The president and ceo of the Montreal Old Port Corporation, Claude Benoit was under fire for a trip she took to Australia and New Zealand to see how they attracted people to their port, what activities they had going on and how she did it as part of her vacation and at tax payers expense. Now the saying,”Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”, comes to mind when I heard and saw the hypocrites on the hill feigning outrage, full of self-righteous indignation that a person entrusted with such a position could do such a thing. I do not like that anyone would make me pay for a vacation for them that I will never be able to afford myself , but politicians do it all the time. Bev Oda, and her $16 a glass orange juice, every time Prime Minister Harper attends a Hockey game, baseball game wherever it is, local, in another province, or in another country, we the Canadian tax payer pick up the tab and we get nothing for it. We have the G8, G20 summit costs never quite explained and the and gifts of millions of dollars to Tony Clement‘s riding by Tony Clement and these politicians want to cast a stone? I agree that no one should take vacations on the tax payer, but at least it was transparent and the board of the Old Port Corporation said that they were satisfied that she did do enough work to justify it being considered work.
Now what I do not understand is why the opposition would choose this time to bring up this issue. When the Harper government is dropping in the polls and all attention is on their scandals, like the Bev Oda business and this omnibus budget bill, the opposition party chose to make this minor issue with Claude Benoit by comparison the issue of the day, letting the Conservative Party of Canada off of the hook and putting the attention on the Old Port of Montreal president, Claude Benoit. With this type of political strategy being employed by the opposition it is small wonder that they lost to Harper in the first place. If the Harper government is not used to their majority government as the NDP has been suggesting of late and is still acting and bullying its way through things like they were the official opposition, when I would say that the NDP has not adjusted to being the official opposition and is trying to get itself seen and heard using any issue to draw attention to itself. They have also picked up an annoying trait of insisting that they will be forming the next government of Canada and to me displaying some of the same arrogance we voters see in the Conservative Party of Canada.
What I find amusing is that all parties jumped on the band wagon and ask madame Claude Benoit how she could hire an accountant that was not qualified to do his job. Although the accountant did not do anything glaringly wrong everybody took the position that the ceo had not done her due diligence when it checked the accountants credentials. Now Mr. Harper had a chief advisor that was a felon, but some how this was okay and he still is there at is job and a lot more was on the line than a free vacation. Why is it that the same people who are questioning this ceo’s competence saw nothing wrong with the Harper’s ignoring the criminal record of someone he hand-picked to be his senior advisor?
Now there was another amusing little bit of misinformation as to the profitability of Montreal’s Old Port Area and the opinion was that it cost more to administer and operate than it brings in and I say that is rubbish. Everyone knows that most events and things that go on there are free to the public and as such may not show a direct profit on its books, but that the spin-off monetary benefits to local businesses from people coming to and leaving the Old Port of Montreal. It is this type of forgetting of the facts when it suits the government that has Canadians wondering what the heck is gong on all the time.
That this woman had the total support of the board of directors did not seem to matter to our Canadian Parliamentarians. I guess with them doing worse with the support of their party leaders and fellow party members, I thought that they would at least understand Claude Benoit doing the same thing on a lesser scale, but alas every one waded into the mire and took a shot throwing a stone.
It was written in the Globe and Mail, “The chairman of the board of the Old-Port since mid-2009, Gerry Weiner, said he would not approve such a costly trip in the current atmosphere of government restraint. Still, the former Conservative minister offered a full defence of Ms. Benoit, praising her abilities as the head of the federal agency and adding that he is confident that an ongoing review by the Auditor-General’s Office will not find fault with Ms. Benoit’s management.” Read rest of story here,
Old Port of Montreal CEO unapologetic over trip expenses m.theglobeandmail.com › Home › News › PoliticsCached
Now this is more that is being said about the conduct of Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro’s fellow party members and ministers these days, although his attack was the strongest and in my opinion the most insulting. With his party members behaviour of late one would think he might have kept his criticism to the point and as low-key as possible, but he just kept calling her ability to do her job in question for taking the trip on tax payer dollars. I can understand his urgency to try and deflect the attention away from his own party’s misdoing, but maybe he should try explaing and these things to Bev Oda and seeing that this repeat offender get he just punishment for doing the same thing.
In closing I would just like to say that perhaps it is Claude Benoit’s board of directors that should be answering for her paid working vacation if indeed there is anything legally wrong with what she has done. Claude Benoit did as she thought was right, with the full knowledge of her board of directors. They reimbursed her the money after they knew exactly what her work entailed on her trip and were satisfied with it, so I do not understand why they are going after her. The board of the Old Port of Montreal Corporation could have simply said no to her request for compensation if they thought that her trip did not justify the refund. I for one do not like politicians taking these paid vacations on my money and I do not think that it is fair, but to attack the wrong person is a waste of my money as well. there is definitely a problem here, but I think that legally she dotted het I’s and crossed her T’s and if the federal government does not like her getting a refund they should go after the board of directors that gave it to her and stop wasting time and money trying to smear Claude Benoit for something they all try.
When Prime Minister, Stephen Harper took a trip to a baseball game on the official Canadian government jet, with several of his staffers, the cost to the Canadian tax payers was approximately $45,000, why was this allowed? All of this type of spending needs to stop, but let the same rules apply for all, or stories like this one with Claude Benoit become little more than a, “Not funny, but an amusing story considering who the inquisitors are and what the fuss is all about”.
- Old Port of Montreal CEO accused of mishandling funds (ctv.ca)
- Tory stumbles and NDP strength spell trouble for Liberals (theglobeandmail.com)
- Bev Oda apologizes for luxury hotel spending (thestar.com)
- Yaffe: Stephen Harper’s Conservative government losing its sheen (vancouversun.com)