Whose interests really matter?


It seems asNovel New if politicians, generally speaking, are looking out for their personal interests, first and foremost. Perception or reality, that’s just the way it seems.
I don’t know if this one went over your head, but not mine. As bad, too negative, too depressing, however you describe the news, I for one make a point of listening/watching/reading it everyday, just because I’m alive and want to know what’s going on here, there and everywhere.
So when a news story broke about a week ago, it only helped to reinforce my political cynicism. And I’m sure everyone who heard, read, and watched it felt the same way.
[Then there’s that constituency that has gone beyond cynicism and resigned themselves to the inevitable wiles, whims and inherent dishonesty of politics and the practitioners. They just assume a “that’s-the-way-things-are-what-can-I-do attitude.” And couldn’t be bothered.]
Cut to the chase, you say?
That story ran… more like walked, just for one day; it had short legs in the news cycle.
But I bet it was another embarrassing revelation, not just for past recipients of taxpayers’ largesse, but also for the current government. The party in power will inevitably be the object of public scorn when we learn of such goings-on, and rightly so.
I don’t know if this story could be described as a scandal; the established political system in place clearly makes allowances for this sort of practice, and if it weren’t legal, all those former premiers (and other politicians who have received goodies courtesy of taxpayers’ exactions) wouldn’t be feeding at that financial trough sustained by us.
The problem, though, is the optics of this system in place which, I believe, someone influential person was able to kill in one day; in the long-term it might’ve caused some embarrassment not only to current politicians, but also to the party in power, in this case the Liberals. Voters have long memories.
Would it be fair to say that the “powers that be” in certain areas – through some manipulating, arm-twisting and maybe some threatening – had the story killed? Who knows? Giving the story legs (about that $200,000 taxpayers’ gift to outgoing premiers) might’ve opened a Pandora’s box of political financial shenanigans politicians representing the various parties are privy too.
But as the old saying goes, “What you don’t know won’t hurt you.”
Right now, though, I believe people who caught that news item about taxpayers’ money being given to outgoing premiers for services rendered [to us] the hard-done by electorate are feeling angry.
Here we are In an extended period of austerity, resulting in all sorts of government cutbacks to myriad services and programs, and discontinuing of others… then comes news that a premier who served 18 months received a big gift, courtesy of the electorate of all political affiliations.
All that that short-lived news story did was nourish my belief that most politicians in the game (those who have been elected or failed to get elected) took their shot for one underlying reason: to be close to the money. Government is the biggest business in any nation and taxpayers’ money is the sustenance.
It’s kinda like all those billions of dollars that have been given to say… Bombardier, which on many occasions over the years have received taxpayers’ dollars ostensibly to produce new products and create jobs, then shortly after concoct specious reasons to lay off hundreds… until the next time such companies come up with new idea and seduce the government into another billion-dollar handout.
All that said, if that money given to our former premiers have you pulling out your hair because you’re so damn angry don’t worry, our current premier is going to do something about it – but only because it went public.
Here’s one headline, Couillard to Review allowance for Former Premiers. The story begins, “The Couillard Liberals are planning to reduce a $200,000 per-year allowance given to ex-premiers for three years after they leave office…”
If the Premier thinks that’s consolation to appease taxpayers he should call a referendum.
Why does ex-premier Pauline Marois (apparently a very wealthy person), as well as her predecessors need a $200,000 allowance?
Which got me thinking, did I ever receive an allowance? I’m thinking…
Meanwhile, another headline reads, Severance Pay for Former Premiers Under Scrutiny.
And I’m still thinking about scrutiny and allowances. I can recall receiving money for myriad reasons – cutting grass, painting, cleaning up garbage… but to borrow and old RocknRoll lyric, I can’t recall getting “money for nothing…”
Politicians and the political game; it’s like the lottery, you raise and pay money to enter the game (buy a ticket), and if in either scenario you get lucky you’re on your way. For politicians, the longer they stay in the game, and if they get a position/a portfolio, the more money you have access to.
Get this one, another former Liberal premier who walked away from the political game has so far “billed the province for about $350,000 dollars since he left office,” according to an on-line article.
So why are ex-premiers treated so generously, we all want to know?
Another on-line story provides this answer. “The money is supplied with the intention of helping any ex-premier get re-established in a new vocation, since technically they become unemployed. How the money is used is up to the discretion of the recipient, but is allocated for things like office rental, furniture purchases for a new office and or anything else that the individual may need to re-establish a career.”
There, satisfied?
And why aren’t regular people, taxpayers, who work so damn hard… harder than politicians, and who unfortunately lose [our] jobs for whatever reasons, not treated so generously, even by Employment Insurance which we pay into, just in case?
In the final analysis, and with a few exceptions, it’s about them and their interests first and foremost. Ours – if they are ever on the agenda at all – are always secondary, can wait.
I tell you, stories like this one are the reasons why many people hold politicians in such low regard.