LETTER: Ask candidates and leaders if they have integrity

We are entitled to ask questions about such critical qualities

The recent political polls confirm our uncertainty about who to vote for, which politicians are committed to work for us, all of us, not for just “them”.

After all, integrity is not just about telling the truth. For example, dikes with holes do not have integrity. More importantly, Robinson Crusoe could not have integrity until Jim turned up on that desert island.  Who can we trust to be a team player on behalf of all of us?

Why don’t we – local media and citizens – ask “them”, all of them?  In 2014 this apparently naive question was put to 52 Richmond Hill federal and municipal candidates with surprising results.  The same initiative had been used in the Richmond Hill Liberal Riding nomination process: 2 signed; 2 did not.  Interestingly, nearly all candidates strongly suspected of not having integrity refused to sign the offered integrity pledge.  Some were offended at being asked.  But the candidates are applying to us for jobs.  Therefore, we are entitled to ask questions about such critical  qualities.

The wording could be as simple as “I pledge that I, my team and my party will act with integrity at all times during the coming election campaign and in office.  Integrity means that at all times I will act on behalf of the best interests of all Canadians.”

Clearly, those who signed the offer will have an advantage over those who do not.  Some candidates may be offended, thinking that their integrity, which they take for granted, is being doubted. Not necessarily. They are applying to us for the job of acting on our behalf.  As their potential employers we have the right to ask all applicant candidates to declare and prove their credentials.  Behaving with integrity is critical to their ability to use their other expertise and credentials to create and work to  beneficially implement policies and programs  and then to supervise and administer them.

Before we buy/vote, we must know that our employee representatives will perform with integrity.  The chairs or citizens at party or public meetings should ask the candidates if they have signed, and if not, why not.  If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Ian McCallum