It’s perhaps not surprising that Dennis King has not made a big deal about the key anti-corruption policies embedded within the PC Policy Platform.  Granted, there was never a question about government corruption; the need for systemic government reform; or for that matter “e-gaming”; in any of the leader debates, so there weren’t any easy access points for him to bring them up. However, you could argue that if they were really that important to him he could have  brought them up at some point. 

However, from the very outset – of both the PC Leadership race and the election campaign – King indicated that he intended to take the high road, avoid mud-slinging of any kind, and to focus on finding solutions rather than criticizing others for creating or worsening problems.

And he has demonstrated that, focussing on fostering a spirit of cooperation and collaboration among his leadership colleagues, even clapping enthusiastically for them whenever they put forth good ideas in the debates. That’s entirely understandable as a prudent campaign strategy, especially given the looming possibility that he’ll have to work closely with the other leaders if he becomes Premier and forms government.

Let’s face it: It’s really hard to talk about the importance of “anti-corruption” policies without first pointing out the corruption that happened under successive Liberal governments, making the introduction of those policies necessary.

And I suppose it’s also not surprising that the mainstream media outlets have said virtually nothing about the strong policies in the NDP, Green Party and PC Party platforms aimed at increasing the degree of integrity, true openness, and accountability within government – drunk as they are on the potent and conscience-numbing brew of massive Liberal government election advertising revenues.

CBC created what is purported to be a comprehensive overview of each Parties’ stand on policy issues, yet mentions nothing about what the Parties have put forward as policies to bring about government reforms aimed at increasing the degree of integrity in government, or decreasing the power of the 5th floor (Premier and Cabinet).

That’s really unfortunate, because the NDP, Green Party and PC Party are all offering substantive policy initiatives to improve how government will function more ethically, with increased integrity.

For example, CBC’s most recent version of its “Promise Tracker” (April 17, 2019) says nothing about government integrity policies or promises of reform, and why would it? The CBC has shown absolutely no interest in reporting government corruption, scandals, destruction of documents, or cover-ups. 

In fairness, Kerry Campbell did put up an article on CBC’s website after the PC Platform was made public that drew some attention to these policies, “P.E.I. PC Party pledges updates to legislative assembly,” but this information did not – to my knowledge – get the same play on CBC radio or Television, which they most definitely deserved, and I suspect that no more than a handful of Islanders even know about them.

The Guardian overview of the PC Party Platform completely skipped over the page dedicated to government reform and integrity/anti-corruption policies: (See: “P.E.I. PC platform leans heavily on tax cuts, but silent on carbon tax“).

Peter Bevan-Baker just released a detailed and very commendable summary of what the Green Party will do to increase government integrity: “Greens commit to implementing meaningful accountability measure for government“.  And although these are bold and important policy measures – most of which are also included in the PC Policy Platform, and all of which would likely be supported by Dennis King –  it is only the PC Party that has committed to systemic and transformational measures directly aimed at taking away power from the ruling government,  measures that have been blatantly used by the Liberal government during their last two terms to block efforts to get information about government malfeasance, and prevent actions from being taken by the Attorney General to launch legal investigations and/or proceedings to address that malfeasance.

I’ve taken the page from the PC Policy Platform document and highlighted two unique and incredibly powerful policies which not only encourage more openness, transparency and accountability – e.g., more “integrity and ethics” within government – but also take away the two most important powers employed by the MacLauchlan government over the past four years to (1) render the Attorney General’s Office impotent to do anything but assist in the cover-up of e-gaming corruption; and (2) block access to having key witnesses come before Legislative Standing Committees.

Read the two policies highlighted in red – keeping in mind that it is only the PC Party that has committed to implementing these historic and urgently-needed measures:

How is it that these incredibly forward-thinking, systemic policies have not been headline news stories after decades of government corruption and abuse, made possible only because these policies have not been in place?

Just imagine – taking the power invested in the Office of the Attorney General away from the Premier and Cabinet and giving it to the entire Legislative Assembly.  Wow!

Just imagine – allowing a MAJORITY of opposition member on Legislative Standing Committees to be able to call any key witness they want, and the government would be unable to say “no”.  Wow!

If Dennis King and the PCs do form government and implement these policies – which I am confident King will do – our provincial government will never again be able to quash Motions brought forward by Opposition MLAs to bring key witnesses before Legislative Committees – something the MacLauchlan government did over and over and over again, with neither apology nor apparently any shame.

To me, the most disgusting aspect of this entire election campaign has been the way the mainstream media – and by mainstream media I mean the CBC, Guardian and Eastern Graphic – have seemingly done everything within their power to avoid mentioning the rampant corruption of the past two Ghiz and MacLauchlan Liberal governments. Shame.

Avoiding mention of the past sins and crimes of the Liberals is one thing; but to deliberately refuse to fully inform Islanders that one political party – the Progressive Conservative Party of Prince Edward Island – intends to remove the tools that allowed that corruption, thereby ensuring it never happens again, is not only really sad, it’s irresponsible journalism and, quite frankly, totally despicable.