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Canada’s sick political system

There is something deeply sick about a political system when a person can work three and a half years for the government and walk away with a $143,000 year pension for life. That is what happened when Canada’s Governor General, Julie Payette, was forced to resign after a report was about to be released that she was had created a “toxic” work environment in her brief tenure as Canada’s Governor General.

For those that don’t know, Canada is a Constitutional Monarchy and Julie Payette serves as the Queen Elizabeth’s representative in Canada. Essentially Payette was Canada’s national leader. Sure, we have a Prime Minister, a House of Commons and Senate where people busily debate and pass laws, spend our money and increase our taxes, but unless the Governor General signs off on the legislation passed by Canada’s parliament, it doesn’t become law. Of course, the Governor Generals always do, but without their signature, no law is legal.

But in her brief tenure as the Queen’s representative in Canada, Payette has not only embarrassed Canada, but the Queen as well. Queen Elizabeth is a deeply religious person, and Payette took it upon her self, speaking for the Queen, to insult every person in Canada who believes in God.

The National Post provides some details or Payette’s reign:

There were early signs that Payette might not be cut out for the job, when she insulted people of faith by mocking the idea that life is a result of divine intervention.[…]

Reports started to emerge that she did not want to preside over a ceremony granting a key government bill royal assent. Volunteers awarded service medals received them in the mail, rather than being invited to Rideau Hall.[..]

It also became apparent that the Liberals had not vetted her appointment very well, including being oblivious to staffing controversies in previous jobs.

Last summer, allegations of bullying and harassment against her and her senior bureaucrat – an old friend from Montreal with no public service experience – prompted a third-party investigation. The report produced by that inquiry has not surfaced but it was apparently incriminating enough that Trudeau asked for Payette’s resignation when the two met on Wednesday.

READ: John Ivison: Payette appointment leaves Trudeau with painful sting of a self-inflicted wound

But back to her pension.

In his article in the Toronto Sun, Aaron Wudrick, the Federal Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, explains some of the benefits that Payette will continue receiving for her embarrassing, but brief tenure, as Canada’s Governor General:

Under the current rules, Payette is eligible for an inflation-adjusted pension of $143,000per year, as well as a “start-up grant” for ex-governors general who want to establish a charity. For example, former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson received $3 million to create the Institute for Canadian Citizenship.

On top of the golden pension and multi-million-dollar “start-up grant,” ex-governors general can still bill taxpayers for “expenses” – indefinitely. And since the government does not proactively release any details about these expenses, and current access to information laws don’t cover former governors general, we don’t even get to know what we’re paying for.

So that’s a cushy expense account, for an unlimited time, with near-zero accountability.

This policy first came to light in 2011 when it was reported that former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson (who had already achieved notoriety for her free-spending ways while still in office) had billed taxpayers for more than $500,000 for “temporary” secretarial help after retiring in 2005. Then, in 2018, it came to light that Clarkson’s “temporary” needs had apparently become permanent, running up the total taxpayer bill to more than $1.1 million.

READ: WUDRICK: Taxpayers shouldn’t be paying Payette’s expenses forever


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