(SNN) - When I finally left home in my late teenage years, I moved to a completely different world, along with a bunch of other teens that were equally as lost as me. Our Supervisor had seen this for many years, and was ready for this invasion of ineptitude by supplying us all with a book of rules, regulations, job duties and general ‘do’s and don’ts’.
“Read it.”, was his stern command. “Not to know is not an excuse.”
A simple rule,really – so simple that the whole bunch of us read, learned, and didn’t screw up, unless alcohol was involved. Recently I have been reminded of this simple guideline, and wonder why ‘the powers that be’ can’t do things that a bunch of working class British teens could.
Senator Mike Duffy didn’t know what he could and could not spend tax payer money on. This is not tough to keep track of, surely. Isn’t there a brochure somewhere that first time Senators receive along with their robes and coatroom hook, that outlines how to spend their ‘allowance’? It would make sense to me that if you are travelling to a part of the country that you are representing, and have some kind of proof that what you were doing was Senate-related, you could turn that in as an expense. If you can’t prove that you weren’t, say, doing laundry at that address, or nipping down to the store for a head of lettuce, there seems to be a non-work aspect to that trip. As you can’t live in two homes at the same time, surely only one of them at a time can be put against your expenses – probably the one in the Province that you are representing. Apparently, he didn’t know the rules. I’d be amazed if he knew where PEI actually was. He probably only got there by accidentally falling asleep on a flight to somewhere else, once, and being woken up by the cabin crew: “Sir, we aren’t going any further, perhaps you would like to disembark?”
Our Prime Minister is similarly factually-challenged. Here’s a guy that wields so much control over the entire Conservative party, he could tell you which coloured socks his entire back-bench had put on that morning, but didn’t know that his own Chief of Staff had chipped off almost $100K to give to Senator Duffy, because Mike was: “Having a cash-flow problem at the moment.” He had no idea that Nigel Wright had a little black book in the office next to him? He had never wandered in one day, and saw his closest political ally and fixer, putting 20’s into a brown envelope, and crossing amounts off a list next to a column of Senator’s names? Nope – he simply never knew. There goes complete control.
Wright, likewise, didn’t know that donating your own personal funds to someone with no strings attached wouldn’t raise some eyebrows, should the word get out? This is a guy that used to acquire and manage companies and, presumably, read a newspaper occasionally. And the guy he ‘lent’ the cash to, was a political reporter on TV at one time! Neither of them knew that this could become a problem?
Talking of big business, if you have shares in SNC Lavelin, I would show up to the next AGM, if I were you. Apparently there is a department within Canada’s largest Industrial and Construction company whose sole purpose is to bribe Third World civil servants. I’ve checked their website, and that department is not on the list of employees, I guarantee it. It must have massive power, though, because it has the ability to hire African despot’s family members as Vice Presidents. Trust me - if a Gadhafi moved into my city, I like to think that I would know about it, but not so at SNC. When asked how senior corporate officials felt about that empty office in their midst that was being decorated in Saharan beige, had carpets hanging off the walls, and pictures of camels and notorious mass murderers on the desk they didn’t know. When asked what the conversation would be like now that there was a Libyan joining the line up to the executive washroom, it came as a shock to them.
Perhaps it’s time to break out my old Supervisor’s booklet for these people. These are pillars of our community, law makers, International Corporate titans, and they don’t appear to have a clue about what to do, and what to avoid: Much like the Mayor of Toronto, his in-transit phone calls, and crack pipe photo ops. He doesn’t even know how to do his job, apparently. The biggest question is, of course, who let these people get to these exalted positions in our society. Believe me when I say; “I don’t know.”
Steve James is an Actor, Stand up, and Comedy writer in Vancouver BC. He doesn’t know how the BC Liberal Party was re-elected.
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