Drop personal attacks for discussion
(Editor’s note: This is a response to Tim McDonald’s letter Clement true to Tory party published in the May 9 North Star.)
In his letter Mr. McDonald criticizes our MP and cabinet minister Tony Clement for limousine use and overtime for the drivers and specifically mentions the short walk to the Parliament buildings from Mr. Clement’s office.
He then goes on a rant mentioning the G8 summit, the F35 project, “reductions in environmental oversight”, contempt of Parliament, MP’s pensions and to use his phrase “and on ad nauseam”. He ends up with the comment “..but hey, look at his earlier record, what did anyone expect?”
That last part appears to be a veiled reference to Mr. Clement’s time in the Mike Harris government.
Obviously Mr. McDonald considers that any connection to the Mike Harris government is like putting the last nail in the coffin.
He sure throws a lot of stuff at the wall hoping some of it will stick.
Oddly enough, on the very day Mr. McDonald’s letter appeared in the North Star I was in Ottawa with five other people from Parry Sound to attend the March for Life the next day.
We had a 4 p.m. appointment with Tony Clement at his office in the Confederation building.
We arrived at 3:50 p.m. and just as we were approaching the door we saw Mr. Clement come out of the building and get into a car, yes, with a driver waiting, and leave.
Once inside we were informed that there had been an unscheduled vote called in the Commons. That explained the bells ringing in the building. The staff kept us informed as to how long it might take and by approximately 4:25 p.m.
Mr. Clement was back in his office for our meeting. During the meeting the bells started ringing again meaning once more he had to return for a vote. Despite the fact that his office is only a short distance from the Parliament buildings our meeting may not have taken place if it had not been for the availability of a car and driver at the ready for Mr. Clement.
In addition to making his time much more efficient there are obviously security concerns that will arise from time to time.
I did not view at all the standby driver and car (not a limo, but a Chevrolet I think) as a perk or ego booster but rather a tool of the trade.
I don’t think you can compare this to the “Bev Oda moment” using Mr. McDonald’s words. I wrote a letter to the Prime minister with a copy to Tony Clement after reading about Minister Oda’s limousine and hotel escapades in London.
I too objected to that use of government funds, which in fact are the taxpayer’s funds.
Some of the things Mr. McDonald refers to in his letter may be worthy of further debate and some of those issues are not settled yet, such as the F35 issue.
On many of these things there are two sides to be considered. If I recall correctly the funding for the CBC was as large or greater than the proposed funding for the F35’s over the same period of time.
Many Canadians such as myself would feel better having the government spending our tax dollars to keep us safe than continuing to fund a failed communications corporation that can’t compete with the private broadcasters.
This letter is being written by a former private businessperson who abhors any form of government waste. We need to keep our politicians accountable and on that I think Mr. McDonald and I would agree.
Sadly it appears no political party holds a monopoly on their ability to misuse the hard earned money taken from taxpayers.
We need only to think back to the Liberal sponsorship scandal and those gold plated MP pensions have been around for quite a while, predating the current Conservative government.
We have a country that is often divided on a lot of crucial issues and we need to discuss those on a case-by-case basis and not always assume a settled opinion and make personal attacks against those with whom we disagree.