The Federal Liberals just can’t seem to catch a break, these days.
Even as Paul Martin circled the Lower Mainland this week dropping a crime announcement in Surrey and shoring up nervous candidates in Vancouver, news came from Ottawa of the newest twist in the Scott Reid debacle. This is being reported all over blog-land but hasn't made it into national media.
Remember Scott Reid? He is the Paul Martin Senior Advisor who famously and contemptuously retorted that if the Conservatives were to give back to Canadian parents some of their hard-earned money for child-care, that they’d go and blow it on beer and popcorn.
Beer and popcorn? Who the heck eats popcorn with their beer? Maybe it’s a Liberal thing.
This newest Entitlement Scam from the Ottawa Liberals stars Scott Reid’s expense account. If you thought disgraced former Cabinet Minister David Dingwall’s pack of gum was hard to swallow, wait until you hear this one.
On the Privy Council website, enterprising Canadians can find out how much each staff member spends on travel and hospitality expenses – all paid for by you and me. Presumably, each expense is incurred as a result of actual time on the job. We all understand the need to occasionally meet clients or associates after hours.
Except that for Scott Reid, there are 38 entries between January 1 and May 28th. And a surprising number of these occurred at, well, pubs.
And, because I know you are thinking it, I’m going to say it. They don’t sell a lot of popcorn in bars near Parliament Hill.
The expenses range from silly - $4.97 for “refreshments for meeting” to the sublime: a New Year’s Day dinner “meeting” at famous politico watering hole, Darcy McGee’s.
Darcy McGee’s, an old-style Irish Pub, is named after a fiery Father of Confederation and can be found one block south of Parliament Hill. It’s just the place for a cozy statutory holiday dinner with unnamed, but clearly hard-working, “Government of Canada employees”.
But the very, very worst expense in the whole sordid lot?
You may remember May 19th as an interesting day in Canadian politics. Belinda Stronach, the auto-parts heiress and former Conservative leadership candidate, crossed the floor to the governing Liberals at a press-conference featuring a glowing Paul Martin. That night, the national media reported a blow-out party at an Ottawa bar called Suite 34. The event provided gaping spectators a view of Stronach and her new team dancing on speakers to the sound of Madonna’s “Material Girl”.
And, our favouite beer and popcorn staffer? Yep – he just happened to expense a very important “dinner meeting to discuss media briefing” that very night at that very bar. What a coincidence.
Do you ever wonder why you pay so much tax for so little return? Wonder how many knee-surgery spots could be funded if Paul Martin’s staff paid for their own victory drinks?
Ask your local Liberal candidate. But don’t be surprised if they blame it on the Conservatives.
(As seen today in 24 Hours Daily)