Recipe for corruption

The Times and Trashscript is running a CP article today about Premier Lord’s large party salary:

The Tory party has come under fire from a national democracy watchdog group for the payment to both Lord ($60,000) and a $10,000 payment to Oromocto-Gagetown member of the legislature Jody Carr for his work in 2005 as caucus chair.

Ottawa-based Democracy Watch says the payments are a “recipe for corruption” because it raises the question of whether politicians are then beholden to party members.

I have to admit I never gave this a second thought before but now after reflection, there may be a point. To earn $60,000 directly from the party could be perceived as him doing things beyond his mandate as Premier. It’s a fine line but the Premier and the party are two different things.

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0 Responses to Recipe for corruption

  1. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think that’s true. It can be ‘called’ corruption, however, this is a long standing tradition. In Canada we elect Parties, we don’t elect Premiers. You can split hairs and say ‘well, I voted for X because I like him’, but that’s irrelevant. That’s just a coincidence that a guy you like is also a candidate, otherwise he would be running as an independant.

    People are fully free to vote an independant, but when you select a party, you ARE selecting a party. There is only one box to select, its not like the states where they can choose a different President from the local party.

    Does it make him beholden to his party? Of COURSE it does. Politicians are beholden to all kinds of people. Clearly if you look at New Brunswick he is FAR more beholden to the big money that put him in, since he is virtually guaranteeing that the party won’t be in power next election.

    The party is obvious as they also have to run to be leader of the party. We call it patronage, but if Democracy Watch is naive enough to think that patronage doesn’t exist, thats far more naive than most canadians are. If the party wasn’t paying them, they’d simply find another way to ‘pay the debt’.

    Now if the argument is patronage SHOULDN”T exist, thats different. But then it involves radically redesigning canada’s political system. Not that that is a bad thing, in my opinion.

  2. The Virginian says:

    At the end of the day it’s about compensation for work done. Which in the case of most provincial and municipal politians is way to low to entice anyone who is not financially independant to be interested in getting involved in politics. Federal MP pay is barely adequate.
    Remember the old adage:”When you pay peanuts you get monkeys.” Need I say more.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Almost $200 grand is peanuts?? Are you serious???? Plus a pension after TEN years!! I don’t mean to sound incredulous but have you LOOKED at the legislation that most levels of government pass? In New Brunswick they pass MAYBE ten to twelve pieces of legislation a year. The vast majority of time they aren’t even sitting.

    At the federal level last year the government passed only 21 pieces of legislation. Of that, five of them were simply riding name changes. Keep in mind at the two highest levels of government the vast majority of votes are ‘party votes’. In other words you vote as your party leader tells you to.

    Read reports from the Underground Commission, they actually interviewded MP’s and former MP’s. They said in many cases MP’s didn’t even know the legislation they were voting on!

    The idea that you need to pay big money for somebody to properly represent people is rubbish. In fact, I think we could do away with it entirely. NB passed twelve pieces of legislation, with electronic voting that’s one vote a month. People could do that EASILY.

    It would also be, oh, what’s that word, oh yes DEMOCRATIC. We could vote on specific issues instead of a party that has dozens of ‘agendas’, most of which people don’t agree with but vote for because the other party has become so crooked.

    Paying BIG money simply guarantees you get the WRONG person for the job-namely the ones who do it for the money. The last guy I’d vote for is the guy who shows up at my door and says “yes, it’ll cost you $300,000 for me to represent you. I know you only make around 30 grand old chap, but that’s supply and demand you know. Anyway, give me your vote and I’ll make all your decisions for you. Maybe even put you out of work eh? ha ha! I’m kidding! But yes, that’s what it’ll cost.”

  4. Anonymous says:

    It makes me wonder how the Premier’s salary got left out of last nights Teddy Awards….00000000PPPPS! wrong one.

    These Teddies.

    If you wnt to nominate Lord for his large salary, there is a monthly award.

    It is not too late people. Send it out: [email protected]

  5. David Campbell says:

    The CBC is digging quite deep on this Bernard Lord $75k salary from his party story. They checked and none of the other Premiers in Atlantic Canada takes a party salary; Shawn Graham doesn’t take a party salary and they went further to state that the law in place in New Brunswick remains controversial.

    The issue also generated controversy in Newfoundland in the late 1980s when former Liberal Leader Clyde Wells collected a salary from his party while serving as Leader of the Opposition. Wells continued the practice until he became premier in March 1989, giving up the money following criticism from the Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland.

    The practice is legal in New Brunswick only because the legislature adopted a controversial law following a scandal in 1980 to fix a problem that was engulfing former Conservative premier Richard Hatfield.

    Hatfield was caught receiving loans from the Conservative party during a fundraising scandal in the late-1970s, a practice ruled a conflict of interest with his duties as premier by Mr. Justice John Paul Barry.

    To fix the problem, Hatfield passed a law to make the payments legal. Barry resigned as the conflict commissioner in protest and Conservative Justice Minister Rod Logan was left to defend the widely criticized law.

    What surprises me about this whole story is the depth of investigative journalism. This blows me away. I’m used to Al Hogan over at the T&T either using CP stories or having his journalists transcribe government press releases. I have never – in 10 years – never seen that level of journalism in the local paper.


  6. Anonymous says:

    Yes, and I must say it makes me far less charitable to the CBC bashers out there. Without them we’d never hear about this or the NB Power thing. Without them,we’d never find out about this stuff, and what is that cost of THAT!