Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Move Over, Superman -- Here Comes Garth!

There are lots of reasons why I like Garth Turner, MP. He reminds me a lot of my former MP, the late Chuck Cadman (hero or villain, depending upon what side of last year's confidence motion you sat -- and no, we're not gonna rehash it here, thankyouverymuch). Garth is such a maverick, such a wild card, that he actually gives me hope that we will eventually have an honest government.

No, we don't yet have one.

But if we keep electing people like Garth, one day we will.

The meal-for-mortgages scam


"This means MPs in Ottawa four days a week during the time the House of Commons sits can get more than $17,000 a year in the form of meal money to use to pay their mortgages. And it is absolutely, unquestionably and inarguably wrong."

This, by the way, is a policy that does not strictly belong to the CPC. It was voted on by the Board of Internal Economy Membership -- and thanks to Robert for supplying the link in Garth's comments.

"Personally, I am very disappointed at the events of the last week and a half on Parliament Hill. The $4,000 in extra expense money should have been put to a vote, or MPs who disagree should have been given a way to opt-out. The meals-for-mortgage money scheme should never have been shoved through in a botched attempt at secrecy. If MPs want to start subsidizing their mortgages, then the taxpayers should be told about it straight up, with all the consequences that might entail.

"This is not what Conservative accountability is all about."

Well, maybe it is. After all, with Harper's fear and loathing of the press, and his refusal to answer questions asked of him in the interests of the electorate, how are we to know for sure?

I wonder how the hard-core Blogging Tories are taking this?

4 Comments:

Blogger Candace said...

My reaction is mixed. The "meals for mortgages" thing won't fly with the bulk of people working for large companies that provide the option of per diems vs. expenses (provide receipts) on trips. You spend what you want on meals, but get $x per day. So you can eat muffins & hot dogs & pocket the difference, or filet mignon and subsidize the meals yourself. And if you are the "muffin & street meat" type and choose to pay down your mortgage with the difference, that's your business, the company could care less, so why would the gov't?

Combined with the other "increases" they voted themselves, though, the optics suck.

Who was in charge of voting in the increases? The CPC, last I heard, had a minority.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger Chimera said...

Ah... I don't see you as one of the hard-core Blogging Tories, Candace. You use your brain far too often to be a total reactionary.

My take on per diem allowances is also mixed -- who do you know that eats $75.00 worth of food in one day? And yet, that's what this allowance gives them.

Personally, I'd far rather see a re-imbursement system: get a receipt for the meal and submit it as a claim. A lot of companies do this, too, and it works. There's also a cap on the amount you can claim at one time; and that avoids abuses of the system. And liquor is rarely allowed to be claimed.

And it was voted on by the Board of Internal Economy Membership -- the link is in the post. I said right there that it wasn't strictly a CPC thing. All parties are responsible for this one, but Harper had the option of disbanding the Board, which seems to have been a carry-over from Martin or Cretien, seeing as how the chairman is a Liberal...

Thursday, July 06, 2006 11:12:00 AM  
Anonymous DazzlinDino said...

Garth was on the radio today, I like the guy too. I agree with the $75 per day if they are staying in a hotel, but if a guy has an apartment, he would be buying food anyway, right?

$75 per day is what, like $2200 a month....
for food.....
for one MP.....
In Canada.....

Thursday, July 06, 2006 3:20:00 PM  
Blogger Candace said...

I'm curious about the $75 as well. Either Ottawa is really really really expensive or MPs get to eat steak & lobster every night. Besides, aren't their lunches in Parliament free? So $75 for breakfast & dinner seems a bit generous, does it not?

I agree, Chimera, that the "submit a receipt for reimbursement" idea is much better. I read somewhere that some MPs, including ministers (Ambrose is one I remember) have yet to charge a dinner on expenses. Maybe because they are doing the per diem thing? Or would that not show up on their expenses?

No, Chimera, I'm not a hard-core Tory supporter, I just think this is getting blown up a bit during the summer silly season. It will bite the opposition MPs in the butt just as easily as the gov't.

Saturday, July 08, 2006 11:25:00 AM  

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