Code of conduct

Pam Frampton
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“A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.”
— Albert Camus, French author, journalist, philosopher (1913-1960)

So many political scandals, so little time. It seems all we’ve heard from the political realm lately is naughty bits — senators who don’t know where they live or how to claim only those expenses to which they are entitled; a federal party leader who thinks women will only be interested in political discussion if it’s framed as “ladies’ night”; the human train wreck that is Rob Ford.

Toronto’s mayor says (and does) the darndest things. Unfortunately, it’s too late to have Rob Ford sign a code of conduct. — Photo by Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Reading the news can leave you feeling covered in a fine layer of scum and needing a shower. Or, in case of the continuing Rob Ford saga, like you’ve been rolling in fetid muck. (As my husband cattily noted the other night: poor Toronto, they’ve got the Leafs and Rob Ford to contend with.)

So, what’s an honest, law-abiding politician to do to rid themselves of the stigma foisted on them by their ne’er-do-well fellows? It’s got to be a tough sell these days on the door-knocking circuit: vote for me — I’m honest. Honest!

You’ve got to feel for those stragglers still plodding along on the high road.

Well, I’ve got a simple idea that might just solve the problem: have politicians and political candidates sign a code of conduct and make them stick to it.

Failure to do so would result in automatic recall — no debate, no discussion, no clemency. It would work at all three levels of government — municipal, provincial and federal.

The code would go something like this:

I, (insert name here) the undersigned, solemnly swear that as your elected representative in the ward/district/riding of (insert geographical region here) I will not do the following during my term of office:

‰ take taxpayers’ money that I am not entitled to;

‰ vow to clear my name when accused of something and then acknowledge my guilt;

‰ fall asleep while the legislature/council is in session;

‰ commit a crime;

‰ sext lewd pictures of myself;

‰ be an unbridled sycophant;

‰ claim a housing allowance for what is actually my primary residence;

‰ pad online survey questions or stack call-in radio shows;

‰ use taxpayers’ money to adorn my walls with art/fill my wine cellar/build a moat or fancy gazebo/buy rounds of drinks at the parish hall/buy a boat, flat-screen TV, Ski-Doo, cologne, clothing

or accessories; invest in a flimsy-ring-and-fridge-magnet consortium;

‰ consort with prostitutes and drug dealers, unless my day job is as an undercover police officer;

‰ use sexual innuendo to appeal to “the ladies” in an effort to stimulate serious political discussion among women;

‰ wear a wetsuit for a photo-op;

‰ assault protesters;

‰ assault anyone;

‰ spend time on vacation in Florida instead of showing up for meetings and stuff;

‰ be drunk on the job;

‰ drink and drive;

‰ dial and drive;

‰ text and drive;

‰ drink and call in to a radio talk show;

‰ drink vodka behind a school house;

‰ give constituents the finger;

‰ succumb to the temptation of the Savoy’s room-service menu;

‰ succumb to the temptation of the Savoy;

‰ smirk and say, “You betcha!” in response to reporters’ questions;

‰ call journalists “bitches” on Twitter;

‰ call up columnists and scream into the phone, “You’re an arsehole!”;

‰ tell reporters pursuing a legitimate story, “There’s no story here!”

‰ accept mysterious cheques or cash in paper bags;

‰ thwart legitimate government projects for political gain;

‰ gloat about stiffing public servants in contract negotiations;

‰ plan a provincial budget

based on precarious commodity prices;

‰ model clothing on a catwalk;

‰ blame my staff for accepting illegal donations to my campaign;

‰ offer oral sex to a staffer;

‰ utter dysphemisms about having oral sex with a woman at a news conference;

‰ talk into a microphone about oral sex, period;

‰ harass the homeless;

‰ tell panhandlers to “get a job!”

‰ manhandle an elected colleague to the floor;

‰ tell government employees they should all be shot;

‰ make geographical blunders about my own province;

‰ pose for pictures while in a drunken stupor;

‰ misconstrue the meaning of the word “ayatollah”;

‰ make up words;

• stab my leader in the back (literally or figuratively);

‰ vow to kill, sell, destroy and burn six million seals (in no particular order);

‰ say of cyclists killed in traffic “It’s their own fault at the end of the day”;

‰ say “at the end of the day”;

‰ tell New Yorkers how much Newfoundlanders like to fish and


‰ utter racist, sexist or homophobic epithets;

      ‰ dismiss someone who disagrees with my philosophy as siding with the child-molesters;

‰ call someone “a waste of skin”;

‰ commandeer public transit for my private use;

‰ declare “war” on someone;

‰ compare myself to Kuwait;

‰ smoke crack cocaine and stuff.

Yep — that just about does it.

Think you can handle it?

Sign here.

Pam Frampton is a columnist and The Telegram’s associate managing editor. Email

Twitter: pam_frampton

Organizations: Ski-Doo

Geographic location: Toronto, Florida, Kuwait

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