Last month, CBC ran a story about Premier Lord receiving the largest salary among Canada’s premiers mainly because of the very large chunk of money paid by the PC party. The local newspaper editor claimed this was great because it didn’t cost taxpayers. Of course, it was pointed out that PM Harper will be banning this kind of payment and in fact it is banned in most provinces.
Now, Frank Branch is getting a free trip to Ottawa – paid for by the taxpayer – for no reason. They are not even trying to make up a reason. According to the Daily Gleaner:
That raises the question of exactly what Branch will do while in Montreal.”You’ll have to ask him,” Lord said after a long pause.
So, the typical government employee needs a valid reason to submit a $20 expense claim and an MLA can take a trip to Montreal for no apparent reason.
I know for some this is just fun. For journalists to poke and prod. For bloggers to complain but I can’t help thinking about what went wrong.
Taxpayers expect their money to be spent appropriately – not even necessarily wisely or even prudently – but at the very least to be spent on government business. To buy off Frank Branch with a free trip to Ottawa is not government business it is PC Party business (i.e. staying in power).
The PC Party should foot the bill for all of Frank Branch’s costs and the auditor general should begin an investigation as to the appropriateness of this whole affair.
But they won’t.
Because this is New Brunswick.