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Thursday, 06 December 2012 09:24

Feds don’t know how to spend taxpayers’ dollars

Written by  Dale Ferrel
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Renos to Parliament’s West Block: I have visited this lavish spectacle several times over the years. The sky-rocketing costs and expected delays are the only part of the project that ever seem normal.


In 2005, Treasury Board approved $769 million to restore this one building. By 2011, the cost has risen $94 million to $863 million.
The latest estimate is at $1 billion plus $170 million. That now includes interim digs and moving to and from them. Whoever forgot to include that to start with along with $99 million to fix the John A. Macdonald building nearby should be seeking new employment, but don’t hold your breath on that count.
The three-storey edifice, originally erected in a three-phase project between 1859 and 1906  needs a total makeover.
New masonry, asbestos removal, new windows, new roof and other upgrades such as plumbing, heating and electrical. To add to this announcement, is another surprise hit for $425 million to fix the Wellington building across the street.
I say toss every MP and Senator into a crowded room full of users of food banks, the unemployed, homeless street people and people waiting in long lines for health care. Let them explain why democracy should be something more than a quote from James Bovard, civil libertarian (1994): “Democracy should be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.”
If tents and quonset huts are good enough for our armed forces, they should be good enough for our politicians and convicts. Restore a small portion as a historical site. Build modern, efficient comfortable but spartan housing for our MPs who only occupy them about half of the time and spend the billions left over on the people they represent.
MP Pension reform: This topic has the makings of greed and arrogance bordering on being criminal. Initially, our MPs and Senators voted themselves a sweetheart deal for pensions far beyond what any other Canadian could even dream. They put up about $11,000 per year while taxpayers pay $64,000 or $6 for their $1 contribution.
Finally shamed into a making a few cuts, they predictably responded with little chance of harming themselves.
They accomplished that by dumping the increase on new MPs and Senators beyond 2015. Even those politicians will still experience a nice 50/50 split on pension costs.
Of course they conveniently left out any clarification of eligibility actually rising from six years service to eight; both of which are insanely ridiculous. Same for collecting pensions at age 55, or maybe 60 along with other lavish perks beyond reason.
I’ll bet the farm we will see them vote themselves huge raises to cover their increased pension payments. That would take the entire sham full circle.
Large city superstructure: The annual plea from big city mayors for more of our tax dollars is the biggest boon-doogle of all time. All municipalities should be entitled to a per capita allotment of federal funds depending on what a balanced budget can provide. Some matching of funds must be mandatory. The elimination of corrupt tendering must be solved first.
This crisis is not the fault of the federal government, nor should all the rest of Canada be guilt tripped into bailing them out.
Their politicians almost never collected enough revenue because increased taxes would seldom get them elected. Therefore, it comes as no surprise their infrastructure has deteriorated for 60 years to such a serious level.
I say call their bluff and force them to raise taxes. People living in multi-million dollar housing can afford to pay much more. The same goes for business. The sooner a reasonable stand is taken, the sooner proper steps will evolve to turn this self-made disaster around.     
All of this begs a worthwhile quote from Will Rogers: “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.”

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