Decisions are being made by unelected officials in closed meetings impacting every Canadian; nothing new in the Developed World where the skew of wealth and income align harmoniously with distribution of power and influence. Acknowledging the comfort of politicians in Ottawa (and elsewhere) doesn’t explain why the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) would recklessly violate their core principals by watering down a bill to promote transparency on salary and expenses.
MP Brent Rathgeber is going Independent after the decision by CPC to suppress his bill promoting disclosure. In a resignation letter he writes:
“Clearly, the Government’s decision not to support my Private Member’s Bill on CBC and Public Sector disclosure and transparency in Committee was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back“
These days the Conservative Caucus sees folks come and go like leaves in the breeze (see Mike Duffy expense scandal). Mr. Rathgeber is resigning for reasons unrelated, sort of. It’s about money, an ideological clash, a shady resolution that evokes a whiff of ethical malfeasance.
He explains his position in a detailed video from CBC: how his bill was gutted by bureaucrats who are terrified to disclose their earnings and expenses.
Publishing a simple and concise record of public payrolls and expenses is certainly a benefit to Canadian taxpayers. Alternatively, suppressing the information serves no one, has little, if any opportunity costs, and comes off sleazy. Disclosure should no harm or shame if the funds are used fairly and appropriately. But clearly they aren’t.
Increased accountability will force a culture shock onto overspending MPs and overpaid public employees. The entitlement-soaked public sector has most provinces spending far beyond their means, so we need a tighter grip on the purse strings desperately.
The debt and budget deficits in California, notoriously corrupt financial basket case, were recently compared to those facing Ontario. The financials are so dire in Ontario that you’d sooner move from a Malibu mansion into a Kapuskasing camper than trade books with Canadas’ largest province.
Any effort to reduce spending is timely given our austere circumstances. Disclosing salaries and expenses serves a purpose and should be a standardized practice for all people, businesses and other third parties receiving taxpayer money. Its our god damn money in the first place.
Conservative principals ring through repeatedly throughout the letter from Mr. Rathgeber:
“A return to balanced budgets, limiting the size and scope of government, the aforementioned open and transparent operation of government, belief in markets and eliminating corporate subsidies are all matters of importance to my constituents but have all been sacrificed to the altar of electoral calculation… I can only compromise so much before I begin to not recognize myself. I no longer recognize much of the party that I joined and whose principles (at least on paper), I still believe in.”
Won’t make a big splash at the water cooler but taxpayers should immediately take notice of the toxic policy and dismal spending records. These events provide financial details of our government, but also a lens through which we can closely observe their culture and ethical standards.
Our tax-and-spend, free-for-all government in Ontario (and throughout North America) breeds Bev Oda and Mike Duffy, ORNGE, helicopter trips for Peter MacKay, McGuinty $1 Billion gas plant, Green Energy Act, etc. The CPC fails on their promise of financial sanity. This lacks discipline and restraint, void of common sense. Avowed to oppose waste and porky legislation, CPC exhibit through policymaking they want taxpayers money to be distributed without account.
A scorching finale to the resignation letter:
“I joined the Reform/conservative movements because I thought we were somehow different, a band of Ottawa outsiders riding into town to clean the place up, promoting open government and accountability. I barely recognize ourselves, and worse I fear that we have morphed into what we once mocked.“
He describes the shameful mechanics of dark alley politics. The bill gets diluted time and again, rewritten so meaningfully as to be ineffective, contradictory to the philosophical agreement and jovial verbal support from his colleagues. Only a machine so well-lubricated by the saliva deposits transferred from ambitious lips upon swollen Executive asses could turn mandatory salary and expense disclosure into rubbish.
None of this was determined in an open forum, as voting members were given the chance to oppose the Bill on-record and all declined. Yet, in the shadows where voting took place they moved against the disclosure bill, breaking the back of an prairie boy trying to do some good in the world.
This is a shameful mockery of conservative principals, a big slap in the face to average Joe’s handing over 1/3 to 1/2 of their earnings, and a sad day for Canadian politics. The taxpayers, who finance this whole Dog & Pony show, are too busy complaining about the banks hiring foreign workers. But, this isn’t exclusively about Canadian politics since we’re not alone among the class of people who are oppressed by ignorant and corrupt governance.
Conjure up the state of affairs in Greece, California, Spain, Illinois, Italy, and Turkey. Their government got so lazy and bloated that their insolvency forced reduced living standards upon the working class. Government excess thrust depression on the regular folk who relied on their stewardship. But greed, money, power, got’em. And those well-laid plans are too often egregious misallocations…
The full piece is a must read. Find it here:
More background from CBC http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/06/05/edmonton-brent-rathgeber-resigns-conservative-caucus.html