Jeers: to fuzzy lines. Government MHA David Brazil says there’s nothing wrong with his involvement in signing cheques from a defunct hockey team to dispense literacy funding supplied by the same government where he sits as a member. OK, small towns are small towns — and, as he claims, Brazil may be dealing with the concerns of a disgruntled employee. But be that as it may, this kind of tangled-up situation, with all the attendant risks of conflict of interest and the variety of excuses involved, should be fully investigated by an impartial observer. The NDP called it odd, and the Liberals called for the province’s auditor-general to investigate the situation. They’re both right.
Cheers: to the right decision. Premier Kathy Dunderdale was absolutely right to distance herself — and her government — from comments made by Lake Melville MHA Keith Russell, who suggested that opponents to the Muskrat Falls project raising concerns about spiritual issues were spouting “mumbo-jumbo.” Russell apologized, although it took him a great deal longer to actually get around to forcing the words out. Since we’re on the topic, could there possibly be a moratorium on all sides of the Muskrat debate to stop shooting the messenger and start dealing with concerns as they get raised? The debate has become so stratified that the two sides don’t even listen to each other anymore and just start slagging. Deciding on the biggest investment this province has made in generations should come down to a little more than “You’re a jerk.” “Oh yeah? Sez you!”
Jeers: to sitting pretty. If you’re in the private sector, you probably don’t even have a registered company pension plan anymore. But if you do, for every dollar you put in, you might be lucky enough to have your employer match that dollar. Not so for members of the House of Commons: in 2010-2011, MPs contributed a whopping $4.5 million of their own money to support their pensions. In the same year, the Canadian taxpayer, according to research done by the CBC, coughed up $110.7 million. In other words, every time a parliamentarian put in a buck, the taxpayer turned around and put in $24.60 to make sure that politicians’ golden years are truly golden. Right now, the federal government is making a big deal about rolling back the date when MPs can take a pension — here’s an idea. Let’s let them live in the same kind of world as every other Canadian, and put in a minimum of 50 per cent of the funding.