Foreign Policy Blogs

Losses, Pandemics and Stolen Taxes

Plane lands in Toronto: Canada only implemented Covid temperature screening in July 2020. Marcus Oleniuk/Toronto Star


The Covid-19 pandemic affected the world in a negative fashion and almost all countries incurred losses in their communities, often their beloved elderly parents and grandparents, neighbours, family and friends. Along with the loss of some in our communities, we also lost employment and security, and have been stapled to a generation of debt that will likely never disappear. What this pandemic has exacerbated however is how corruption can not only reduce the standard of living of average citizens, but also place them in a situation where they will lack critical health care and will be subject to situations where their lack of power in society can prevent them from having their lives saved.

The example in the Americas shows how inequality can lead to losses to society. Several countries in Latin America have been subject to scandals where PPE and other equipment was overpaid for, money was skimmed from the immediate actions to help the community during the pandemic, emergency hospital money was taken and hidden personally by government officials, N95 masks were purchased at inflated prices and aid money disappeared. The reality about corruption is that it always is a loss for average people. This is the case because average people do not have the power to steal eye watering amounts of money from the public, nor do they have the ability to have a proper legal defense when accused of wrongdoing by government officials.

It is likely the case that governments in other regions, even in North America and Europe, also operated in a corrupt fashion to some degree during the pandemic. While it is still too early to assess the damage, the financial numbers coming out on national finances of many countries are shocking, and this applies to most nations. Canada has even entered into its own Covid era scandal, while its Parliament has been closed and oversight on spending has been restricted. Canada’s government entered its third corruption scandal since 2015 over the last week, events are still unfolding daily.

What is not applicable to most nations are leaders, political or otherwise, taking advantage of a public that has lost this income, may have lost lives, and are living under a what is effectively a quarantine house arrest. To take money from a weakened public is reprehensible…and if this was done during or in connection with Covid aid spending there should be new criminal charges applied, even if the normal system of government prevents those in power from being subject to criminal charges. Those who commit such acts are essentially working against their own national interests, and to the point where people’s lives are lost because of it. When a politician barely understands the morale of the story of Robin Hood, they will always end their political career with a crime.



Richard Basas

Richard Basas, a Canadian Masters Level Law student educated in Spain, England, and Canada (U of London MA 2003 LL.M., 2007), has worked researching for CSIS and as a Reporter for the Latin America Advisor. He went on to study his MA in Latin American Political Economy in London with the University of London and LSE. Subsequently, Rich followed his career into Law focusing mostly on International Commerce and EU-Americas issues. He has worked for many commercial and legal organisations as well as within the Refugee Protection Community in Toronto, Canada, representing detained non-status indivduals residing in Canada. Rich will go on to study his PhD in International Law.

Areas of Focus:
Law; Economics and Commerce; Americas; Europe; Refugees; Immigration