Recently, a scandal involving the moving expenses of two of Prime Minister Trudeau's most trusted inner circle surfaced. It turns out that it cost taxpayers $200,000 to move these two staffers 500 kilometers up the 401.
This has been a common trend with the Liberal party, from the $25-million dollar pay and budget increase, to the $6,600-photography bill, to the $1,700-a-day Lexus rental. It reminds me of when I helped former deputy speaker Joe Comartin move out of his apartment in Ottawa.
Having served for over a decade, Joe informed the Canadian people and his constituents that he would not be running for re-election in 2015. Just shortly before the election he was honestly distraught over trying to find the cheapest method of transporting his belongings back to Windsor.
He refused to allow the taxpayer to foot a bill that exceeded common sense.
The two of us managed to drive the eight hours from Windsor to Ottawa, pack his office and apartment, rent a U-Haul and drive back to Windsor in just 48 hours. The grand total, he told me, was about $3,500.
The U-Haul and his minivan were packed full and I can tell you I was exhausted at the move's conclusion. Joe was 68 at the time and lifted couches, mattresses and everything in between. He was up and down elevators, finding more boxes and driving 16 hours after being up until 2 a.m. packing breakables and mementos.
I slept on the couch, we ate fast food and Joe donated many of his belongings to charitable organizations. Not one moment of those two days felt like a life of luxury -- Joe would not allow it. He refused to allow the taxpayer to foot a bill that exceeded common sense.
NDP MP Joe Comartin stands during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, November 29, 2011. (Photo: The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)
As much as it is responsible to save the taxpayer, it is also the little people that are usually affected by those that take advantage of being in a position of power. If you recall it was current Liberal MP Andrew Leslie that charged the taxpayers $72,000 for a move within Ottawa. After his gross manipulation of reality, the military cracked down on other moving bills. When the little guys started to feel the pinch, they paid the price to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.
The millionaire prime minister and his one-percenter lackeys could care less about the future government employees that will have to navigate miles of (fittingly) red tape because of their bourgeois sense of entitlement.
We put ourselves through that needlessly, but at the end of the day we knew we did not fleece the taxpayer.
The new policies that will be implemented will now make it more difficult for government employees transferring across the nation. From coast to coast to coast, Canadians uprooting their lives and moving to another part of this country will now have another thing to worry about.
I remember driving back to Windsor -- hitting Toronto at rush hour, sitting there idling in Joe's van, two days of growth on my face. I remember wearing track pants and a hooded sweatshirt, listening to whatever radio station I could find, stopping at an Onroute and getting A&W. I remember getting home after midnight because we detoured in Cambridge to drop some of things off at Joe's daughter's place. And I remember getting home and falling asleep almost immediately.
We put ourselves through that needlessly, but at the end of the day we knew we did not fleece the taxpayer. Integrity is a hard trait to master, many try and fail. What makes it all that much more difficult is when a past history of corruption and deceit hinders the path.
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