Opinion

EDITORIAL: Misuse of funds warrants more than a shrug

It’s not just about Nigerian inheritance schemes, or people stealing credit cards or financial information.

Questionable activities touch each and every taxpayer whose hard-earned dollars are siphoned by politicians for unjustified “expenses.”

If we have learned anything from last year’s Senate expense scandals, and the recent revelations concerning former Alberta premier Alison Redford’s travel expenses, it’s that this is a problem that crosses all party lines and involves all political stripes.

A recent example being publication of details of the vacation expenses billed for NDP MLA Jenny Kwan's family to the Portland Hotel Society, a not-for-profit organization already under fire for its expenses record. Kwan's subsequent repayment of the sum was a reason for rejoicing on the right.

That jubilation has been tempered somewhat by the revelation, also this month, of travel expenses billed by B.C. legislature Speaker Linda Reid, a B.C. Liberal MLA, for her husband – so that he could join her on a trip to South Africa.

In addition to issuing a public apology, Reid has also repaid the sum in total.

Whatever the mitigating circumstances of each case, neither inspires confidence in our system.

Abusing public trust and dipping into public funds is, or should be, indefensible, no matter the spluttering rants of entrenched ideologues on the left or the right, who will always claim that whatever the other party did is worse.

Yet oddly, when it comes to political impropriety, our society long ago suspended any notion of justice or punishment that automatically applies to scammers in any other walk of life.

With politicians going on to reap the rewards of generous pensions, lucrative posts and valuable consultancies, it’s no wonder so many average Canadians shrug their shoulders and walk in the other direction when urged to exercise their democratic rights.

 

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

White Rock tradition continues with a new face at the table
 
Panto served up British-style at Surrey Arts Centre
 
RCMP seeks public help in solving arson
COLUMN: Turning garbage into innovation
 
COLUMN: We must take care of our seniors
 
COLUMN: Some advice to Kinder Morgan from the mushy middle
Maple Ridge Christmas parade draws a crowd
 
#UsedHelps: Connecting Business with Canadian Charities
 
Second Langley farm hit by avian flu

Community Events, December 2014

Add an Event


Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Dec 18 edition online now. Browse the archives.