The secret to prosperity is public service.
Studying underdeveloped countries makes one thing clear: the cause of most of the problems in these countries is corruption. When people act in their own self-interest, almost nothing works in a country. Bureaucratic barriers that add time and cost are put in place creating incentives to pay bribes. Money that would provide services and infrastructure is stolen. Investment and business creation are lower, there are fewer jobs, crime is higher, and people are poor and unhealthy.
When government acts in the public interest everything works better. There is efficient and accountable taxation and spending, investment and business creation are high, there is low unemployment, low crime, and people are healthy and prosperous.
The only thing that can prevent government corruption is involvement in politics by the people. Political parties are charities, and, like charities, they only work if they get donations and volunteers.
There are very few charities in underdeveloped countries due to lack of volunteers and donations. In most small towns in Canada there are service organizations such as Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, and Legions. These organizations work to solve problems and make their communities better. Underdeveloped countries are lacking in this civic-minded spirit. Prosperity and well-being result from simple cause and effect: if you don’t have people working to solve problems you will keep having problems.
A story of two countries will show why public service is essential to eliminating corruption and building a strong and corruption-free country. In country A, people volunteer in political campaigns, in country B, people only look out for their own interest. The problem of government corruption sets in when too few people are willing to volunteer and is worst when everyone wants to free-ride and no one wants to volunteer to serve their country.
Imagine you live in country B and you are the only volunteer who shows up to help in the campaign of a people’s candidate. It is immediately obvious that you cannot win with only one volunteer. Without volunteers, the only way to win is to have money to hire campaign workers and to pay for promotion. So, you try to raise the money from members of the public, but you come across the same problem: everyone wants better government, but no one wants to donate.
The only option left is to seek funding from people who have an interest in your candidate getting elected, but it will only be in their interest if they get a benefit that they would not otherwise get from a government treating everyone fairly and equally. The only way to provide such benefits is go against the rule of law and against the principle of equal treatment under the law, and this is where the corruption begins.
You and your candidate only want what’s best for your country and now realize that you want nothing to do with this kind of politics, so you give up and go home leaving the field to some of the worst kinds of people who will do whatever it takes to gain power.
This is how government becomes corrupt: lack of volunteers from the public to get a government elected that will work in the public interest. Then, government falls into the hands of special-interest groups, corporations and criminals who want special benefits for themselves.
Now imagine you live in county A and there are lots of volunteers for the people’s candidate and lots of individual donations. There is no need to seek the support of self-interested individuals and groups. You can win with the support of the people alone. The only responsibility of your candidate is to the people, and since the people want everyone to be treated fairly and equally that is exactly what your candidate will have to do.
Continuing active involvement and interest by the people after the election will keep your elected representative accountable and uncover any corruption, incompetence and inefficiency. Again, benefits will result from simple cause and effect: people are paying attention to the problems and working to make things better, so things will get better.
Canada has been a country A. Well documented declines in civic engagement have caused our country to slide down into the A minus and B plus range. We are experiencing greater corruption as our tradition of public service has been eroded. For decades our society has promoted selfishness instead of service. This must change if we want to avoid sliding backward still further and becoming more and more like an underdeveloped country.
We must strive to make Canada an A+ country. Now, people are awakening, and we are beginning to recover our spirit of public service. To succeed, we need to participate in government, and we need to serve our country.
The establishment of the People’s Party of Canada offers Canadians a unique opportunity. The People’s Party was founded on the principle of serving the interests of the Canadian people. This can only be achieved if the people of Canada make it a true people’s party – and keep it a true people’s party – through active participation and support by the people.
Public service is based on the principle of loving your neighbor as you love yourself. This is the foundation of personal salvation, and it’s the foundation of the salvation of nations. We must love all and serve all. With love, and with service, we can rise out of darkness. It is not too late.