Initiatives for Democratic Solidarity: Anti-Corruption
Published: Fall 2022 | By: Jon Allen and Susan Côté-Freeman | Volume 70, No. 4
Autocrats use their unchecked powers to enrich themselves by hiding their ill-gotten gains in rule-of-law countries aided by a network of “enablers”. Corruption undermines trust in democracy by contributing to the growing inequality within states that results when corrupt individuals steal public funds, evade taxes, and engage in money laundering.
The current failure to attack corruption is, in part, the result of weak enforcement by states of the obligations they have already incurred. And yet, states also fail to prioritize corruption over conflicting interests, e.g., trade, foreign relations, security, and development policies.
Criminalizing the enablers of corruption would be a key tool in the fight against global corruption as would a clearer public
understanding that corruption is a serious societal issue.
Success in the fight against corruption requires streamlined cross-border information sharing, including declarations of foreign assets and beneficial ownership information for corporations and trusts. Civil society, e.g., NGOs and journalists, should be included in anti-corruption forums.
This paper is based on the analysis gleaned from consultations with some 20 anti-corruption experts. We believe that our recommendations are achievable and that there are political actors who have an interest in moving this agenda forward. Corruption is a serious threat to democracy on multiple levels.
About the Authors
Born in Winnipeg in 1950, Jon Allen (LL.B., University of Western Ontario, 1976; LL.M., International Law, University of London
School of Economics, 1977) joined the then Department of External Affairs in 1981.
From 2006 to 2010, Mr. Allen was Canada’s Ambassador to Israel. From 2012 to 2016 he was Ambassador to Spain and Andorra. From December 2012 to July 2014, he was Chargé d’affaires a.i. to the Holy See.
He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto and at Glendon College, York University, and a Distinguished Fellow of the Canada International Council. He is the Chair of Project Rozana, a not for profit whose objective is to build bridges between Palestinians and Israelis via the health sector, and a Member of the Board of Transparency International Canada.
He is married to Clara Hirsch. They have two sons, Jake and AJ and two grandchildren, Olive and Micah.
Susan Côté-Freeman is the Chair of Transparency International Canada and also sits on the international Board of Transparency International. Susan’s career with the international secretariat of Transparency International spanned almost two decades. She worked for the organization in London, Washington D.C., and Berlin. As Head of Transparency International’s Business Integrity Programme, she led projects aimed at raising standards of corporate anti-corruption practice and represented TI on initiatives such as the United Nations Global Compact, the Partnering against Corruption Initiative of the World Economic Forum and the B20. Subsequently, Susan worked for the Conference Board of Canada where she managed an executive network of risk professionals and carried out research in the governance, compliance and risk areas. Susan is past president of IMPACT, a Canadian non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the problem of conflict minerals. She was recently appointed as a Trustee of the Board of the National Gallery of Canada.