“Integrity: the practice of being honest and showing a consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions.” Source: Wikipedia
Were it not for the many who still take great pains to exercise it, we could remove it from the dictionary. It seems to be another word that is open to change in definition; at least that is the tone of what we have heard in the last month. If you do not agree with that statement, then why has a new law been enacted that allows another person or company to commit a punishable crime and walk away with a fine and an apology. Our courts are full of people charged with all sorts of crimes who would love to have that option.
It brings to mind another word in the same family; integral. All my working career I was in maintenance and also a machinery mechanic. I always remember being amazed at how a machine made of many parts depended on the integrity of every piece to function as it was designed to do. Every part had to be in exactly the right place and mesh with all the other parts in a precise manner in order to produce a product that was accurate in all its detail. When that did not happen, I would be called to repair that problem and bring it back to a proper functioning piece of equipment.
Our society works, or should work in exactly the same manner. Each member of that society has a responsibility to perform in an integral way, (with integrity), in order to maintain a cohesive, productive and a well-balanced community. Having said that, of course there are many examples of an integrity failure, but we all carry a responsibility to keep that strong and vibrant. The well-being of our society depends on that level of honesty and moral boundaries in order to stay as a healthy, functioning community. Without it, we are reduced to anarchy.
If nothing else, the events in Canadian politics over the last month or more should have raised alarm bells, raised red flags and shouted out that our very integrity is at question. You see, there is no credibility to be gained in allowing a company who has committed crimes to go scot free just because they provide many jobs. Even the claimed job loss is now being debated; the number being actually much smaller than quoted. So it leaves many unanswered questions in the minds of the citizens as to ‘why is that made to be such a strong argument for allowing circumvention of the law’? Especially if we are constantly being told that we live by rule of law which now other major countries question.
Was knowledge of this company’s discretions known a long time ago that this new deferment law was required? From what I understand from the news, this law was tailored for them. That law circumvents the very justice system we herald in Canada.
Whether it was sour grapes that initiated this furor or not, the methods exposed shout integrity failure to the highest degree. If repairs are not immediately corrected, Canada will become a laughing stock to the world, much like our neighbor to the south.
We all know many people who cherish integrity in their own lives and also in the lives of their friends and neighbours. We cannot afford to slip up on the definition of this critical word. Relationships, communities and countries build on that principle in order to be considered as trustworthy and true to their word.
Integrity is something we cannot afford to lose.
Chris Salomons is a Retired Red Deer Resident with a concern for the Downtrodden