During a recent editorial meeting at The Afro News, a discussion began that reviewed recent experiences with various service suppliers. These included small business home services, insurers and business corporations who came in contact with us and in our individual lives and in our corporate capacities. We felt we had tripped over some comfortable secrets and feel compelled to share these with you.
The Trend to Covert Corruption
The broken bits in our Canadian society experience
“We must protect the rights of minorities, and the rich are always fewer in number than the poor.”
So said the father of the confederation, John A. MacDonald. It was at the inception of Canada. The country’s fathers gathered at the Quebec Conference of 1864 and they were debating the construction of the Senate.
These are the words of our earliest leaders who believed and knew that it is critical to preserve and to protect the middle class and the minority; most certainly the poor. They remind us how the rich must be aware and must care about the poor.
What are we doing today? Are we looking after the poor or doing the opposite? Have we taken John A. MacDonald`s words to heart or forsaken them?
With the rise in the recession in the last three years, there’s been a change in the cost of living and changes in our society. There’s been a change also in mindset towards business and behaviours that regrettably are not looking after the best interests of next generations. We appear, instead of moving forward in a healthy and supportive way, to be walking on each other instead.
Observations we’ve noted in some societal sectors:
As our society tries to adjust to the recession, government has taken the opportunity to open doors to foreign investors. It appears to be a good idea to encourage and balance our growth.
Of concern is a pattern were foreign investors may not take our laws seriously and yet take advantage of our built in protection. This imbalance undermines our security and makes our workers vulnerable to even increasing losses in their positions.
A great company needs smart and professional managers who will drive growth and produce results.
What we’ve noticed with surprise is how many managers have settled into a routine in their position within the management team. They’ve sat for years and in taking their position for granted have moved to the next most dangerous levels: complacency and then a bending of the rules to suit their own ambitions.
While we all want to make money, bending the laws and the customs of the country and putting money in their own pockets, creates a corridor of corruption within their workplaces or systems.
The decision to behave this way easily leads to arrogance and bullying in the workplace. Sadly, those few have their agendas and many others simply don’t care or contribute to this challenge by being passive accomplices. This makes it difficult for others to speak out.
Refusal to respect workers and the Canadian law is a dangerous trend. It can create a corridor of corruption and an avenue for money laundering. Such an implicit bullying situation, built into the system and supported within, contributes to work site accident and suicide related problem.
Corruption of worker’s rights
Over the decades, unions and syndicates have played an important role in protecting workers. What seems to be coming as we move into the 21st century is that some of the Union leaders are taking short cuts. Some are becoming closer and closer in their relationship to foreign owners of companies. In and of itself this may not be a detrimental issue, but it is when it may lead to bribes, corruption and actions that do not take into account the rights and protections of workers.
Back door measures don’t help workers in their immediate situation or their future. Workers remain unprotected nor are they consulted in the process. They are shut out while others attach themselves to key company owners.
Our ethnically diverse society
One of the beautiful elements to cherish in our diversity is the desire by so many of our cultures and ethnic citizens to bring the positive message of belonging to the development and growth of the country.
On the other hand are those who slip into greed and no longer open to sharing opportunities with other members of our society.
What brings as a celebration of diversity devolves to a dilution of the working together by dividing up into voluntary ethnic ghettos. These are Ghettos of self interest that dilute our strength when working together.
Sometimes the dividing line is where we forget our responsibility to the official Language. Fundamental to the nation’s success is sharing and communication through one language. We take this on in our oath of citizenship, yet often in our work spaces one language dominates. When this happens, the rest of us are left out and don’t understand.
Such a simple act of inclusive communication can create big issues in a company. Imagine the complexity of this growing in the context of a larger company and many more layers and departments.
We must embrace the English language so that we have a common means of communication. We must pay attention to the balance between celebrating our diversity and creating pockets of exclusion and discontent when everyone speaks their own language and therefore focusing only on their own point of view and their own issues.
Workers left behind
The possibility of corruption, self interest and language issues hurt the workers.
If a person feels intimidation, racial prejudice, exclusion even in times meant for socializing, then how can they feel part of a team, pulling together for the good of the group, the company or the country.
If management further compounds the discomfort by not caring and leaving their focus only in profit or worse, pocketing something for them, it creates a circle of mediocrity and bad service.
It damages our society’s future and next generation. If management sends a signal that they don’t care about their workers then the workers won’t care either; hence the circle that undermines real productivity.
What are we doing to preserve the future of our country?
As citizens we all have responsibility to act and to protect our ability to advance our collective values. Our morals, ethics and decent thinking – the mindset of what is right and fair, not just for one, or one team but for the country as a whole.
Corruption in any form is a moral killer for advanced society and needs to be corrected.
Our Government has to be clear and to legislate and communicate to all citizens, for the benefit of our collective future is Canada.
We all have to respect the law and behave ethically.
Small business will always be a back bone for the economics of the country. Its development requires protection to advance and grow fairly.
At such times, I often come to remember one of the advices of my great grandfather who always said, “We are made to Serve others, not yourself and always remember where you came from no matter where you are going.”
(Prime Minister John A. MacDonald’s Cabinet Photo source Library and Archives Canada).