ere’s a limit to what should be al­lowed

Truro Daily News - - COLCHESTER COUNTY - Rob Maclel­lan Rob Maclel­lan is an ad­vo­cate for ed­u­ca­tion and non-pro t or­ga­ni­za­tions. He can be reached at 902-305-0311 or at rob@nsnon­prot­con­sult­

Jeez, I wish I had known that I could sub­mit ex­pense claims to for­mer em­ploy­ers for on­go­ing ex­penses af­ter my con­tracted role has ended.

Oh, wait, that priv­i­lege only seems to be ex­tended to our for­mer gov­er­nors gen­eral.

Who else was to­tally amazed and dis­gusted as the rev­e­la­tion re­cently emerged that those es­teemed folks who pre­vi­ously served in Canada’s vice-re­gal role are still billing the fed­eral gov­ern­ment for some of their on­go­ing ex­penses?

It might be just me, but I al­ways thought that once your em­ploy­ment ended with a par­tic­u­lar em­ployer, so did your claims on any mon­e­tary re­sources that com­pany, or em­ployer might still hold. Again, I might be mis­taken, but it seems to me we only have one gov­er­nor gen­eral serv­ing at any one time.

As has been re­ported in re­cent news ar­ti­cles, the big­gest o en­der in sub­mit­ting ex­pense claims has been Adri­enne Clark­son who served in the vice-re­gal role from 1999 to 2005, and whose an­nual billings to the Cana­dian tax­pay- ers have now ex­ceeded $1 mil­lion.

In re­sponse, Clark­son is­sued a state­ment say­ing even though her of­fi­cial po­si­tion ended in 2005, she con­tin­ues to serve Cana­di­ans and is per­mit­ted to sub­mit ex­penses to the gov­ern­ment through a sup­port pol­icy es­tab­lished in 1979 for for­mer gov­er­nors gen­eral at the be­gin­ning of Ed Schreyer’s term in the role.

She says through her var­i­ous writ­ings, speeches and pa­tron­ages she is still serv­ing Cana­di­ans, and plans to do so un­til she dies.

Hello! Your term job ended, and you no longer have an o cial role!

While many Cana­di­ans are at­tracted to celebrity and re­quests to the hold­ers of for­mer o ce might con­tinue to pour in once their con­tracted role has ended, the for­mer em­ployer should not be on the hook for these ex­penses. is is bene t to the in­di­vid­ual, which is a bonus to hav­ing served in the role.

I say feel free to cap­i­tal­ize on your for­mer role, but do not pre­tend you’re still serv­ing Cana­di­ans be­yond the point where any­one who vol­un­teers for a great cause is also serv­ing.

is is re­ally not about pick­ing on Clark­son, although she had the high­est ex­penses of any sit­ting gov­er­nor gen­eral; quite a scan­dal at the time, if you’ll re­call.

It has also re­cently been re­vealed Clark­son’s al­most six years in o ce have earned her an an­nual pen­sion of $143,000 per year un­til she dies. If Clark­son is re­ally serv­ing any­one other than her­self, then I say let her dip into this out­ra­geous pen­sion amount for the ex­penses of her ac­tiv­i­ties.

Keep in mind the po­si­tion of gov­er­nor gen­eral is not an elected one. Cana­di­ans do not go to the polls to choose who they feel is the best can­di­date for the job. It falls to the sit­ting Prime Min­is­ter of Canada to ap­point a new gov­er­nor gen­eral when the term of the cur­rent gov­er­nor gen­eral is set to end.

Con­trast the perks of ex­it­ing gov­er­nors gen­eral with ex­it­ing prime min­is­ters who are ac­tu­ally elected by the peo­ple. If prime min­is­ters have served the req­ui­site num­ber of years in the House, they do get a very gen­er­ous pen­sion once they are out of o ce, but un­like the gov­er­nors gen­eral, they get no on­go­ing ex­penses. ey are free to join a speak­ers’ cir­cuit and they have been known to re­ceive fees in the $20,000 to $50,000 range for speak­ing en­gage­ments. is is fair. If Cana­di­ans want to hear them speak, they can pony up the cash to lis­ten to them.

We can’t point the nger at the cur­rent gov­ern­ment for the egre­gious per­mis­sive­ness of fund­ing the ex­penses of for­mer gov­er­nors gen­eral, as the prac­tice has been go­ing on for more than40 years, but I do put it to the cur­rent gov­ern­ment to end this prac­tice.

It is time.

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