All of us have confronted the question "Does the end justify the means?"
As an eight-year-old, that might include relieving a colleague who is smaller than you from their lunch if you are feeling a little peckish. How "The Donald" does his business.
At 15, it might be a matter of confiscating a denim jacket you have coveted from a major department store without benefit of a commercial transaction. Not unlike how Chinese President Xi Jinping feels about intellectual property.
At 20, as happened with Edward Kennedy, it might mean cheating on your Harvard written exams to more efficiently get on with the family business of politics.
Now, let's quickly distinguish between being unwise (say, texting pictures of your penis to someone you don't know while serving on the top secret Canadian National Security and Intelligence Committee) and being dishonest. Yes, true. A former Tory cabinet minister not far from here.
Some people are immoral and do bad things. They care only about ends. Their ends. Others want to be moral but have trouble living up to their values. We all know people who, no matter what the circumstances, seem to do the right thing. This means they recycle their garbage even when they are in a hurry and no one is watching. They are impossible, but inspirational. Finally, and this is a growing category, there are those who don't even know what we are talking about (say, Doug Ford trying to hire his buddy to be commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police).
For more in-depth analysis of these weighty matters, I recommend the TV show "The Good Place," available on Netflix. There you will find our spiritual leader, Eleanor Shellstrop.
Canada aspires to be "The Good Place." Often we are not.
Justin Trudeau wants to be in "The Good Place," but it is hard for him. As I write, he is on the ropes again. This time about pressuring or not pressuring the justice minister to give a massive Quebec company (SNC-Lavalin) a break by not charging the company criminally for various acts of deceit (bribery) in Canada and around the world.
It's complicated. Fun facts.
The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) of Canada is charged with deciding how this company should be treated. So far, it is proceeding with criminal charges. If successfully prosecuted, it may destroy the company, or more likely have it sold off cheaply to an...