Ethical Scenario - The Kickback Couple

The Maple Leaf
December 2016

This previous dilemma has been brought back due to ongoing interest in the subject.

“Hey, check this out, buddy!” exclaims Ordinary Seaman Bob Chaffey, pointing to the photo of a brand new, gleaming red 2017 Mustang on his computer screen. “I’ll have her soon.”

“Looks great, but the only ride I can afford is this, at least until I get on a ship and start earning sea pay,” says OS Rolly Labrosse, pulling a bus pass from his shirt pocket. “Hey, how can you afford a new car? What, did you win the lottery or something?”

OS Chaffey and OS Labrosse are nearing the end of an intense 16-month trades course. Many of the students have been together since they joined the military and have formed strong bonds, including a solid friendship between these two seamen. OS Chaffey is popular and widely considered the unofficial course leader.

“Well, Rolly,” explains OS Chaffey, “it’s very simple.” He looks around to make sure they are alone and then continues quietly, “I’ve been getting free rations and quarters, plus separation allowance, so I’ve been able to put away a little extra money.”

“But how can you get paid separation allowance? You and your girlfriend broke up a long time ago, and…”

“Yes we did,” says OS Chaffey, “but the orderly room doesn’t know that. Look, I made a little deal with my ex-common-law wife. She gets some of my pay and agreed that she won’t ‘officially’ break-up with me until the course is over. It’s all in how you fill out the forms, buddy.”

OS Labrosse doesn’t know what to do next. He confronts OS Chaffey later that day telling him his actions are illegal, but OS Chaffey just becomes defensive and dismissive. Still, OS Chaffey is OS Labrosse’s closest friend and has been a big help to him on this course. If this wrongdoing is revealed, it could cost OS Chaffey his career, or more.

Based on a Defence Ethics perspective, what advice would you give OS Labrosse?

Send reader feedback and suggestions for future scenarios.

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