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Pay hikes for everyone

By Walter Robinson
web posted June 18, 2001

As expected, after hiking their paycheques by 20 per cent and their future pensions by 42 per cent, MPs, led by the Liberal majority voted to shut down the commons on June 12th, some ten days the House was supposed to recess for the summer.

Never mind that important items such as criminal justice amendments to protect children from pedophiles and other bills have left to flounder until the fall, hey, MPs will soon have bigger bank accounts, so that just about does it for Ottawa's legislative schedule.

Now before we get too incensed about the MPs raises, it appears that Ottawa may once again become of "fat cat" city. Treasury Board documents reveal that 95 per cent of Ottawa's 3,200 senior mandarins received performance pay or bonuses last year.

Included in this group were senior managers at HRDC (billion dollar boondoggle fame), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) which has been the subject of scathing audits from the Auditor General, and the Canadian Human Rights Commission, beset by its own internal morale problems, where the top seven executives at the commission received bonuses.

How can this be? Well, like the MPs, the system is a walking conflict of interest. Senior public service executives assess the performance of their colleagues to determine who is entitled to performance pay or a bonus. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the old adage, "you scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours" has come into play.

In light of the summer season of sun, music and merriment, the CTF thought it only appropriate to characterize this past session of Parliament in a song.

Apologies to the twenty-something and under crowd but this tune is set to Peter, Paul and Mary's old classic "leavin' on a jet plane." But some may recall more recent version done by Chantal Kreviazuk for the Bruce Willis blockbuster film, Armageddon, a few years back. Sing along with us …

"Oh their bags are packed, they're ready to go,
They've voted themselves 20 per cent more dough,
Voters' calls of anger just went into the trash pile.
But the planes are leavin', the House is shut down,
They're going back to their hometowns,
You can bet MPs will lay low for a little while.

So pay them 131 K,
As they fritter our taxes away,
It's your hard-earned money but they don't seem to see.
That they're spending like sailors on leave,
And citizens can only grieve,
About corporate welfare and HRDC.

There's so many times they've let us down,
Lyin' about crosses burnin' in a BC town,
Or tellin' a vet you're not a grit so you don't rate.
Every question period is the same old fare,
Pure theatrics and cheap shots so voters just don't care,
And we still have no answers on Shawinigate.


Now the time has come to tell them all,
We won't put up with this nonsense come this fall,
It's time govern again and end their political games.
Jean and Stock and Joe should know,
We've tired of parliament as show,
You were elected to pursue our collective aims.


Walter Robinson is the Federal Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

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