communications with their constituents. Good politicians are accessible and will not avoid the tough questions with vague or misleading answers. As well, sometimes unpopular decisions need to be made, but honest politicians won’t try to hide from it or send misleading messages about decisions to cover the real facts. These are all things that you can observe if you pay close attention.

Why am I writing about this?

I usually write about topics which I feel strongly about and things which I observe around me. I’ve noticed lately that a lot of people are disillusioned with politicians and will throw them under the bus for any reasons, but mainly because they don’t agree with their decisions. This doesn’t necessarily mean that those politicians are corrupted or dishonest. People’s tolerance is probably at it’s lowest these days and they often fail to look at situations with all the proper facts or an open mind. I would love if people would go to their representatives and have an unbiased dialogue instead of making judgment with not real facts.

Having said that, I also wanted to write about corruption and unethical behavior because I wanted to acknowledge the fact that it does happen everywhere, even in small towns like ours. No town is shielded from it, and we must make sure that we don’t put our heads in the sand. I can tell you that justice doesn’t always take care of those who chose to be unethical (or the rotten apples as I like to call them), the best justice is to make sure those whose morals fall under what is acceptable are voted out.

We have an election in about one year (November 7th, 2021), you have a year to observe and get informed. The best way to have sincere and honest politicians is to do your civic duty and make sure to be involved in the democratic process!