The upper house needs renos

“Publish and be damned!” — Duke of Wellington daring a blackmailer.

geraldIn the olden days, politicians, monarchs and autocrats could and would use their power to quell any unseemly talk of misbehaviour or scandal by throwing journalists in jail or worse. Unfortunately for these types, the allegations were often true and the resultant uproar and the public taste for vengeance meant that heads of state sometimes lost their own heads à la Louis XVI.

Listening to recent talk shows could make one wonder if people would be maybe not quite so bloodthirsty but definitely angry at the way some politicians and public officials have been treating the public purse as their very own.

We’re all nauseated at the behaviour of those senators who don’t know where their principle residence is (Duffy), use up $325,000 in travel in two years (Wallin) or abuse their spouses (Brazeau) while still keeping their jobs. The more sickening aspect of these shenanigans is that many of the supposedly “sober second thinkers” of the upper chamber are really slow to make any real changes such as tossing the most obvious miscreants out.

At least some of them up there (Greene Raine) have the moxie to say they would have “done the right thing and resigned” had they been in, for example, Duffy’s position.

Senators make $132,000 per year, they’re supplied with an office and staff, they get to travel all over for free and get to keep going at this gravy train until they’re 75, when naturally the senate pension along with all their other “royalties” roll in until they die.

There are now calls for the RCMP to investigate the senatorial sagas but they’d rather bust texting drivers than con artists in Ottawa. The “little people” can expect to be harassed while the big-time crooks get away with little things like forgetting about a fake housing claim for $90,000. You and I would be in the Crowbar Hotel and lose our bank accounts if we tried that.

While the Conservatives enjoy a majority now, the palpable anger over the way that public money is wasted will have repercussions at the polls. Most Canadians don’t enjoy lavish expense accounts, unlimited travel and swanky hotel rooms with $16 orange juice (Oda), not to mention lottery sized pensions.

We the people are generally used to barely getting by after paying through our noses for every little thing including yearly increases in government demands. The trouble is that there are so many people gaming the system that we’re getting these results even with the popular vote. Except for the most scandalous stuff, the system will keep going.

Oh well. I guess we’ll have to stop worrying about it or slap a politician instead. That should get them down to Earth for a minute or so.

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