There was justifiable outrage when we learned of the extravagant expense account submissions by former governor general Adrienne Clarkson last week, and the former GG may have thrown gasoline onto the flames of discontent with her op-ed piece in the Globe and Mail, in which she defended her actions, essentially saying that she shouldn’t be condemned for doing what everyone else was doing.
And, if that defence sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same rationale that Mike Duffy used in his Senate expense scandal trial.
The case against Duffy was tossed out.
Every few years, we seem to choose a sacrificial lamb like Duffy or Clarkson and vilify them for abusing the public trust, while hundreds, if not thousands of their contemporaries do the exact same thing with no consequences.
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But, they’re not actually abusing the system, they’re simply taking advantage of a system that we’ve allowed them to create.
Lucrative pensions and extravagant benefit plans are the norm in Ottawa for elected officials and for those who they appoint to key positions.
I see nothing wrong with compensating those who step forward to offer themselves for public service, but lucrative, lifelong financial gratuities have created a culture of people who feel entitled to their entitlements, and that has to stop.