The doctrine of "the end justifies the means" is often invoked by those who believe their goal is virtuous - but who find it convenient to use obfuscation, misrepresentation, omission of key facts and short-cuts to reach that goal.
Worse, sometimes the supporters of a cause don't know the difference between ethical and non-ethical behaviour - or truth and fiction.
Consider the case of the counterfeit parts in the control panels of the new C-130J Hercules transport planes purchased in the last 18 months. When a committee of the U.S. Congress said bogus parts were found in American aircraft, the question was raised if this might be the case for planes purchased by our military.
The Associate Minister of Defence at the time, Julian Fantino, denied categorically there were any bogus parts in the Canadian planes.
In a subsequent interview Fantino said, "I have been advised that the checks and balances we have in place in our country are sufficient."
He also undertook to provide details of those checks and balances but, every day for six days, the Department of National Defence asked for more time to verify its facts. The details were not forthcoming until a Freedom of Information request revealed that Canadian planes did indeed have some bogus parts.
No explanation was offered as to why Fantino misled the public, though presumably it was considered a necessary means to preserve confidence in the planes.
Or consider the way Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews introduced a bill to permit the government to access information on Internet use without a warrant. Either members of the House of Commons were for the bill or they stood with the "child pornographers," he claimed. Translation: "You must agree to this dilution of everyone's rights in order to better catch child pornographers." This from a man who profoundly wishes the Prime Minister someday will appoint him to the bench.
Just recently, there was a strategic leaking of the audit of the Attawapiskat reserve's books only when its Chief's hunger strike started to achieve notoriety and the Harper government started looking bad. That report had been considered by the audit committee of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs back in September 2012 and recommended for immediate release. But, because it was critical of government for allowing the wretched state of affairs to continue, it was held back.
Translation: "Of course we want to make things better on the reserves, but not if we have to own a share of the responsibility for how bad they got."
Finally, there is the ongoing matter of the F-35 fighter jets and their sky-rocketing costs. Virtually from the start, the government denied costs would rise above the original estimate. The Parliamentary Budget Office was castigated for publishing a well-researched report saying the price would be tens of millions more per plane. But in December of last year, rather than admit they had not told Canadians the whole truth, the government said they were going to "reset" the procurement process.
These are not the only examples. The cancelling of the long-form census, the muzzling of government scientists and of diplomats stationed abroad, Bev Oda's "creative editing" of a government document, Peter McKay's evasion on his use of search and rescue helicopters to go fishing - I could go on.
Those who question the Harper government's methods or oppose its objectives are first ignored, then denigrated and then just bulldozed out of the way. Members of the Conservative caucus who support or countenance this kind of behaviour have lost their moral compass.
David Bond is an author and retired bank economist. Email: