By Paul Cowhig

Jody Wilson-Raybould and Michael Cowhig
Jody Wilson-Raybould and Michael Cowhig

Recently my brother Michael (pictured above) invited me to a Rotary luncheon where Jody Wilson-Raybould, MP for the riding of Vancouver Granville, was the guest speaker. The topic was “Ethics in Politics.”

How could I resist? As it happened, I shared a table with the guest speaker herself.



Wilson-Raybould didn’t really talk much about ethics in politics other than to say that all the major parties are pretty much the same in terms of expecting their MPs to do what they’re told.  Despite the conflict of interest scandal and her fallout with the prime minister, she is clearly proud of her accomplishments while serving in the government.

What she spoke more about was her background, who she is and where she comes from, both literally and philosophically. She spoke of her upbringing, her beliefs and the critical importance of everyone doing their part, whatever that part may be.

Wilson-Raybould was raised in the Wewaikai First Nation community on Vancouver Island and the lessons she learned at home and in her community are deliberately reflected in the way she lives her life.

She shared with us that, in her community, every person has value. Every life matters, in part because every person has a unique contribution to make.

Wilson-Raybould said, “When you fall down or do bad things, when you don’t contribute and do your part, the entire community is diminished.”

It seems so obvious when you hear it said out loud. It’s a deliberate shouldering of taking personal responsibility for who you are. That attitude then influences your relationships, how you perform your job and participate in the community. There is a lesson for us in what she says.

Sticking to your ethics can cost you. It cost Wilson Raybould her job as attorney general of Canada, a place in the cabinet as the minister of justice and ultimately her membership in the Liberal party.

“So be it. I can look in the mirror and not blush,” she says, on reflection.

There is also a cost for Realtors who stray from ethics, which can mean losing the confidence of your colleagues, your clients, the public and potentially your license, your board membership, your business and worst of all, your reputation and self-respect.

As individuals we need to shoulder the responsibilities we take on as Realtors and, in order to do that, we need to understand and embrace what those responsibilities are.

As Realtors, we commit to this pledge:

  • Professional competent service – That means we will not work beyond our area of knowledge and ability.
  • Absolute honesty and integrity in business dealings – It means that we don’t take shortcuts to skirt the rules or take advantage of others to benefit ourselves.
  • Utmost civility – This means that regardless of whether we like a person, or something we want is at stake, we treat all people with respect, dignity and compassion.
  • Co-operation with and fairness to all – This means we work with others to reach common goals and when our goals differ, we maintain our ethics and do what we know is right, all while doing the best for our client.
  • Personal accountability through compliance with CREA’s Standards of Business Practice. The rules are there for a reason, and so we know the rules, we respect them and agree to be bound by them.

Having a code of conduct is like having a map. It helps us get to where we want to be. It gives direction to our actions. It helps to keep us on track. And it says that we deliberately and consciously commit to a high standard, which makes all of us better.

Paul Cowhig is the professional standards advisor for the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) in Surrey, B.C. Previously, Paul spent two years as professional standards co-ordinator for the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board in Kelowna. He was first licensed as a salesperson in 1980 and earned his broker’s license in 2013. Paul is proud to have served on the FVREB Board of Directors from 1996 to 2002 and as its president in 2001.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Agree! Well put!

    As a realtor, I like what I do. Looking after my clients has been gratifying. For many years now it is they that promote for me.
    Look after the best interest of your clients and they will look after you!

    Unfortunately have to say that I have little respect for the people in my business.

    In Ontario we have RECO (Real Estate Council of Ontario), in simple a policing body for the industry.
    They themselves have in the past ignored complaints and to perform as is their job.
    Additionally, not doing enough or providing stiff enough sentences to deter others from unethical behavior and maintain the respect in our business.

    It is too easy to get into the industry. Many don’t succeed and become unethical to survive. This hurts the ones that honestly made the business their career.

    • Apparently the “price on ethics” in Ontario is $ 30,000.00 . It’s rather sad and discouraging. I now cringe when I pay my RECO bill.

  2. Ethics!

    FVREB where the author was a director for 8 years and president for one, has issued false, misleading and misrepresentative monthly housing market reports for decades.

    The President of a Real Estate Trade Association or MLS system allows non-registrant staff to make false, misleading and misrepresentative housing market commentary being careful never to go on the record for those same remarks without citing their authorships to non-registrant staff or the board itself.

    Ethics? FVREB has gone to great strides to hide the lack of experience the Average and Median income earning member on their board delivers to the public. The Failure Rate of their members has been kept hidden from public scrutiny since the 1980s.

    FVREB members failed to complete their FINTRAC reporting requirements for suspicious transactions for over a decade when fellow REALTORS in Ontario were completing them as directed by CREA during the entirety of that decade.

    Home Buyers in BC have not been provided any Buyer Agency supporting housing market intelligence since Buyer Agency first became legal in Canada in the 1990s. Now over 20 years later still not a single effort has been made to warn buyers about buying when the market is too hot and set to see prices fall.

    Ethics is beyond the realm of possibility when you agree to license the REALTOR trademark and agree to the terms, conditions and rules required to license any NAR or CREA trademark.

    Ethics starts by telling the truth no matter the personal financial harm telling the truth causes.

    It is 2019 and society has reached a point where the Truth cannot be hidden. Ethics previously not even considered will become the determining factor in the demise of the REALTOR brand.

    If any of these comments can be factually proven to be untrue (with a simple rule or data release) over the last 25 years, I will formally apologize to all. Sadly I know that no such apology will be required.

    It is time for a new Professional Broker Association to be formed and a vote be forced within the next 5 years to turn all CREA assets over to that new Association.

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