Prime Time Crime

 

(Published in the Abbotsford News week of Nov. 29, 2004)

On Adrienne Clarkson.  Supreme Court, et al

John Pifer

With the arrival of the final month of 2004, some thoughts and questions for your consideration:

1.      Why does Canada continue with the useless, wasteful, irrelevant and archaic role of Governor-General, as some form of figurehead representing an outdated, irrelevant and ludicrous British force in our countrys politics? The post should be abolished; and no more millions of tax dollars should be handed out to former CBC-TV flack Adrienne Clarkson, who makes Marie Antoinette look caring.

Do we not have an MP or a federal party prepared to commit to ending this farce? Could someone please explain how this arrogant witch was allowed to run up a $5million bill paid for by you, the Canadian taxpayer, of course -- to make a royal procession through Europe with an entourage of 50, with only some meagre muttering about how shameful, wasteful and pathetic it was?

This abuse of money and power seems to be acceptable to most Canadians, and that is perhaps the most tragic aspect of this whole issue. When are we going to stand up and speak out, demanding that this and other abuses of tax dollars be stopped?

2.      It appears final  about 1,100 judges in senior courts across Canada will be given that 11-per-cent increase in salary, about the same increase they got just four years ago. The most amazing thing about this abuse of the public purse is that the process to reach a decision on how much more to give to Supreme Court and appeal court judges and the like does not even allow MPs to question it.

Nor is there any form of assessing the performance of the learned judges, so that even those who repeatedly screw up from the bench get the extra lolly regardless. With each of them now averaging about a quarter of a million dollars, is it not about time that some form of check or balance was instituted?

3.      We will see many political games played in BC over the next 5 months as we head to a May provincial election, as British Columbians face the tough choice of holding their noses and returning the mean-spirited Liberals to power, or to take a great chance on the discredited socialist hordes of the NDP, now led by a political neophyte.

If Big Labour continues its multi-million-dollar support of the New Democrats, as announced at its latest annual conference, it could backfire and give the Liberals a much-needed boost. Bullies are not welcome anywhere, and the Big Bosses of labour are merely reminding citizens of the damage and abuse they fostered during the drastic decade of NDP governments from 1991-2001. And then there's the contemptible partisan behaviour of BC Teachers Federation members that deserves to be attacked. Pushing NDP policies into the face of parents in teacher-parent meetings is intimidation and harassment, and cannot be allowed to continue.

4.      A final note on RAV the rapid-transit multi-billion-dollar project for Richmond-Vancouver Airport that has become a sad soap opera for which all British Columbian taxpayers will pay, and pay.

All of the will-it-be approved, will-it-be-denied drama was a complete farce. It was always a go, and the sudden transfer payment from the federal Liberals that produced the extra millions needed was no coincidence. The old boys network that produces enormous government contracts for favoured corporations means the most expensive Cadillac of projects will proceed, when a perfectly-acceptable Chevy would have done the job.

Gawd, but we Canadians are such a soft touch, we are!

Veteran B.C. journalist/broadcaster John Pifer may be reached at jwpifer@shaw.ca.

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