Cheers: to your tax dollars at work. In debate on May 23, Senator Elaine McCoy answers the simple question that has so stumped Senator Mike Duffy when it comes to claiming housing expenses: where your primary residence is. “Honourable senators, you know that is where it is because your family dog, your photographs from your family history and your grandparents’ pictures are all there. You know where your primary residence is. This is not necessarily rocket science.”
Jeers: to missing pieces. Lost in the shuffle in all the problems in the Senate is a simple one about why senators’ residences are important. Senators are supposed to represent the provinces from which they are appointed; they are supposed to live in that province so that they can be aware of the issues that are important to the residents they represent. A P.E.I. senator who lives full-time in Ottawa — or a Saskatchewan senator who does the same — hardly has the same feel for what issues are important in their home province. If the prime minister feels the need to appoint an Ottawa broadcaster to the Senate, surely there are enough Ontario seats to find that broadcaster a home. Of course, that would mean delaying the appointment of the next member of the prime minister’s staff or party bagman to the Upper Chamber for a while …
Jeers: to taking far, far too long to take yet another step in the seemingly endless process of compensating victims of abuse at the Mount Cashel Orphanage. Thursday’s announcement that a now-bankrupt Christian Brothers’ organization will settle with a further 160 abuse victims is good news — what’s not so good is the incredibly long time it has taken for these cases to wend their way through the legal process, and the fact that the order has managed to separate itself from other potential sources of compensation for the victims. It’s begun to look like a process that will never end.
Jeers: to hasty plans. So, the last provincial budget announced that adult basic education (ABE) courses would be scrapped from the provincial college system, with the plan being that the private sector would pick up the slack. Friday, more than a month after the budget, the provincial government actually tendered for the service, stipulating that private ABE trainers would not only have to have their programs queued up by Aug. 1, but that by the time the tenders come in — two weeks from now — prospective bidders should have not only the names of their instructors but their full credentials as well. So, it took 30 days to draw up the tender, but you only get 14 days to satisfy all the necessary conditions — and bidders can bid on any one of 13 sites, saying what the cost will be per student, with no guarantees of how many students they’ll actually get. This will be a very interesting tender opening indeed.