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Course Description

Two men in business suits whispering in court

This course will introduce students to the phenomenon of political corruption and the study of its incidence. Attention will be paid to historical examples, contemporary scandals, and analytical articles, dealing with the nature, causes and effects, and proposed cures of political corruption, and the ethical dilemmas inherent in political life.

Note: This course can be taken individually or as a part of a certificate program.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the learner should be able to:

  1. Assess corruption in a historical context, recognizing the difference between corrupt behaviour and conduct that is merely outrageous or shocking;
  2. Explain the ethical dilemmas and conflicts inherent in political life for all public office holders, including those of good character seeking to lead a virtuous life;
  3. Assess actual situations – including war and national security crises – when political leaders find themselves compromising their ethical standards in the interest of a (presumably) greater “public good;"
  4. Identify when political cover-ups are buried within “official” explanations of transgressions;
  5. Evaluate the mechanisms employed in Canada to achieve transparency, accountability and honest government;
  6. Assess the role of the news media as “society’s watchdog;”
  7. Understand how the phenomenon of corruption, as a universal problem of governance, varies from country to country and from culture to culture; and
  8. Evaluate how corruption impacts government and society and how it can devastate political parties (way the Sponsorship scandal did to the Liberal Party of Canada in the first decade of the 21st century).

Course Topics

  • Patronage and Conflict of Interest
  • Corruption in Canada: A Historical Perspective
  • Two Distinctively Canadian Scandals
  • Ethics Codes and Ministerial Responsibility
  • Open Government: Transparency and Accountability
  • Sex Scandals and Political Privacy
  • The Politics of Lying
  • Lobbying
  • Democracy and Political Financing
  • The Media
  • Corruption on the Global Stage

Additional Requirements

Prerequisite(s): 5.00 credits


Assessment Item Weight Learning Outcomes
Short Essay 20% 2
Term Paper 30% 3
Debates (1) 15% 1-6
Quizzes (10 x 1.5%) 15% 1-6
Take-home Final Exam 20% 1-6
Total 100%  


Applies Towards the Following Certificates

Technical Requirements

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*Course details are subject to change.


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