Gov. Gen. Julie Payette reads the speech from the throne in Ottawa on Dec. 5, 2019. She has recently resigned her role. (The Canadian Press)

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette reads the speech from the throne in Ottawa on Dec. 5, 2019. She has recently resigned her role. (The Canadian Press)

EDITORIAL: Government officials held to high standards

Recent incidents at federal level show Canadians expect much from those in government

A controversial Canadian senator has resigned her seat, a Conservative MP has been ousted from his party caucus and Canada’s governor-general has resigned from her role.

Sen. Lynn Beyak’s comments about residential schools had attracted controversy and others in the senate were calling for her expulsion.

MP Derek Sloan was removed from the Tory caucus after having received a $131 contribution from a white supremacist, but some of his earlier comments had come under fire in the past.

READ ALSO: Lynn Beyak, who defended ‘good’ of residential schools, retires early from the Senate

READ ALSO: Conservative MP Derek Sloan ejected from party caucus

And Governor General Julie Payette resigned her position after a report criticizing the workplace culture at Rideau Hall.

Any one of these three incidents would be disappointing. Watching all three at once has been devastating.

There is a level of behaviour expected from those in governing roles, and in each of these three cases, concerns were serious enough to draw unwanted attention to the people involved.

Those in governing roles have a responsibility to govern.

In each of these cases, the controversy surrounding the individuals moved the focus away from governing.

And yet, at the same time, these three incidents show something positive about Canada’s political system.

Those in positions of authority, whether in the House of Commons, the Senate or the governor general’s role, are held to certain standards. When behaviour or comments are seen as inappropriate, action is taken.

Political parties in Canada set standards for themselves and will take measures to ensure these standards are being met by those in caucus. Party discipline can be harsh at times.

And the Canadian public expects a certain standard from those in the senate and from the governor general.

It would be far more concerning if accusations of inappropriate behaviour or offensive comments did not generate strong reactions from Canadians.

Such a lack of response would show the public had lost respect for its governing institutions. Fortunately Canadians still care about their government.

Canada’s government system works. Our leaders, elected officials and those in appointed roles are expected to speak and behave in a manner worthy of the roles they hold. And when they fail to meet those standards, the public is disappointed.

— Black Press

Editorialsfederal government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

One in seven Canadians deal with food insecurity due to the pandemic. See story on page 10. (Phil McLachlan - West K News)
Kelowna’s first community fridge needs a home

People who need food right away will be able to access the community fridge

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

UBCO students are among the most food insecure in Canada, according to a new study by UBC Okanagan. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News/FILE)
UBCO students among most food insecure in Canada

42.3 per cent either can’t properly feed themselves, or are worried they will soon run out of money

(Jen Zielinski - Black Press Media)
Vehicle incident on Enterprise Way causes traffic delays in Kelowna

Traffic is slow in all directions surrounding the intersection of Enterprise and Dilworth Drive

Interior Health reported 43 new COVID-19 cases in the region Feb. 23, 2021 and no additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
43 new cases of COVID reported in Interior Health

No new deaths, Williams Lake outbreak over

This year’s Pink Shirt Day event will be held virtually with the Breakfast in a Box. (Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs photo)
Pink Shirt Day 2021 kicks off with virtual event

“When you’re functioning from a place of kindness, there’s no way that bullying can exist.”

COVID-19 testing at the Vernon Health Services Unit. (Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star)
Two Vernon high schools exposed to COVID-19

Vernon Secondary and Seaton were sent home notices yesterday of exposure event

Vancouver Canucks left wing Antoine Roussel (26) tries to get a shot past Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) during second period NHL action in Vancouver, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks cough up 3-0 lead, fall 4-3 to visiting Edmonton Oilers

Vancouver falls to 8-13-2 on the NHL season

Jessica McCallum-Miller receives her signed oath of office from city chief administrative officer Heather Avison on Nov. 5, 2018 after being elected to Terrace City Council. McCallum-Miller resigned on Feb. 22, 2021, saying she felt unsupported and unheard by council. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Terrace’s 1st Indigenous councillor resigns citing ‘systemic and internalized racism,’ sexism

McCallum-Miller said in a Facebook post she felt unheard and unsupported by council

Temporary changes to allow for wholesale pricing for the hospitality industry were implemented June 2020 and set to expire March 31.	(Pixabay photo)
Pubs, restaurants to pay wholesale prices on liquor permanently in COVID-recovery

Pre-pandemic, restaurateurs and tourism operators paid full retail price on most liquor purchases

Summerland has received conditional approval for $6 million in federal funding to build a one-megawatt solar array to provide power to the community. (Stock photo)
Summerland council reaffirms solar project in 4-3 vote

Coun. Richard Barkwill had earlier written letters in opposition to initiative

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Lake Country residents are warned about another rock slide on Pelmewash Parkway, Feb. 23, 2021. (Melanie Marie photo)
Rockslide on old Okanagan highway

Pelmewash Parkway once again littered with debris

Most Read