Tuesday, April 20, 2010

NL kicks corrupt political arse

What’s wrong with the following headline in Tuesday's Globe and Mail:

Auditor-General open to investigating House and Senate expenses in wake of British and Nova Scotia scandals

Technically, there’s nothing wrong with it.

But ask yourself this: how could a national newspaper not mention Newfoundland and Labrador in the same breath as scandal?

Sure, numerous Nova Scotia politicians have made inappropriate purchases under a secretive system of lax rules.


Sure four British lawmakers have pleaded not guilty in a scandal involving fraudulent expense claims by hundreds of politicians, and nine of Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s ministers have quit in disgrace.

In one case British taxpayers’ money was even spent to buy a moat.


But it’s Newfoundland and Labrador that takes the scandalous cake.

Four MHAs, representing all three political stripes, have been convicted in provincial court, as well as a high-ranking House of Assembly bureaucrat and a shady trinket peddler.

That’s SIX convictions.

More than Nova Scotia and the UK combined.

We kick their corrupt political arses.

To be fair, The Globe article did mention the NL spending scandal further down in the story.

Only it was too late then.
The Globe story says auditor-general Sheila Fraser would like to do a performance auditor of the House of Commons and Senate and the more than $500 million they spend each year, only Parliament won’t invite her in.

Fraser says she’s not the least bit suspicious that anything untoward is going on with political spending in the Commons, she just wants to be on the safe side.

More than $500 million is more than $500 million.

Let's face it — politicians and secret spending don't exactly go well together.

In Ottawa, the overall budgets of MPs’ offices — such as total amounts spent on telephones, printing or furniture — are released, according to The Globe article, but the public doesn't have access to individual receipts.

MPs have argued that they are already heavily audited and that bringing in the AG is unnecessary.

As a journalist who’s dug deep into the pits of local political scandal, light is always welcome.

Invite the AG to the dance.

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