While that may be good news for Dingwall, it is surely cold comfort for taxpayers to learn that living high on the hog is just another ho-hum day at the trough.
It is also beside the point.
The controversy surrounding Dingwall's bouts of fine wining-and-dining and European travel was never whether he broke the mint's spending rules.
The issue, unchanged by the audit, is the lack of judgment and the outrageous sense of entitlement that would compel a public servant to blow more than $700 on a dinner for two. Ditto for the now-infamous $1.29 pack of gum.
The issue isn't the money; it's what kind of person in a political patronage job and making close to $300,000 a year in pay and perks submits an expense claim for $1.29.
All of which brings us back to the one aspect of the Dingwall affair that is most causing taxpayers' blood to boil: Severance.
Andrew at BbG seemed distraught at the turn of events. I think perspective is in order.
You can't separate Chretienites and Martinites by their sense of entitlement - it's buried deep into the upper echelons of the Liberal party. This is the bigger issue and why Canadians were and are upset.
Angry in the Great White North draws attention to an Ottawa MPs questions in the House:
Mr. Pierre Poilievre (Nepean-Carleton, CPC): Mr. Speaker, Frank Brazeau, the secretary of a local Liberal association and a public servant, used his influence to secure $1 million in contracts for the Liberal member of Parliament for Pontiac. The KPMG auditing firm has found irregularities in contracts totalling $15 million also given by Mr. Brazeau.
Will the Prime Minister release KPMG's report now? Otherwise, what is he trying to hide?
A Liberal riding secretary used his influence to direct almost $1 million in contracts to a Liberal member of Parliament. Both men are close friends and ardent loyalists of the current Prime Minister and both have been lavishly rewarded for it. A KPMG report found that more than $15 million saw irregularities in the way it was handed out in the form of contracts.
Why will the Prime Minister not immediately release this KPMG audit so that taxpayers can know just how much he has been rewarding his Liberal friends?
Does Scott Reid, Martin's spokesman who wrote the PM's speech have to pay royalties to Paul Wells for the schoolyard shtick?
Hon. Ed Broadbent (Ottawa Centre, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the
Minister for Democratic Renewal.
The head of the Public Service Commission revealed yesterday that 35 former Liberal staffers have received preferred, non-competitive access to well paying public sector jobs.
This continuation of cronyism undermines competitiveness and objectivity in the public service. It is not allowed in Britain. It should not be allowed in Canada. What is the minister doing to put an end to this undemocratic practice?
Hon. John McCallum (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the first thing I would say is that this policy has existed since 1967 with royal assent of the Public Service Employment Act. Section 39 of the Public Service Employment Act provides certain persons working in ministers' offices with a limited entitlement to be appointed without competition to positions in the public service for which they are
This is a practice which has existed since 1967 and applies to a very limited number of people, who must be qualified.
Did you see the answer? They are quite happy with the current practice.
(Hat-tip to AGWN)
According to the government's little-known guidelines, employees who work for cabinet ministers and ministers of state are eligible for rich departing rewards that come close to a full year's pay.
A chief of staff who has worked on Parliament Hill for 10 years and draws an annual salary of up to $155,600 could collect a cool $137,000, while a communications director is eligible for a sweet $100,000 for voluntarily pursuing job prospects outside government.
"Employees have a right to severance pay when they end their services voluntarily, are dismissed, die or are laid off owing to lack of work or discontinuance of a function," reads the Treasury Board policy.
"Severance pay stays the same, whatever the circumstances of termination, that is the amounts will be the same for resignation, death, dismissal, layoff and
Severance is calculated at two weeks' pay per year of service, with no ceiling on the number of weeks to be paid. Departing staffers are also eligible for an dditional "separation payment" up to six months' pay at the minister's "discretion."
Lise Jolicoeur, spokeswoman for Treasury Board President Reg Alcock, said the policy is designed primarily for those who lose their jobs due to electoral defeat or
cabinet shuffle. But there is also flexibility to reward loyal staffers for years of hard work, she said.
"As a staffer in the minister's office, you give more than the deemed 37.5 hours which is stipulated in the guidelines, so I guess it's a sort of compensation for the time that you have worked on the Hill and the extra time that you've put in."
Tory MP John Williams called it "a form of legitimized corruption" and noted that there's no other organization in Canada where employers generously reward their "friends" when they quit their jobs.
Or - is the Toronto paper under the thumb of the federal Liberals who again seek to distance themselves from the embarrassment that is the McSquinty government?
You might want to check out battleofontario.blogspot.com. The Sens are 3-0. The Leafs 0-3. I'm guessing after tomorrows games it'll be 4-0 (we'll hand the Habs their first loss) and 0-4 (has Toronto ever beaten Philly?).
UPDATE: The weatherman scared me and my friend away from the roof so I'm here. Naturally, I added a post to the Battle of Ontario blog showing the current standings. The poor Leafs.
I gave up a stud in Thornton - yeah, Joe Thornton - for Patrick Marleau and Alexei Kovalev. I think these two are going to have big years and will give me the depth I need in this pool.
I guess we just have to keep plugging away at this one until someone actually pays attention!
[David Dingwall] calls on cell later - says he told Martin to fuck off and that he knew that Martin had illegally fed contracts to Earnscliffe.
HELLO, ANYONE OUT THERE??
It's just very funny.
If you wanted to know my opinion on the issue - I agree with this guy.
So far Sean has put up some hilarious strips on Harper/Ontario voters, racial profiling, and Paul Martin and the Catholic church.
“…he knew that Martin had illegally fed contracts to Earnscliffe”
The following are notes that Warren Kinsella wrote down about the Earnscliffe/Martin affair in the mid nineties. He presented these notes to the Public Accounts committee last spring.
Nov. 20 - HOME - Carle calls in a.m. Martin went to see Pelletier to say I leaked cottage story to Mike Duffy. Never spoken to Duffy in my life! DCD said that was enough for him. Send him memo (Martine [Menard], [Bruce] Young help) on when we had been informing Herle and Earnscliffe [about allegations for their response]…DCD [David Dingwall] calls on cell later - says he told Martin to fuck off and that he knew that Martin had illegally fed contracts to Earnscliffe. Pelletier there too. YAHOO!Emphasis added
Could this be why Paul Martin is so insistent that David Dingwall receive his half a million dollar severance when there is no legal requirement to do so?
If you have a second, watch the video that Stephen Taylor put together - especially the scrum after question period when the reporters are asking McCallum what law he's talking about and he starts mumbling that he's not a lawyer, and that Canada has inherited British Common Law, blah, blah, blah....
Remember this the next time someone goes on at length about the value of the CBC to the country:
The CBC and the union representing locked out workers were hammering out details of a plan Monday to get workers back on the job starting this week, and observers say the looming spectre of Saturday's Hockey Night in Canada broadcast has added increased urgency to the talks.
The two sides met briefly with federal Labour Minister Joe Fontana early Monday for a brief congratulatory meeting after an agreement in principle was struck to resolve the seven-week lockout.
They then returned to meetings aimed at agreeing on a timetable to get workers back on the job.
Details on that process were expected later in the day, with a phased-in approach to bringing people back the likeliest scenario.
CBC spokesman Jason MacDonald said the broadcaster is hopeful things may start to return to normal within days.
"We want people coming back this week and programming returning to normal this week and things fully back to normal as soon as possible," he said.
Speculation has been rife that CBC wanted to resolve the dispute before the start of the hockey season, which kicks off Wednesday and sees its first Hockey Night in Canada broadcast scheduled for Saturday.
Mr. MacDonald said that, regardless of the timeline agreed upon in Monday's meeting, hockey will be on the air this weekend.
"Everybody wants Hockey Night in Canada back," Mr. MacDonald said.
"One way or another we will have hockey Saturday night. What it looks like will depend on how quickly we can get people back and all of that."
A government source, however, told globeandmail.com that the looming spectre of hockey's return added an extra measure of urgency to Monday's back-to-work discussions, with both sides eager for the show to go on as usual.
"There's some urgency to ensure everything's ready for Hockey Night in Canada," one source told globeandmail.com.
Yes - I love Hockey Night in Canada. The fact that it's the ONLY reason the CBC is back on is ridiculous.
How much do we subsidize the CBC? 900 million a year?
Meet the characters. I love Sean's humour - this will definitely be a must-read.