Grewal tape will worsen Canadian corruption ranking

Suggestions of trading in political favours, coming on the heels of the sponsorship scandal, will drive down Canada’s ranking on Transparency International’s global corruption index, says Wes Cragg, chairman of the watchdog’s Canadian chapter, reported Canadian Press June 8. “I can’t imagine that Canada is not going to fall further in the index as a result of this,” Cragg said.

Canada, which likes to see itself as a world leader in clean, ethical behaviour, dropped to 12th place last year – from fifth a few years ago – on the anti-corruption watchdog’s ranking of 146 countries because of the sponsorship scandal. No. 1 last year as the cleanest country was Finland, followed by New Zealand, Denmark, Iceland, Singapore and the United Kingdom. The United States ranked 17th. The Grewal controversy will only worsen the country’s reputation, not only in the eyes of other states but among its own citizens, said Cragg.

As bad as things look for the government, the story isn’t entirely bleak, says Cragg, who is also a professor of business ethics at York’s Schulich School of Business. In response to the sponsorship scandal, Canada set up an independent ethics officer who reports to Parliament and was quickly called in to probe the Grewal affair. It has also taken steps to improve transparency in election financing laws with new rules that cap contributions, noted Cragg. Rather than indicating that Canada has grown more corrupt over the years, Cragg said, the recent high-profile controversies reflect lower tolerance for wrongdoing. “I think it’s no worse than it has ever been, but people are becoming increasingly aware that political parties have to be held accountable as well as governments.”

Canadians brace for Welsh rugby invasion

It will probably take more than a heat wave to melt down the Welsh rugby side when they meet Canada in an international test at York University stadium on Saturday, speculated The Globe and Mail June 8. Organizers expect a crowd of 12,000, which would be a record in the Toronto area for rugby. Wales is the Six Nations and the Grand Slam champion, stocked wall to wall with full-time professionals. The team is on a seven-game winning streak, including a 77-3 humiliation of the US Eagles last Saturday.

  • Mounting anticipation for the match was reflected in similar reports in the Toronto Star and on CP24 and Global TV sportscasts.

On air

  • Christine Wickens, a York doctoral student in psychology, was interviewed by CBC Radio at a national road safety conference in Fredericton about research showing that people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, are more likely to drive dangerously. Her comments were aired on CBC Radio news programs June 7 in Fredericton and Moncton.
  • Andil Gosine, a post-doctoral fellow in sociology in York’s Faculty of Arts, was interviewed about the use of Hindu imagery at a Fashion Cares event, for which organizers apologized, on the South Asian edition of “OMNI News” June 7.