|you lose, old man. [source]|
but i know that's not really true and the fact is that our guys are just as good at corrupt and evil [and probably just as good at dumb], they just don't get the same sort of attention because they aren't playing with the same amount of money and global power. but the money they're playing with is mine [at least partially], so i do tend to pay attention when they start doing things like spending it on bailing out friends who've had to pay back money they claimed illegally as a tax expense.
the idea of politicians deciding to stick the rest of us with $90k in bills to campaign for a party who are busy telling canadians that they have to stop relying on public funds for anything is pretty repulsive. at the same time, it wasn't that surprising. nor was it surprising that it wasn't an isolated case [i must repeat]. and no, "leaving the conservative caucus" doesn't mean either one of harper's hand puppets [don't get a mental image] has stopped sucking at the public teat. they're still senators, appointed for life, or at least until the age of 75, at which point they get to enjoy a retirement pension that is higher than the majority of canadians make in a year.
as the rush to fall on harper's sword [again, mental image] continues, it's worth considering that the man who defended pamela wallin's expenses as being about the same as any other politician [that's supposed to make me feel better???] was once a member of a party whose platform included a lot of talk about something called the "triple e senate".
the idea was that canada should have a senate a little more like the one in australia or, let's face it, the united states, where rather than just being a dumping ground for party hacks who rubber-stamped legislation passed by the lower house, men and women had to actually be elected and participate in the legislative process in order to justify their six figure salary.
the idea gained some favour in the west where, if you look into the history of canada, provinces were brought into the national fold basically as second-class citizens, exploited by the wealthier industrial provinces to the east for their considerable natural resources. the idea went over like a lead balloon in quebec, because of the "equal" part- meaning that every province would have the same number of senators [as opposed to the house of commons which, like the house of congress to the south, would be distributed by population]. it might sound reasonable to say that every province should have the same number of senators, but it would effectively end the idea that canada is a bilingual, bi-cultural country, because all of a sudden one of the "founding cultures" would be vastly outnumbered and would be placed on the same senatorial footing as a province that had 1% of the population. and a bunch of provinces that have been historically resistant to any attempts to define quebec as distinctive in any way.
aside from that, there are the obvious issues with the fact that the people who were already living here when the country was "found" would have no representation whatsoever in said senate unless they descended and took over a province. to say nothing of the complication that canada also has three territories in the north, which are not provinces, but who would probably like to have a voice at the national table and... all this to say that opening a discussion about any kind of constitutional change in canada is sort of like trying to show your friends how good you are at lighting your farts while standing next to a bucket of plutonium and tnt. in the end, no one will remember your blue angels.
whatever the issues with a "triple e senate", however, i find it really difficult to stomach tens of thousands of dollars in "expenses" being forked over to a bunch of people i didn't elect [and never liked when i had to put up with their self-satisfied mugs on my television set] by a party who came into being promising to reform said house of ill-repute.
then again, that was the same party that said that canada was being railroaded by the left-wing liberal media, including mike duffy and pamela wallin.
i'd like to be able to drown my sorrows at stephen harper's expense, but i have a feeling he'd find a way to make me pay for my drinks. and his.