Thank God we don’t have the arrogant Natural Governing Party(TM) in power anymore, huh?
…Remember when Stephen Harper promised to replace a culture of entitlement with a culture of accountability? No? Apparently, neither does he.
The presence of Conservative Party logos on a big $300,000 cheque handed over by Nova Scotia MP Gerald Keddy was the most egregious example of the governing party trying to sucker voters. Mr. Keddy even claimed not to have noticed a logo the size of a hockey puck on the front of the novelty cheque.
But there were a rash of variations on this dubious theme – for example, Ontario MP Scott Reid handed over a ceremonial cheque for $556,000 for an infrastructure project in his riding. In the top left hand corner, where you might expect a Government of Canada logo, was Mr. Reid’s name and riding. Mr. Reid’s family owns the Giant Tiger discount stores, so perhaps the cheque was a generous personal donation. If, on the other hand, Mr. Reid was trying to piggy-back a half-million dollar investment of our money for partisan advantage, then he was transcending Treasury Board rules on government spending to the point of dispensing with them altogether. For the record, the guidelines say government should “inform the public about policies, programs, services and initiatives in an accountable, non-partisan fashion that is consistent with the principles of Canadian parliamentary democracy and ministerial responsibility.”
The Conservatives have been testing the limits of acceptability with their big cheques for some time. Earlier this year, Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan brought the bacon home to his riding in Ontario, in the form of two oversized blue cheques emblazoned with the maple leaf logo of the Government of Canada and an inscribed line: Delivering change for the better.
Mr. Keddy’s photo opportunity – along with another from B.C. Conservative Colin Mayes, that actually featured his face on the cheque – has pushed the flight envelope on entitlement still further.