A Commentary by Doug Draper
Posted September 25th, 2016 on Niagara At Large
“Everywhere there’s lots of piggies, living piggy lives. You can see them out for dinner, with their piggy wives, clutching forks and knives, to eat their bacon.” – from the George Harrison song, Piggies
Who do you know in the world of everyday Canadians, who needs more than $100,000 to cover the costs of moving their families from one home to another, just a couple of hours’ drive away in the same province.
Probably no one, unless you are unfortunate enough to know someone who works in a senior position in federal government.
And if they happen to have a job working for the prime minister of the country, it’s a free-for-all on what you can charge the taxpayer for expenses – right up to the time you get caught, of course. Then you might have to practice looking contrite while you are paying some of it back.
You know, it was just about a week ago when I was standing in a long check-out line at a local grocery store that people in the line began engaging in a discussion about how corrupt and how wasteful of our money they feel the still relatively new Liberal government of Justin Trudeau is. “They’re no better than Stephen Harper,” said one to the nodding approval of others.”
Never one to shrink from a discussion about politics, I took a stab at defending Trudeau and company.
“On balance, I would rather have a prime minister who says he believes climate change is real and says yes to an inquiry into more than a thousand missing and murdered Indigenous girls and women than who treats climate change like a joke and repeatedly says no to an inquiry,” was my offering to a group that seemed so jaded about government, in general, that I doubted I moved the needle a hair with my words.
Then, just a day or two later, out comes the news about the two senior bureaucrats in Trudeau’s office, his principal secretary, Gerald Butts, and chief of staff, Katie Telford, collectively charged and received more than $200,000 for moving their families last year from their former homes in the Toronto area to Ottawa.
A few days later, we find out about another two Liberal government bureaucrats working for Trudeau’s foreign affairs minister and innovation minister collectively billing more than $200,000 for their moves to the capital. And now I’m thinking, what could anyone possibly say to make those people in the check-out line feel any less turned off about government now?
There was the inevitable shouting about all of this from Trudeau’s political opponents, until the piggy bureaucrats were finally made to return a portion of the money.
There were no firings, of course. How are you going to fire these four when there are probably dozens, if not hundreds of others who did the same? And what are you going to do about the people who agreed to write all these piggies the cheques?
Only people working at jobs in the real world (unless, they happened to be a CEO or board member) might expect to be fired for this sort of stuff.
When higher ups in a government get caught doing it, it seems like members of the opposition and media have to slam the prime minister or premier over the head with a crowbar for days, if not weeks before they finally even agree to address it. In this case, we also had Trudeau’s people sinking to the level of five-year olds on a school yard by pointing fingers at the opposition and saying that they did it first.
What is this Trudeau bunch doing? They won a huge majority a year ago this October after promising Canadians they’d be a breath of fresh air and we would all be basking in “sunny ways” after a decade of Harper. You think you wouldn’t even have to tell them to show some respect with their spending of our money – at least not this early into their mandate.
Instead, we get this same old winner-take-all and let-the-rest-of-us-eat-cake mentality kicking back in, giving people like those I stood with in the grocery check-out ever more reason to believe that “they are all liars and crooks.”
I wonder how much our political leaders in Canada are paying attention to all of the distrust and anger in government that is boiling south of the border now in the U.S. election. Do they think that conditions aren’t shaping up for something like a Donald Trump, railing against all of those “crooked” and “lyin’” mainstream politicians, to find some traction here?
The way things are going, they are. And there are likely plenty of Canadian counterparts to Trump already waiting in the wings to exploit them.
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