Fed­er­a­tion on a fish­ing ex­pe­di­tion

Sackville Tribune - - FRONT PAGE -

e can see where grab­bing a lift on a helicopter was push­ing priv­i­lege to an ex­treme. Peter Mackay’s un­der the gun again, but this time the charge is pretty lame.

It makes one won­der, is this at­tack for the sake of at­tack?

The Cana­dian Tax­pay­ers Fed­er­a­tion is tak­ing the de­fence min­is­ter to task for the price of a ho­tel room when Mackay stayed in Mu­nich for a se­cu­rity con­fer­ence in Fe­bru­ary 2010.

The cost, as re­vealed in an ac­cess-toin­for­ma­tion re­quest, was $1,452 a night for two nights at the Ho­tel Bay­erischer Hof. Mem­bers of his staff had $276 rooms in an­other Mu­nich ho­tel.

What the fed­er­a­tion doesn’t men­tion, how­ever, is filled in by Mackay spokesman Jay Pax­ton. Hav­ing the min­is­ter in the same ho­tel as other heads of del­e­ga­tions is stan­dard.

Also, he stayed there at the re­quest of the Ger­man govern­ment. It’s about se­cu­rity.

It wasn’t much of a se­cret ei­ther: such ex­penses are posted online, and these de­tails were avail­able nearly two years ago.

The tax­pay­ers fed­er­a­tion said the story of the helicopter ride from the fish­ing lodge got them cu­ri­ous.

So, sud­denly Mackay is an easy tar­get. Or is this a con­certed ef­fort by some­one with an agenda?

Most of us don’t know Mu­nich ho­tel prices, fur­ther­more, and are more used to what we might shell out for a room in Halifax or Toronto. Doubt­less they’re gen­er­ally a lit­tle pricier in a clas­sic Euro­pean city.

The only ones who will take great glee in this are Mackay’s full-time de­trac­tors. Any­one look­ing at it ob­jec­tively will rec­og­nize the ex­ten­u­at­ing cir­cum­stances of the ho­tel bill.

Crit­ics might jus­ti­fi­ably tar­get the or­ga­niz­ers of the con­fer­ence and ask why they didn’t opt for the econo-lodge.

We do want to keep a sharp eye on politi­cians and other of­fi­cials to see that ex­penses borne by the pub­lic are rea­son­able. But it shouldn’t turn into a witch hunt. Also, when the facts aren’t quite right, or are in­com­plete, the pub­lic is a lot less likely to take them se­ri­ously.

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