Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Politics in Canada –scandal at all levels!

Indeed. All levels. Not just PMO Harper.
I've been collecting stories. They tend to disappear over time, in cyberspace, as journalists have short attention spans, and move on to the next story.
It makes for thought-provoking discourse amongst our family. It keeps the brain cells firing, and encourages me to keep reading and watching.

 What is a legitimate expense?

Last night, former broadcaster Senator Pamela Wallin went on the offensive to address illegal expenses. She could have apologised, or explained, or taken questions. Instead, she blames the system. It is "fundamentally flawed and unfair."
Senator Pamela Wallin described the Deloitte audit of her expenses as flawed and unfair, but said she will pay back every dollar she is ordered to by the Senate, with interest.
It seems fairly straightforward. If you are doing required Senate work - on a $135,000 salary a year, your expenses could be paid. On the other hand, my clients' PSWs drive from home and from client to client, making $12 an hour. They pay their own gas. My brother pays his own transportation to his work. Most of us do and on far smaller salaries. As a hospice volunteer I don't even get mileage any more, as we lack government funding. Do you perceive the disconnect and the sense of entitlement?

It appears that the Deloitte audit found unmatched events with claims for Senate business events. Isn't that what Senator Duffy's claims demonstrated? How, in their own minds - in this universe, does this make sense?

As I listened this morning, my local CBC Ottawa host interviews Hannah Thibedeau, an accredited journalist, didn't pull punches on her former colleague, Senator Wallin. The whole thing seems evil, wrong, deceitful and illegal. I was deeply shocked. Here is the interview:

Senate expense scandal: Wallin repayment could be six-digit figure

As she finished up her live spot, two more journalists entered for a live interview. Apparently, one of the two stuck their tongue out at Ms. Thibedeau, to throw her off. This is so typical of journalists. They are reporting on this serious issue. They are not taking it seriously. This is one of their own who appears to have deeply stuck it to taxpayers, most of whom make far less for far more work.

 : Aren’t we all fundamentally flawed, in a sense?” One flaw being the inability to see them in ourselves?”
Yes. Journalists need to step up and hold her accountable. She represents them all, and badly. She is demonstrating that naval-gazing sense of entitlement that Senator Duffy demonstrated. With their lifelong pensions and expense accounts.

Federal Politics

The Senators who make $135,000 a year, have been over compensated for expenses. Mind you, they are paid to sit on particular boards of directors (e.g., Senator Pamela Wallin quits Porter Airlines board), and earn a princely sum there, too. She bemoans the paperwork required that befuffled her, in a CBC Mansbridge interview.
Senator DuffyMounties open criminal probe into Mike Duffy scandal. He's been given $90,000 by former PM Harper's aide.

Then, Mac Harb, ordered to repay said claims, has taken his own revenge:

Former Liberal Senator files for judicial review after being ordered to repay more than $230,000

A question of judgment? Hit the road, Mac

OTTAWA — May 9, 2013 Mac Harb should resign from the Senate. He is either guilty of terrible judgment or motivated by an obscene sense of entitlement. It doesn’t matter what an accounting firm says. Mac Harb should resign from the Senate.He is...someone already making $132,000 annually. Harb claimed $43,000 in accommodation, mileage...on the public dime, so close together? Mac Harb was once a likable character with a sympathetic...
These same Senators charge amazing speaker's fees. In what seems like a volley in return, suddenly MP Trudeau's been cited as claiming speaker's fees by a non-profit group that lost money during this conference. "A communications officer in the Prime Minister's office sent an email to The Barrie Advance with details about a $10,000 speech Justin Trudeau gave in 2007 that left Georgian College with a $4,000 loss."

Provincial Politics

Our Premier McGuinty suddenly resigned. Many think it's due to the awful amount of money that had to be paid to businesses for canceled contracts in the power plant debacle. It cost $585 million, according to The Toronto Star. He prorogued parliament, shut her down completely, in the midst of complaints about the clean energy projects he's undertaken. Ontario Wind Farms and Hydro Projects, with energy surpluses resulting in more costs to the taxpayers.

Now, our local MPP, Randy Hiller, is calling for an emergency leadership review for the Conservative party.

Tim Hudak rejects calls for leadership review after Ontario ...

Toronto Star-12 hours ago
MPPs Frank Klees (Newmarket-Aurora) and Randy Hillier (Lanark-Frontenac-Lenox and Addington), runners-up to Hudak in the 2009 ...

His boss, Hudak, is out of the country on holiday. What a great time for an attack. Hillier has also been attacking Hydro One, calling for its dismemberment, with no alternative presented. Attack. Attack. Attack. There are many fine HydroOne employees, who dug us out of trouble during Ice Storm '98 and continue to do fine work, at great risk.

Hydro One woes

Ottawa Citizen-Aug 2, 2013
His colleague Conservative MPP Randy Hillier has reported the same thing. As a long-suffering Hydro One ratepayer, who just received a hefty ...

Now, I risk my MPP accusing me, again, of bipartisan sniping, but it is a risk I take, since I have no allegiance to any party. I am deeply cynical. I am entitled to my opinion. As my elected representative, as all my friends have said, I am entitled to having my opinion registered. He represents all of us, whether we voted him in or not.

Municipal Politics

Both the Toronto and Montreal mayors have had some issues with the law.
One apparently has had intimate contact with drug dealers and cocaine. Rob Ford has his own section in the online Globe and Mail!
The other, appointed to replace a previous mayor involved in bribery issues, is himself involved between the years 2006 and 2011.

Let me contrast these stories of money, corruption and power, with this one:

Ontario's affordable housing crisis deepens

As rental housing disappears and incomes stagnate, more low- and middle-income people are finding it tough to afford a decent home.


Kay L. Davies said...

It's been going on for a long time, Jenn. Remember the old song "Ain't We Got Fun" about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.
I remember it from the 50s but according to Wikipedia it was from the 20s. George Orwell cited it as an example of working class unrest.
Senatorial unrest doesn't have its own song yet, unless Rick Mercer has written one.
We don't talk about politics in our house. The dog isn't interested, and Dick and I just argue. He certainly doesn't vote for the Harpies, but he thinks I'm too far out in left field.
Interesting post, Jenn.

Red said...

It boggles my mind as to how someone could be so far off of rules, regulations and ethical standards and feel indignant about being told that they are wrong. As you say Pamela Wallin blamed the very system that she used to rip off the public. How can these people look at themselves in the mirror each day or how can they have people look at them each day? Keep up the good work of exposing these crooks feet to the fire.