“To be or not to be ? That is the question” in the now famous words of Shakespeare, which brings us to the year 2016, Saint John and the Saint John Heritage Board; “To grant or not to grant? that is the question”.
I am of course talking about the current controversy surrounding the proposed Irving Oil headquarters at King Square. I expect there are very few folks in Saint John that are opposed to the Irving project, in fact I would say the the vast majority applaud the project and the benefits that it will bring to Saint John’s core area. The issue with a the few courageous souls that have stepped forward is all about “process”
In business ethics, do the means justify the end, or does the end justify the means? Most would agree that it’s better to have a set of rules, that apply to “all”, telling you what you ought to do in any particular situation and then let the chips fall where they may. Or should you worry more about how things are going to end up and do whatever’s necessary to reach that goal?
The Saint John Heritage by-law was established for “all” persons and/or companies. I don’t believe there is a provision in the by-law that states “should the applicant be Irving, has billions of dollars, or will create employment, or has significant power the heritage by-laws will not apply”.
The issue at hand is one of “due process”. By-laws can be established and by-laws may be revised, their purpose is to satisfy and serve the “common good” not the “good of the few”. Once the end begins to justify the means we as a community run the risk of starting down the a slippery slope of that begins to compromise fairness to all and ethical erosion.
Think about it.