Federation on a fishing expedition
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.