"In Ottawa," Michael Den Tandt wrote last week, "money sloshes around like water in a tub." Things have gotten worse since Stephen Harper ditched Jean Chretien's modest attempt to provide some public funding for elections. Some defend the status quo; but voters are furious. They demand transparency:
Some will lament this heightened scrutiny, bordering on hostility, as the latest debasement of an already frayed relationship between democratically elected representatives, most of whom are sincere and work hard, and the polity. If all politicians are assumed to be liars, cheats and crooks, what good person will run for office? Would a young Bob Rae, Ed Broadbent or Preston Manning do so today given the soup of incivility, meanness, suspicion and stupidity that now comes with the job?
That's Wall Street's argument. If you want talent, you have to pay for it. But the pay is pretty good, even for the not so talented:
For many others, $160,200 is the most they’ve ever earned in a year, or ever will. The average salaried worker in Canada brings home under $50,000. The MP’s job itself is a privilege, rich with perquisites even with the slavering hordes of the media mouth-breathing in the background.
The Wall Street mentality has driven the Harper government. And now it is reaping what it has sown. Like the big banks, Harper Inc. has sold its integrity -- and squandered its credibility.