Here’s the bottom line on the parliamentary expense spending issue. While the word “scandal” has been tossed about in media and among Canadians concerning the expense spending mess, questions, audit, gifts, add your own description, there are two real scandals in play. One is the rule which permits MPs and senators to bill taxpayers for their expenses without being fully and publicly accountable. The other, and this one screams for attention, is that not one member of parliament or occupant of the senate feels sufficiently embarrassed over the current mess to publicly state it is time to change the rules on reporting of expense money spending. Not one elected or unelected occupant of the Chateau by the Rideau feels a real sense of obligation to the people of Canada. Otherwise the call for a full public accountability of where each expense dollar is directed would be coming from within the ranks of MPs and senators.
Have you heard such a call? Have you heard a demand that you, I or any other Canadian should have the instant opportunity to online review all expense spending by each member of parliament and the senate? What does that suggest to you? I’ll share with you what it suggests to me. They do not believe the funders of these expense accounts, the taxpayers of Canada have any business knowing where each of them directs their spending.
Last weekend on the show a British MP, Tom Harris, spoke at length about the MP and House of Lords expense spending revelations in the U.K. in 2009. In that instance several MPs and at least one member of the HOL were imprisoned. Others were required to pay back significant amounts of money.
My friend Linda Leatherdale on air calls them “the fools on the hill.” I’m going to suggest that unless Canadians demand full and public accountability as far as expense spending by federal politicians is concerned, the fools will be the rest of us.
As far as Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is concerned, Mr. Mayor, you must break your silence. Not should break your silence, but must break it. “Ridiculous” and suggesting a Toronto Star driven agenda is behind your current challenge and the video which purports to show you smoking crack cocaine might have been understandable in the first day or two since Gawker broke this story. Now, a week later, you must be clear and speak to your constituents. You asked for their support in your campaign for Mayor. You owe them and all Torontonians a clear and unequivocal accounting.