Voters across the globe appear to be more concerned than ever with their leaders' character and actions. Specifically, of course, they hold them accountable and require ethical behavior. This greater attention to the actions of leaders is directly connected to the media revolution of the past 20 years or so, which has resulted in greater scrutiny as more people have more access to more information than ever before.
We often hear the term government ethics used in the media, and by politicians and political commentators – yet it isn’t always clear what exactly is meant by this term. A useful way to approach the discussion is to begin by examining the word “ethics.” Generally speaking, ethics refers to the study of right and wrong behaviours. In our daily lives we are constantly faced with important questions about what to do. Should I keep my promise or should I not? Should I report a lost wallet, or simply keep the money inside? Should I give to the panhandler or keep my change? Ethics, as a field of study, attempts to find principles and rules for answering such questions.
People are paying much more attention to conflicts of interests that world leaders have now than they did before. Part of the reason for this is because of all of the news coverage of the many ethics issues that will come up under the Trump administration because of all of his business ties.
The Canadian Prime Minister may be under scrutiny for ethics violations, but he is one of few leaders who are harshly criticized and scrutinized for questional actions while serving their public. The fact that Donald J. Trump, a man with a questionable moral background at best, was elected president of the United States speaks to the fact that ethics are sorely lacking from our political arena, and they aren't highly in demand by citizens in general. Citizens should recognize the need for ethically responsible government leaders, and they should push for these ethics to become a priority.