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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Good Life on the Left

Damn! It's fun to be an NDPer:

According to recently released House of Commons records, the NDP leader and his long-time wife, Chow, who is MP for Trinity Spadina, charged Canadian taxpayers about $1.16 million in MP expenses last year for running their offices, living in Ottawa and paying for associated travel costs.

“Yes, it is (a lot of money) and we appreciate the compensation that's been established . . . but it is a lot less than the leaders of two of the other political parties,” Layton, who is MP for Toronto Danforth, told the Toronto Star.

Yes, but Stephen Harper is Prime Minister, and Lord Iggy is Leader of the Opposition. You lead a quasi-socialist rump that will likely never win power (we pray). The job of the NDP is to whine petulantly that more money should be spent to help the poor, the sick, the unionized and the overeducated. Do you really need $1.16 million to beat Canadians over the head with your begging bowl?

Torontonians with long memories will recall that, twenty years ago, Jack and Olivia were outed for living in government housing, while making a combined six-figure income. That should have ended their political careers, but Toronto is not just the center of the universe, it's sucker central too. Tell upper middle class Hogtowners that you feel for the wretched of the earth, and you'll be excused a lot of things we, the profit minded, could never get away with.

As a result of this embarrassing incident, Layton and Chow are understandably touchy about being queried on living expenses. Now I know what you are thinking, fair minded and gentle reader, that Old Publius is just doing some partisan NDP bashing. True, giving a political kick to Canada's First Comrade Couple is very tempting. Since I'm funding their fun, I think I'm entitled to mock their sense of entitlement. It's a semi-free country. Unless Jack actually becomes Prime Minister. 

There is a wider principle here - as there so often is in these posts. The NDP loves to bash fat cats (private business people) for living high on the hog - their tired metaphor. This news story is just sauce for the gander - my tired metaphor. Those fat cats, typically, are living high off private hogs. The public hog is what concerns us, and Jack and Olivia have been on it for many, many years.    

My objection is not so much that the leader of a major political party should have an appropriate income, and proper staffing to do his job, it's that said leader becomes outraged when heads of large corporations get the same thing. When the capitalist class spends money they've earned, it's an example of the cold heartless nature of modern capitalism. When Jack Layton spends money other people have earned, well he's just doing his job.


Posted by Richard Anderson on November 10, 2010 | Permalink


I didn't know about the Layton/Chow housing scandal. I'm neither shocked nor surprised, considering Layton's history of hypocrisy and media-whoring. "Good for me, not for them" has been his motto for years.

Posted by: Leigh Patrick Sullivan | 2010-11-10 7:06:46 AM

When they are grounded in the philosophy that all private property is theft, then they happen into a spigot full, they naturally act like thieves. Ironically, that loot was taxpayer's money so it actually is theft. That marriage must be quite a self reinforcing echo chamber. And now I must stop due to the impossibility of avoiding Godwin's Law.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2010-11-10 10:34:03 AM

Actually, Layton and Chow lived in publicly owned 'geared to income' housing. With their incomes, they would have paid market value rent. Anyone can do the same and feel good about helping to subsidize other families who cannot afford market rents.
Seems to me that those who criticize should first get their facts straight. Publicly owned housing often works this way.

Posted by: granny | 2010-11-10 2:42:12 PM


Are you being deliberately obtuse?

The public housing in question was intended to give needy families with lower incomes shelter with affordable rents geared to their lower income. So it's a good thing that a socialist parasite couple making a combined 6 figure income (an income, I might add that was paid with public funds)takes this housing. In case you missed the point...this is PUBLIC housing therefore presumably paid for with PUBLIC funds. In other words, the PUBLIC has already paid for the subsidies (it's called taxes). Show me the figures that show they paid market value. good luck with that.

Posted by: BoomNoZoom | 2010-11-10 3:55:18 PM

BoomNoZoom, I think granny is saying they paid "market value" rent, not purchase. So they woudl have paid probably the full price, therefore helping the welfare system. That's what I think she is saying.

However, I totally disagree with pubilc housing because a) it is just plain wring to use someone elses money for charity and b) it actually hurts the poor and needy in the long run anyway.

Posted by: TM | 2010-11-10 8:42:12 PM

Chow is not even a party leader, yet, she charges like one. Of course, Harper will not denounce her for her obvious excesses, lest he be called to account for his own accesses. Time to diminish Ottawa and its excesses.

Posted by: AB Patriot | 2010-11-10 10:01:32 PM

The article says that Layton and Chow were paying $800 a month in rent. That was below the market rate for a comparable property at the time (twenty years ago).

Posted by: Publius | 2010-11-11 6:25:02 AM

Just another example of the saying that socialism works fine until you run out of other people's money.

Posted by: Alain | 2010-11-11 11:27:34 AM

Public housing hurts the poor because since it is public it is funded by the taxpayer, who therefore has less money as a result. Taxpayers includes ALL the poor.

Posted by: StanleyR | 2010-11-11 1:51:37 PM

"Torontonians with long memories will recall that, twenty years ago, Jack and Olivia were outed for living in government housing, while making a combined six-figure income"

"I didn't know about the Layton/Chow housing scandal."

Well thats because it was not true. And I cant believe right wingers are still sticking to that lie.

Posted by: tweetypie | 2010-11-11 4:51:23 PM

Which is why, of course, the Toronto Star - a rabidly right-wing paper- reported it.

Posted by: Publius | 2010-11-11 6:01:45 PM

Same thing happened in Edmonton. Three well-known socialists were elected to public office (one and MLA, the other a city alderman, and the other an MP) yet they continued to live in a housing co-op while making incomes over six figures. Under the rules of their co-op, they were not allowed to remain, because they earned (I use that term loosely.) incomes in excess of the upper limit. The solution: they lobbied the co-op board to change the rules, which they quickly did. Of course, the three were board members at the time, so they already knew how to rig the system. By the time their terms on the board had ended, one had moved into a house (in an affluent area) and the two remaining were defeated in their bids for re-election, and could claim poverty thereafter.

Posted by: AB Patriot | 2010-11-11 11:50:15 PM

My. Another day, another pathetic, petulant whinge from pubis. Again, until you right wing hypocrites address the $$$billions feeding freeloading farmers, keeping conservative arses in the House, don't whine about chump change going to things you don't like.

Posted by: phil | 2010-11-12 4:00:26 PM

Well Phil, to someone who seems to have paid such close attention to my writing, as well as those of other Shotgun writers, you may have missed that classical liberals / libertarians are opposed to subsidies. To corporations, political parties and farmers. Anyone. We've posted about this before. Sorry if you missed that.

The Blogging Tories are here, btw:


Posted by: Publius | 2010-11-12 4:26:09 PM

phil, this is a good place to argue or debate but keep up will you?

Posted by: TM | 2010-11-13 2:03:38 AM

Well, please, do direct me to a post where you or anyone else has expressed even a modicum of the outrage for rural conservative welfare bum subsidies that you have for Layton/Chow's expense account. If you have, I'll happily eat my words.
If you have not, getting your knickers in a twist over Layton's expenses while having nothing to say about tens of $billions coersively transfered to friends of Conservatives is, at best, tacit support for the latter policy and, at worst, hypocrisy of the most egregious ilk.

Posted by: phil | 2010-11-13 9:01:45 AM


Do you take salt with your words?






Posted by: Publius | 2010-11-13 10:22:30 AM

Do you take salt with your words?

As a rule, no. The point in this case is moot, however, as you have provided no evidence of ever having been the least bit bothered by the obscenity of farm subsidies. ( supply management doesn't count) Some decent observations in the comments, tho. The egregious hypocrite cap seems to fit, publius. Wear it.

Posted by: phil | 2010-11-19 10:25:37 AM


Put a comment together (There aren't a lot of posters) about the reasons why farm sudsidies should no longer exist and see how much opposition you get from comments on this site.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2010-11-19 4:29:27 PM

Good idea John! I'd love to read a post by Phil on why we don't need farm subsidies.

What do you say Phil? You're obviously passionate about the subject.

Posted by: Farmer Joe | 2010-11-19 11:19:04 PM

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