Feb 182013
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Six-figure Senate fraudsters should be prosecuted; Trudeau disappoints.

by Ish Theilheimer

A sickening stink is rising from the fraudulent expense claims of Conservative and Liberal Senators. The only benefit about the controversy is that it may lead to the long-overdue abolition of this ineffective, obsolete symbol of waste, patronage, pomp and uselessness.

How infuriatiing that if an EI claimant or pensioner in Harper's Canada put in for ten dollars extra, he'd face fierce prosecution, but Senators — who already get paid a base salary of $132,000 — only have to pay back the fraudulent claim if they happen to get caught.

Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin were symbols of honest reporting. Now it appears they may not have been honestly reporting.

Liberal Senator Mac Harb's purported residence in the county where I live is bad enough, but Harb never had a national reputation for probity and wisdom. He was always known as an old-fashioned wardheeling style political boss.

The expense claims of Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin, however, are truly disappointing. These people shaped the news for Canadians for decades, and, whether we agreed with their politics, we trusted them for integrity. They were symbols of honest reporting. Now it appears they may not have been honestly reporting.

It's easy for Canadians who are struggling to get along to wonder why public figures with no real jobs and six-figure salaries need to diddle the taxpayer for housing and travel expenses.

Last week, the NDP showed Wallin's claims are tied to 2011 federal election campaign appearances. Her former viewers must be wondering, "Did she and does she have to stoop this low? And Senator Come-From-Away Mike Duffy? How come the same rules don't apply to them as to me?"

Canadians everywhere are asking these questions, sturggling to understand why six- figure fraudsters are not charged as criminals. And why the Senate continues.

Privilege, of course, is the word of the day as Justin Trudeau moves to the lead in the Liberal leadership. Recent news coverage disclosed a good deal about his elite life circumstances and also his current wealth.

Canadians learned, for instance that as MP for Papineauville, Trudeau repeatedly misses work in the House of Commons while on travel earning lucrative speaking fees. He racked up $277,000 in gigs since becoming an MP in 2008.

Although the Ethics Commissioner apparently cleared him for this kind of private work, there is no evidence the money went anywhere but into Trudeau's pocket.

While other MPs were sitting through boring House sessions and Committee work, going to events in their ridings, meeting people, getting involved, this putative Prime Minister and self-avowed son of privilege was out moonlighting.

Of course, Trudeau is not the only MP to ever take a speaking gig, but capitalizing on his name to make a buck while skipping work as often as he did is not good conduct for someone who would lead.

Trudeau's case — and the approval of the so-called ethics czar — show the standards of ethics and leadership have dropped rather low, apparently to Senate level.

About Ish Theilheimer

Ish Theilheimer is founder and president of Straight Goods News and has been Publisher of the leading, and oldest, independent Canadian online newsmagazine, StraightGoods.ca, since September 1999. He is also Managing Editor of PublicValues.ca. He lives wth his wife Kathy in Golden Lake, ON, in the Ottawa Valley.

eMail: ish@straightgoods.com

© Copyright 2013 Ish Theilheimer, All rights Reserved. Written For: StraightGoods.ca

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