A larger hypocrisy

News coming out of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission, where funds were misappropriated and misused, resulted in a high profile firing and several resignations this past week. This is one of many issues to dog the Dalton McGuinty Liberal government in recent months.

While colleagues railed at the inequity of it all, we were neither surprised nor outraged. Instead we recalled that famous line out of The Godfather trilogy.

Don Michael Corleone was in the midst of being shaken down by a politician looking for a cut. The language was full of vitriol for Italians, specifically members of the family, and he responded, “We’re all part of the same hypocrisy, senator.”

It’s a great line.

Today, somewhere in a workplace, tools will disappear, sales accounts will be fudged, a buddy will punch out for his friend who left an hour earlier and inventory will magically come up a few sticks short.

Paying for those activities are good customers who are charged a little bit more to offset employee theft.

Fellow employees who follow the rules – always – will have missed a raise in the spring so the books could be balanced. Fuggedaboutit, another line from a mob television show – slang for “forget about it” – is how many people in these situations brush off what actually goes on around them.

That type of petty corruption festers because of poor policy, a lack of common sense and a denial that what is taking place is actually fraud or theft. Where wrong and right come into conflict, the choice is often made to turn a blind eye instead of addressing an ethical problem within the system.

There will always be those who choose to push the envelope. Most private firms employ people who go over expense sheets to determine what are really valid expenses. We have seen many situations where the first few months of such a regimen result in heated arguments, but it is a necessary process.

This is similar now to how Premier McGuinty intends to manage various government bodies that are seemingly out of control. He is now trading honesty for another layer of bureaucracy, rather than insisting on a shift in the current culture, which obviously confuses employees.

Adding further insult to hard-working Ontarions is the notion that those well paid – actually highly paid people – would claim the simplest of expenses from the public treasury. Snacks or chewing gum, let alone expensive vintage wines at fine dining establishments, are examples of the expenses to which some of them feel entitled.

The larger hypocrisy remains that, with all their wealth and job security, anyone would even think to submit a chit for reimbursement for a pack of gum. We can only guess they want to get all that is coming their way – and that time would appear to have come.

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