Are Canada’s political scandals ruining our reputation overseas?
Scandals are erupting at the municipal, provincial and federal levels of government. Do you think Canada’s ‘poisonous politics’ are negatively affecting our reputation overseas?
Thomas Bink: I don’t do a lot of overseas traveling, but when I have, people generally have positive opinions about Canadians – I think the average person doesn’t keep up with our political strife and takes Canadian tourists at face value. In terms of key international leaders and politicians – I don’t think Canada’s issues are any different than some of the things other countries regularly go through, so again, it’s more about our general reputation than specific issues of the day.
Andy Radia: I don't know, Tom, it certainly appears that our scandals are getting a lot of foreign press. Rob Ford, the Senate scandal, the robocall scandal, the Montreal corruptions scandals are all getting ink in other countries. How does that not affect peoples' opinions of us and our politics? You add that to some of the foreign criticism the Harper government has faced for its positions on Israel, on the environment and refugees, I think overall, our reputation is diminishing.
Matthew Coutts: I know some of our recent political, er, stories have gotten some rough press in the U.S. and abroad, but I question how much of an impact it actually has on our reputation. In terms of the general public, I suspect those who have laughed at the fiasco in Toronto or cringed at the corruption allegations coming out of Montreal wouldn’t change their vacation plans either way. Australian politics was recently smeared by the most horrifically sexist assault on the prime minister, and I still want to visit. Like Mayor Rob Ford says, “Any time you get Toronto on the map.” On the political level, however, I can’t image any of it has helped us.
Radia: I'll agree with you Matt, that nobody's cancelling their airline tickets or hotel rooms because of these scandals. But I think these stories chip away at our reputation internationally. Would I invest in the construction industry in Montreal right now or start a contracting business in Shawinigan? Hell no. If I was a mayor of a town in China, would I invite the city of Toronto or the city of London to be my ceremonial 'sister city?' If I'm with the UN and looking for a place to hold the 2016 climate conference, will I think about Canada? Chip, chip chip.
Coutts: Yeah, I think you hit on the big problem there. Investment, business and money. That is where the reputation would be taking the biggest hit. I think about Toronto’s city-led investment mission to Chicago. I’m not how successful it actually way in the first place, but if the trip had been held post-Ford scandal, one doubts doors would swing open as quickly. Still, I think we have to keep it in context. The Globe and Mail actually touched on that topic on Thursday. Only 1.2 per cent of international coverage on Toronto focused on the mayor’s alleged drug use. There’s a whole big world out they beyond hiccups at city hall or on Parliament Hill.
Bink: All I know is that no matter what scandals we deal with, I'd still rather travel as a Canadian than an American.
What do you think? Have your say in the comments area below.