The Shotgun Blog
Monday, February 21, 2005
Out Elitist Infrastructure Needs Upgrades
I was watching a commercial for a local television station (sorry I can't remember which one) and they were talking about plans to upgrade the Ottawa International Airport. You wouldn't be amiss to wonder why a newly built airport would require upgrades.
So what is the problem with the new airport? Well it seems that our ruling elite are sick of standing next to the great unwashed masses.
Plans are to build a new terminal to service government officials coming and going in those swanky new Challenger jets the government so badly needed. The terminal would include a first class lounge and all the amenities our elite require when they travel.
Has our government become so detached from the people it governs that it doesn't want to wait for a flight with them? And lets be serious, waiting in the first class lounge isn't exactly 'mixing it up with the people'. I've flown out of the Ottawa airport plenty of times and every time a government minister was on the plane they were always flying first class. And to be even more to the point, I'm sure the money for the first class ticket upgrade didn't come out of the ministers chequing account either.
But I guess every country needs it's elite. How else would things get done without them? All of us people flying ecomony class couldn't possibly understand the pressures our elite suffer from and the long working hours they put into their jobs.
Of course we couldn't. We are the great unwashed after all.
crossposted to canadiancomment
Posted by Dana on February 21, 2005 | Permalink
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Unless we're talking Ottawa-Toronto or Ottawa-Montreal, MPs should not fly coach. Business class is a perk entirely befitting someone with that level of responsibility. Surely the hostility of the "great unwashed" towards MPs' relatively modest salaries and perks is part of the reason we're stuck with such dullards.
Posted by: CSelley | 2005-02-21 7:47:32 AM
I hate flying. If I flew as often as MPs and other biggies do, I'd insist on business class. Flying coach is torture, if you are larger than a dwarf. I don't blame them for avoiding it. The separate waiting facilites though are a different matter...
Posted by: BillBC | 2005-02-21 8:35:53 AM
I think Dana’s thrown a bone to the dogs here.
I agree Cabinet Ministers can fly business class.
I don’t think members are under paid if you add in the grotesquely huge retirement package.
Maybe some actuaries can comment but I’ve heard retirement packages may be worth a couple of million bucks if present valued.
Agree we’ve got a “dullards” problem, but not all, check out Monte Solberg’s Blog. In any event more compensation by itself isn’t going to fix the “dullards” problem.
Posted by: nomdenet | 2005-02-21 8:45:30 AM
I don't see the reasoning of CSelley's comment that the reason we are stuck with incompetents is their modest salary and perks. The fact that they get a large pension after SIX years of service is quite a perk! How many jobs permit such an employment-to-pension period? Are you suggesting that IF we paid them more, we would have more competent representatives? I doubt that. There is a deeper reason.
We are stuck with incompetence because we have set up a system of governance that is unaccountable and therefore, enables and encourages the mediocre to assume power. A CEO of a responsible company - one that is responsible to its shareholders - cannot be compared to our prime ministers, ministers, deputy ministers, heads of gov't corporations etc and even, our junior MP's. Why not? Because our gov't representatives are totally and completely unaccountable. Are they accountable financially? No - we've seen what has happened with gov't sponsorship, and the huge wasteful spending on superficial agendas. The gun registry - it supplies more bureaucratic jobs but does zilch, absolutely zilch, for our safety. Health care - in a mess, but no-one will deal with it. Our representatives are never called to account. Sure- they might be at election time, every few years. What about in between? And the elections have become reduced to huge propaganda campaigns. I'm talking about ongoing accountability. it's missing.
So- we get representatives who are mediocre, who are ignorant, who lack any background in history, in critical thinking skills..and who mouth platitudes and ignorance worthy only of the most ignorant and opinionated undergradaute.
Our media systems superficially explore gov't, but, the gov't knows that it need not react. And so - it doesn't. Furthermore, access to information is extremely difficult; ask a gov't dept for information and you'll get delays, missing data and more delays.. Censorship and more censorship is the norm.
Watch what happens in an inquiry - millions of taxpayer dollars that were obviously laundered through a fake 'sponsorship ideology of 'Watch the Canadian flag flying and you will automatically be cleansed of your separatist Ideas".... the money was laundered ..and the taxpayer was really paying for work done by those firms to get Liberals re-elected in Quebec. What happens? Chretien mocks the inquiry; refuses to be held accountable. The Liberals all cheer him. The media all cheer him.
Ministers and deputy ministers all claim total ignorance of what went on; 'somebody else did it'. And, the general hope is that it will 'all be forgotten'. Remember the Somalia Inquiry? What about Chretien's Challenger jets so that he could pretend they are AirForce One? Meanwhile, the military is destroyed.
The US and the Iraq War? Read Mark Steyn's great column on the REAL reason why Chretien was so against 'taking out Hussein'. Its his family's oil company - under the Desmarais family - that controls 25% of Hussein's oil. Read about the cliques developed in Ottawa around this family. And - notice that they are totally unaccountable; that the gov't is embedded with this family and with a francophone clique that is not answerable to anything or anyone.
What about the gov't funded monstrosities that are beyond accountability? As Sheila Fraser has pointed out - she can't get this gov't to explain millions in its funding - whether it be in Foundations, in big corporations such as Via Rail, the CBC and so on.
What we, in Canada, have set up is a governance that is completely out of touch with reality; that has created a Fictional World, alienated from Facts. This Fictional World, which it tells to itself and to the public, is all about how tolerant and free and open and democratic and blah blah Canada is. These fictional images are never discussed or open to debate. Debate and criticism, in Canada, is a sign of unpatriotism. This governance clique is isolate, ignorant of anything west of the Ottawa River, unaccountable, self-generating and renewing, putting its members into the key posts in Senate, the Supreme Court and the Public Companies (why aren't these companies private???)and outside the public view.
Our elected representatives are junior assistants to this clique, but they readily get imbued with that sense of unaccountability, of superiority and isolation. Therefore, they must indeed have a separate lounge, and fly first class. All paid for, by the peasant class - which is the rest of Canada.
Posted by: ET | 2005-02-21 9:11:58 AM
Canada has become one big game of Ponzi
There’s only one taxpayer , yet 3 levels of government are now spending their time fighting over the same buck.
Mayor David Miller spends most of his time trying to suck more money out of Queens Park and from the Federal Cabinet Minister responsible for Cities (Why does Ottawa even have this Ministry??)
Ditto Danny Williams and the rest of the Premiers – now even McGuinty spending his time going for more Ponzi transfers.
This country has become Enrons R Us , only there is a lot more at stake then Enron.
This is a fixable problem, but it’s not about “dullards” , I’ve seen the enemy and it’s us – the voters who tolerate this mess.
Posted by: nomdenet | 2005-02-21 10:24:21 AM
The Road to Serfdom by F. Hayek:
Posted by: maz2 | 2005-02-21 10:33:33 AM
As a rule i don't want people who are working only for the money running my government. People who are in it for the money should be running a business where they belong.
When our politicians only do it for the nice salary and the perks they inevitably start squandering my tax dollars.
Heck if giving higher salaries and perks would improve the performance of our politicians why don't we just grant them large tracks of land and build them nice estates?
I've seen how our politicians behave in Parliament and as far as I'm concerned, these fools aren't worthy of my tax dollars.
Posted by: Dana | 2005-02-21 10:48:00 AM
Thanks, maz2 for the link. The Road to Serfdom - a perfect example of what has happened to Canada.
We are insulated from the worst evils of this mode by our economic prosperity, which ONLY exists because of the consumer reality of the USA right next to us. We, ourselves, need do no competitive marketing on the world scene, no innovate research and design - nothing - other than produce whatever...and sell it.
With this insulation, we don't see that we have lost the reality of democracy in this nation. An election every few years, when we are smothered in propaganda is not democracy. A democracy is government by the people, for the people. Our federal gov't has moved far from the people and indeed, rejects it as a reality except during elections. The Liberal Gov't praise of Chretien's mocking of the Gomery inquiry was a perfect example of their contempt for the people. They reject accountability and have moved into an isolate, unaccountable, self-preserving clique that provides us, the people, only with fictional accounts of their superiority.
Posted by: ET | 2005-02-21 10:49:16 AM
The Hayek Century:
Who said the 20th Century belongs to Canada?
Posted by: maz2 | 2005-02-21 12:20:04 PM
Anyone know if this new airport VIP terminal will be Kyoto compliant?
Posted by: Scott | 2005-02-21 2:10:44 PM
If so, that would mean that it would have to be hermetically sealed to protect us from all the politicians' hot air.
Posted by: Doug | 2005-02-21 2:23:55 PM
It's not accountability that's at issue. CEO's are hardly accountable to their shareholders, as shown by the Worldcom or Enron fiascos. It's limited franchise that produces the best results. Corporate heads are picked by a few members of the board, not elected by shareholders. Limited franchise produces excellence. Democracy produces mediocrity.
Posted by: DJ | 2005-02-21 8:07:22 PM
DJ who would set the limits? I guarantee that if our "elites" had their way, everyone who posts here would be disqualified.
Posted by: Stork | 2005-02-22 9:12:24 AM
How about Sir John A.;
"Experience has shown that (universal suffrage) leaves a nation weak and leads it towards anarchy and despotism. Unless there is a middle power, unless property is protected and made one of the principles on which representation is based, they might perhaps have a people altogether equal, but they will soon cease to have a people altogether free."
Posted by: DJ | 2005-02-22 2:14:45 PM
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