By most accounts, Nigel Wright is a standup guy. By most accounts, senator Mike Duffy is not.
When news of Wright's $90,000 “gift” to Duffy passed through the fan over the May long weekend, Wright (wealthy enough on his own account) resigned from his job as the prime minister's chief of staff.
Duffy, whom we are told could was too poor to wangle a $90,000 bank loan, despite having at least two residences and a base salary over $130,000 a year, keeps his job.
And the fan continues to churn, while the prime minister who appointed Duffy and defended him through a week of dubious explanations of bad judgement, unclear legal requirements of Duffy's job — and possible malfeasance — stands in the fan's exhaust.
If I were a B.C. resident, realizing that my children and their classmates at school were the only ones in the country whose mock election ballots did not match those of their parents, I'm not sure how I'd like it.
Goodness knows (and so does my family) that my lifelong attempts at raising a brood of rampant socialist ideologues hasn't quite worked out. But that's just me. Oh well, there's always the grandchildren.
But in British Columbia, politics has always been half-art, half-sport. (Alberta may have had a short spell of Bible Bill Aberhart, but B.C. can boast no less than Amor de Cosmos and Bill Vander Zalm as resident in their Hall of Fame).
As well, you'd kind of expect kids to experiment with rejecting their parents values by rejecting their politics in mock votes, taken while studying their provincial elections at school.
The opposition Wildrose Party has gotten itself worked up over the government's use of $350,000 for a glossy, eight-page information brochure, decked out in Tory Party colours, to be sent out to all the province's households. Orange and blue have been the official Alberta colours since, like, forever.
The Alberta NDP and Liberal parties are likewise put out that taxpayer dollars have been used to inform Albertans of its government's accomplishments. If a government wanted to inform people — in its own words, not those of an intermediary, like a reporter or columnist — of what it's doing, where else would the funding come from?
This vast amount of spending cost each taxpayer what? About 20 cents?
Wildrose leader Danielle Smith says that amount is more than the cost of building a safe house for abused women in Calgary. Really? Remodelling an existing building to be a shelter, perhaps, but to also actually run it? I sort of doubt that.
The federal government likes the idea of all small and medium businesses offering their employees a pension plan. They could pool the funds with many other businesses into a big, well-managed, low-cost general fund allowing more people a more secure retirement.
The C.D. Howe Institute says the feds like the idea because they crunched the numbers — and the numbers seem to favour the federal government.
Nationally, almost half of workers aged 55-64 are reported to have never saved anything at all for their retirement. No company plan, no RSP, no TFSA, nothing.
If that's really the case, millions of workers will be coming out of the full-time workforce over the next 20 years, with only their Canada Pension, plus the Old Age Security benefit and the Guaranteed Income Supplement to live on. That's a pretty modest income base for individuals, but a big total expense for government.
I agree with the people disappointed by some of the changes city council made to the bike lane pilot project — there hasn’t yet been one complete summer season upon which to judge the project’s merits, and major links along the route have now been removed.
But politics — especially civic politics — is the art of the possible. From my seat on the bike, I’d rather our pilot project with bike lanes ended with tangible successes than have the entire experiment condemned out of hand and abandoned, with not even one season of use to measure its value.
I’m writing now as president of the Red Deer Association for Bicycle Commuting and as a volunteer on the steering committee that came up with the suggested changes council adopted on Monday.
Everyone in council chambers on Monday agrees that the biggest disappointment in this whole process has been the way it evolved into a contest of wins and losses.