L’affair Leslie

The Defence Minister versus the retired general

So where are we?

Glen McGregor has the details of Andrew Leslie’s recent real estate history and when Mr. Leslie’s daughter was hired by the real estate company that sold his house. The Star can’t get answers from the Defence Department, but does hear from an anonymous former officer who thinks Mr. Nicholson is handling the matter poorly. Mr. Leslie was not commenting further as of yesterday, but Liberal MP Rodger Cuzner wants to know about severance payments to government staff and Marc Garneau wants to know the origin of the story about Mr. Leslie’s moving expenses. The NDP piles on and raises the case of Major Marcus Brauer, who is currently fighting the government in court over a real-estate loss incurred after a forced transfer.

On Monday, the Canadian Press looked closer at the program that is the basis of the Leslie affair, Global claimed its access to information request was leaked and Defence Minister Rob Nicholson issued a second statement, claiming that Andrew Leslie “falsely asserted that he was unaware of the costs he was billing taxpayers.”

Yesterday, I raised concerns about Andrew Leslie, a senior advisor to Justin Trudeau, for billing taxpayers $72,000 to move four minutes away from his former residence. These expense claims for Liberal Defence Advisor Andrew Leslie’s in-city move appear grossly excessive, demonstrating a clear lack of judgement and Liberal sense of entitlement.

Andrew Leslie and his Liberal colleagues defended the gross entitlement, and most concerning, he falsely asserted that he was unaware of the costs he was billing taxpayers. As all men and women who served will know, the process requires all Canadian Forces applicants to be aware of the policies that govern the Integrated Relocation Program, and to submit their fees and commission bill for reimbursement. In which case, Andrew Leslie was aware of these ridiculously high costs to the taxpayer when he and his Liberal colleagues defended his sense of entitlement.

The policy was never intended to have taxpayers pay $72,000 for generals to move between mansions within the same city. Just like his Liberal friends, Andrew Leslie claims he is “entitled to his entitlements”. That is why I have asked my department to review the policy to ensure the responsible use of taxpayers dollars.

The phrase “appear grossly excessive” repeats what Mr. Nicholson said in his statement on Sunday, but now the minister is apparently confident that the claim demonstrates “a clear lack of judgement and Liberal sense of entitlement.” And the “appear” qualification notwithstanding, the expenses are described as a “gross entitlement” in the next sentence and said without qualification to be “ridiculously high” two sentences after that. Presumably the task of the officials at DND will be to determine the line between “ridiculously high” and “grossly excessive” and then determine whether that line has indeed been crossed.

Global, meanwhile, has now published a tally of generals who’ve had their expenses covered for moves within the same city or to nearby cities—the details of which were put to Conservative MP Scott Armstrong by the CBC’s Evan Solomon in an entertaining interview yesterday (Solomon’s question about whether wealthy MPs should decline their pensions was particularly fun).

So what about those other officers? I asked Mr. Nicholson’s office if the minister was concerned with the expenses covered by those generals. Here is the statement that was sent along by his press secretary.

The policy was never intended to have taxpayers pay over $70,000 for Andrew Leslie or other generals to change houses within the same neighbourhood. That is why the Minister of National Defence has instructed his department to undertake a review of the program immediately to ensure the responsible use of taxpayers dollars.

Here is where things get complicated. What precisely can Mr. Leslie be said to have done wrong here? Is it that his expense claim seems unduly exorbitant? If so, is that simply a product of the house he sold being worth more than the houses sold by other generals? Shall we cap the amount that can be claimed? Shall we exclude real estate commissions from the program? Or is the problem the distance travelled in Mr. Leslie’s move? Would it have been fine for him to claim $72,000 if he’d moved to Victoria? If so, should expenses only be claimed if a certain distance has been exceeded?

We end up with two tracts here: the political debate over which side can make the other look worse and the policy debate over how this program should be designed and what purpose it should serve.




Browse

L’affair Leslie

  1. Just another Con drive-by smear

    • And once again the feces-flinging Con monkeys end up wearing most of the sh*t they’ve flung.

      • Yup….this one looks really bad on them too

  2. The message to all the current and former serving military men and women.

    The Conservative Party does not have your back.

    If you dare support any party other than the Conservatives, it doesn’t matter how distinguished your career was and how honorably you served this country, they’ll do all they can to ruin you.

    • Indeed.

      This is just a segue from the Cons’ previous leak of confidential VA medical files of some veterans who were challenging the government’s treatment of veterans a few years ago.

      Anyone with honour or integrity would need a shower after being in the same room with Con “strategists”.

      • Chemical shower with hard scrubbing. Repeat again.

    • What is remarkable is how the media will dive into dumpsters to go to the endth degree to “get to the bottom” of expenses that appear excessive…. when it is a conservative, but if its a liberal, the theme is the conservatives daring to “smear” in questioning a Liberal.
      It’s bad enough that the likes of the CBC did a deliberately one sided attack on conservative senators’ travel claims (with the Liberals apparently “entitled” to refrain from submitting them for as long as they wish), but when a single Liberal insider is questioned its a “smear”.
      This circling of wagons anything related to dear boy Justin is getting rather pathetic.
      BTW if it was Harper’s daughter who just coincidentally landed a job (out of the hundreds and hundreds of prospective employers) at the realtor in issue within the month of the expense, it would be a “scandal” of the century.
      But this is Justin’s man, and so the media chalks it up to just a freakishly bizarre coincidence and nothing more.
      BTW, while the Liberal hornets swarm to protect the nest on this and other sites, you can bet that the prospect of claiming $70,000 to move a few hundred meters doesn’t sit well with the average Canadian.

      • Better watch out Rick, Charles is getting the talking points faster than you.

        Tell me Charles, what do you suspect was the quid pro quo for this cushy dream job that the daughter got?

        • We will never know, because it’s just a big coincidence, no need to look further. I’m sure if it was Harper folks around here would just shrug.
          I also forgot the rule of thumb: if its a comment against a dear Liberal it is a “talking point” lacking legitimacy.
          Fair enough, I’m sure the average Canadian is just tickled pink that they are paying $70,000 (more that the average income of a Canadian for a year) to move a wealthy liberal a few hundred meters. They just MUST be. He is a liberal after all.

          • No, no… by all means we should look further..

            What do you think happened here? Was it a kickback? A bribe? Extortion? Don’t be shy Charles, lets speculate.

            EDIT Half an hour later, no response from Charles. Must be checking with head office.

          • As has been commented elsewhere, it is routine to negotiate for a lower percentage from realtors in cases where the overall value of the home is significant. Values above a certain threshold lowers the rate to three percent, routinely. 70g’s on a million dollar home is 7% of the full amount. That’s a sucker’s deal. Unless of course or one who has the luxury of someone else paying for it, in return for his daughter getting a job there.
            An exorbitant fee, paid for by others followed immediately by his daughter being hired by the realtor? Nah, it’s all just one big coincidence.
            And if you don’t think the press would have precisely connected those dots if it were Harper, I’ve got a Justin Trudeau “speaking engagement” to sell you.

          • He would have a duty to negotiate the best deal. He seems to not have done that. Then his daughter is hired by them?
            Smelly, smelly, smelly. Nice to see the Liberals are totally fine with such shenanigans.

          • Swing and a miss, chuckles.
            He didn’t negotiate any deal. It’s all dealt with by a contractor hired by The Harper Government.
            Ooops!

          • He knows that. It is simply a fact that is not particularly useful to him so he left it out.

            Charles is not stupid. He is quite deliberate.

          • That took a while, Charles, fax machine on the blink?

            1st) The commission was reported as is being in the neighbourhood of $40k meaning it was 4% of a million dollar sale. A standard fee. Not discounted, not excessive.
            2nd) The sale was handled by a 3rd party as has been stated any number of times and never disputed by any of the upstanding citizens who are slandering the gentleman. Have you any evidence that Leslie or anyone else intervened in the deal to direct it to this particular firm?
            3rd) The fee is not exorbitant and a $1 million home in Rockcliffe Park is mid-range only. If this firm specializes in high-end homes, as reported in the media, this would be a smaller transaction. You think they are going to hire someone on the basis of a single transaction netting $40k? Seems pretty unlikely to me…

            4) If the press didn’t inform you of this, who did?

          • So it took thirty additional thousand dollars to move furniture a few hundred feet?
            Oh that’s even better.

          • Are you familiar with the terms, legal fees, land transfer tax, closing costs? Any of that ringing a bell?

            You probably should just wait for the memo…

          • So between you and Rick, which one is Dumb and which one is Dumber?

          • The citizen reports that the amount of comission is of “unkown value”. The General’s kneejerk defense said the overwheming portion of the 72 thou went to realtor fees.

            Got a link to the 4% figure? Or is this just another excercise in assuming all the best facts so we can pretend the daughter hiring was just a big super duper coincidence and God forbid we actually delve into what exactly happened.

            In the meantime my daring to question this odd coincidence makes me a “liar!!!!!” by the political wasps buzzing around the nest.

          • No, it is your tendency to rely on selected facts and innuendo that does that.

            But you can keep on trying to style yourself as a conservative “hero” if that makes you feel better.

            Ha ha ha ha ha

          • Shall I make it more obvious to you. Three percent is the amount he should have paid. The additional four percent represents the the “hiring the daughter fee”.
            So yeah, the notion of taxpayers footing a bill to get a Liberal daughter hired…not so good.

          • He’s a General whom was entitled to have his last move paid for as per his contract. This entitlement is the same for Liberal, Conservative, Green, NDP etc soldiers whom have put in 20 plus years of service. There is no clause that says you cannot have it paid if you are either wealthy or Liberal. Honouring contracts is what makes a country civilized.

          • He’s a General entitled to not negotiate a three percent fee but rather hand over a ridiculous seven percent fee on a silver platter courtesy of the taxpayers, immediately followed by his daughter getting a job from that realtor.
            Of course, of course.

      • Such a shock. Charles/Biff is, yet again, being less than truthful.

    • The NDP are going after Leslie too. that to me, is cherry picking who to support in the military. You cant have a military of the 21st century by separating who your going to defend, and who you can take shots at. The dippers want everyone else to get good salaries and benefits in the military, except the upper brass. That’s all I can say, is, good luck with recruiting top notch soldiers for one of the most stressful jobs on earth. .

  3. I guess Nicholson adheres to the “if you’re falling, dive” school of public relations…

  4. “What precisely can Mr. Leslie be said to have done wrong here?”

    Frederic Bastiat – When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it

    • That implies that Leslie was somehow responsible for creating / running the program… which he was not.

      Would you pass up a perfectly legal and above-board tax refund because you felt it was too much?

      • Be fair. They don’t expect that of everyone. Just everyone not in their party.

    • Once again, the Liberal standard is that if it isn’t a criminal offence it isn’t wrong. Guess what Liberals, lying to your mother is wrong, cheating on your spouse is wrong, and of course, being independently wealthy and rather than donating one’s time to charity, charge charities ten grand a pop for “speaking fees” while also being paid by the government as an MP to do the same thing….is wrong.
      The latter is not just wrong, it is morally reprehensible. Lining one’s pockets so one doesn’t have to dip into the silver spoon trust fund for the latest luxury purchase, at the expense of the needy is frankly grotesque.
      I for one look forward to the Liberal defence of Justin when the CPC uses its massive warchest to inform Canadians of this disgusting display of vanity, self-importance and insensitivity, on the basis that it wasn’t “illegal”.

      • Based on what we saw of your last ad campaign against the kid ,Canadians now know some of you guys like to watch him strip for charity.

        • The beauty of the ad I described is that the simple truth makes Trudeau look near monstrous.

          • Since you had so much fun with your last effort, a piece of homo erotica that wouldn’t have looked out of place in GQ. I’m looking forward to your next go round. See if you can get him in a jock strap and feather boa this time. Something to thrill the boys in the PMO.

          • If Cons are so desperate to see Trudeau with his shirt off, they could watch the video of him knocking out Pat Brazeau.

      • Really?

        Well then. Conservative Biff/Charles. perhaps you would like to explain to us why you lie? I mean, you know it is wrong, and yet you just keep on doing it…

      • Don’t worry, Stephen likes that defence, too. He was the one who repeated ad nauseam that no charges had been laid in the Senate scandal, and that the PM was not directly being investigated by the RCMP. See? No charges having been laid makes appointing someone who was obviously living in Ottawa as a senator for PEI acceptable.

        We do understand, though. It’s the old Conservative Double Standard Law in effect again. It states that questionable or outright illegal actions are only reprehensible when committed by someone who is not a member of the Conservative caucus or a large Conservative donor attributing the donations to their employees to get around donation rules.

  5. I didn’t find the short distance a problem – when a veteran downsizes and seeks less stairs to climb ( smaller yard, fewer bedrooms ) why should they not remain in the same community ? ( Shorter distances save us money ! )

    • Why should taxpayers be on the hook for $72,000 because he decided he wanted a smaller home?

      • Because that is the commitment that the government made to him. At one time, in this country, there was an expectation that the government would honour it’s commitments and follow the laws of the land. Certainly there are plenty of ignorant partisans who object to that, but the majority of people still believe in honesty for themselves and for their government.

        • Nobody is suggesting that the claim was illegal. He made over a half a million dollars on his sale of the home, surely he could cover his own cost of moving, no?

          The program was never intended to foot the bill so a guy could move down the street. It was for retired soldiers who wanted to move to different communities in their retirement.

          • Quit mouthing blather. You know sweet dick all about “the intentions” of the program and you are just repeating the crap we have heard 100 times already from people far more credible than yourself. Which is saying nothing positive about their credibility either.

            You are just wanking over resentment of people who make a success of their lives, demanding a standard of selflessness that is frankly absurd. “Oh, that rich guy doesn’t need what we promised him, so we are morally superior when we steal it from him.”

            Loser politics, loser morality.

          • As a taxpayer, yes, I’m resentful of people who make far more money than most taxpayers abusing taxpayer funds to enrich themselves even more.

            I’m not asking for selflessness. I’m asking that if he’s going to be making a profit of over $600,000 selling his house, he might not want to go looking for a $72,000 handout from taxpayers to cover his moving expenses. Is that really so much to ask? Are government programs like this in existence to help pad the bank accounts of people who are already very wealthy?

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          • You’re not a tax payer, you don’t even exist.

          • No, I don’t exist. These messages are coming from the Singularity. Does is scare you that the Singularity is a Conservative?

          • You’re not a Conservative either…

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          • If you say so…

            Here is what you will be outraged about tomorrow: the Ottawa Citizen is reporting that Leslie’s daughter got a job with the real estate firm that handled this transaction… your talking point will be, ” I’m not saying that there was anything underhanded or illegal here, but you gotta wonder don’t you?”

            There you go, you can sleep in an extra 5 minutes tomorrow.

          • Leslie’s oppo probably does the gardening too. And you don’t want to know what a sinecure he got for his live in nanny. She’s currently in Afghanistan running the national food bank programme.

          • Right, it’s just a coincidence that Leslie overpaid this real estate firm for selling his house, with taxpayer funds, and then his daughter gets a job there immediately after.

            All. Just. A. Coincidence.

          • Jazus i thought i was hard on the guy…reliable as a crack whore…lol
            I’ll have to take your word for that.

          • Ahh, I love the smell of Liberals looking out for wealthy Liberals in the morning.

          • Jesus, another job exported overseas. Here in Canada it is late afternoon/early evening depending on your time zone.

          • Specially when you can selectively leak their private lives and or target them. What you’re smelling is your own unethical flatulence.

          • Comment of the year…well done.

          • I love the smell of terrified trolls in the morning.

          • So, SHOULD wealthy MPs decline their pensions?

          • Yes

          • At least any part of it that was subsidized by taxpayers.

          • Fair enough then.

            Should they refuse their salaries too?

            What about reimbursing Parliament for the cost of their staff?

          • btw, fake person.

            This is you 12 mins ago…

            “Nobody is suggesting that the claim was illegal.”

            This is you 8 mins prior to that…

            “Was he legally entitled to this benefit? Probably.”

            So yeah, people are questioning the legality of it. One of those people is you… Perhaps you meant that no honest people are questioning the legality of it. I will grant you that.

          • I’m sorry. Are you suggesting I was questioning the legality of it by stating, in plain English, that it was “probably” legal?

          • Yes.

          • That makes no sense.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX5jNnDMfxA

            Mary explaining his chances are low, that’s Omen saying it’s probably legal.
            Lloyd’s interpretation of the statement is similar to yours.

          • It was for retired soldiers who wanted to move to different communities in their retirement.

            Given that the 40 km restriction for postings was deliberately lifted for the final move, I say you’re wrong on the “different communities” front. Nothing to say the government can’t change that, going forward.

            They can also consider putting a cap on the amount that can be claimed.

            But either way, your battle is with Nicholson, not Leslie. Leslie followed the rules; if you don’t like the rules, take it up with the person responsible for them.

          • “The program was never intended to foot the bill so a guy could move down the street.”

            Except that it obviously is intended for guys moving down the street considering the fact that all distance restrictions are removed for the final move.
            Do you ever have glimpses of the congenitally lying halfwit that the rest of us see when we read your comments?

            The shame must be excruciating.

      • Because after 18 moves he and his family deserve our thanks. If the program needs changed then change it – but there is no need to make a spectacle out of this veteran or any other for that matter.

        • Since he’s no longer in the military the Conservatives had no further use for him as a pawn in their propaganda ministry until lo and behold they found one.

  6. Leslie bought the home for $400,000 in the year 2000. He sold it in 2013 for $1,050,000.

    Apparently a half a million dollar profit wasn’t enough for the general, so he took advantage of a government program to get an extra $72,000 out of taxpayers.

    Was he legally entitled to this benefit? Probably. Was it abusing a program for purposes which it was never intended? Absolutely!

    • Typical Con…..wants everyone to work for free….except themselves of course.

      • Asking someone to pay for their expenses out of a $600,000 profit is not asking people to work for free.

        • The paid move is part of his compensation package…..his salary…..as you well know. It’s not welfare where you have to liquidate all your assets before you get help.

          And it applies to everyone….in the military and the RCMP

          His move would be paid for if he had gone to Cornerbrook, or Victoria…..this cost far less.

          There’s only one difference here, and you know it.

          He’s a Liberal.

        • You’re kind of stretching the term “profit” when referring to the escalation of the value of his home when he is buying another home in the same market.

          • That 600,000 figure is flexible…he’ll nudge it up a bit if you like….down is out though.

          • Whatever. The fact is, whenever NotRick’s investments do well he waives his wages and benefits.
            It’s just the kinda guy he is.

        • I’m pretty sure that there are some Canadian oil and gas companies who are going to be made pretty nervous by this line of reasoning. Next you’re going to tell us that those companies should be refusing their tax breaks and subsidies if they make a good profit.

          What do you have against profit?

          Why do you hate capitalism?

        • Are you suggesting some kinds of Means testing for “Government handouts”?

    • The Bastard!
      I wish more people would follow your example of returning whatever portion of your paycheque is left after paying the bills and buying groceries.
      Unfortunately, for so many that’s just not enough.

      • I’m not asking for him to return anything. It’s clearly too late for that because he’s legally entitled to this money from taxpayers.

        What I’m saying, is that if he’s making $600,000 on the sale of his home, it might not be too much to ask of him to cover his own moving expenses.

        But I know, Liberals believe that everybody should avail themselves to every taxpayer funded program available to them, weather they need it or not.

        • Like I said, it’s just unfortunate that more people aren’t like you. Most people accept every cent of their paycheque and all the benefits they’re entitled to.
          Ole Stupe just pays the bills and let’s his boss keep the rest.

          I’ve heard he even availed himself of his ENTIRE taxpayer-funded $200,000 salary. You’d think that after the first $100,000 it wouldn’t be too much to ask to let taxpayers keep $50,000.

          • Great point. Someone who was earning $200,000 a year and sold his home for a $600,000 profit so he could move down the street is exactly the type of person that taxpayers should be subsidizing when they move.

            And lots of people do not avail themselves to every benefit they receive with their employment. Lots of people have insurance coverage for eye glasses, but they don’t eye glasses so they don’t take advantage of that perk, as just one example. Leslie clearly didn’t need taxpayers help to afford his move, but he took it anyway, because he’s entitled to his entitlements.

          • Assuming we’re both using the English language, Stupe, wages and benefits are generally referred to as “wages and benefits”. I know it’s hard not to use “subsidizing” because it sounds better, but how about not confusing the facts bullsh$t, OK?
            Now, you mean people don’t go to eye doctors and pretend to have vision problems, then go and get themselves free glasses that they can’t use? I can’t believe it!
            So, I’m curious, how much of your wages that did you not need did you leave with your employer keep last year, Stupie?

          • Go ahead, keep trying to defend this. It just makes it more obvious that the Liberals are the entitlement party who see the government and it’s programs as a means to enrich themselves.

          • Awww, poor Stupie can’t defend himself.
            I’m going to need evidence that people actually forgo the time and effort to obtain glasses that are entirely worthless to them.
            That would just cinch the brilliant case you’ve made.
            Ahahahahaha!

            Now tell me what wages and benefits you let your employer keep. It’s an easy question.

          • Yeah, I understand that he had the government pay for his meals and his cot everytime he went overseas too….

            What a leech he turned out to be,

          • In his defence, as a socialist who lives by the credo “…to each according to his need”, it’s hard for him to accept.

          • I bet he didn’t buy his own bullets either…the jerk.

        • Liberals believe that everybody should avail themselves to every taxpayer funded program available to them, weather they need it or not.

          Hey Rick, how about that 200 member circle jerk that went to Israel on the taxpayer dime? What party were they again?

          • Anti-Semite :p

          • Trade missions are now considered a government program?

          • Do taxpayers normally pay for musicians on a trade mission ?

    • What is weird is that he now has a $1M mortgage on a $600K home. That’s not how most financial planners would chart a retirement.

      • That is how a financial planner finances his retirement.

  7. The Conservatives seem to believe that real estate fees (independent of distance) should not be included in the expense. Harper will soon be available to explain that although real estate fee are fully allowed in the written portion of the policy; it is absolutely clear in the spiritual portion of the policy. My guess is that he will make this very clear. Apparently, being godless, the eternally dammed Liberals are unable to access these spiritual components of policy.

    • Contrast with the Conservative Party who break the letter of the law constantly and unapologetically but they always follow the spirit of the law as they perceive it.

      If you don’t understand it, you are a stupid Liberal or possibly a union thug.

  8. The case the NDP is talking about, that of Major Brauer, involves a loss of $77,000 on his move. I believe he should be paid this amount, but I wonder about the hypocracy of the NDP complaining ) about the idea that one member of the military should get $77,000 more for his move and another member of the military should not get $72,000 for his move.
    Plus there’s the fact they’re joining in with the Cons to smear all military members who have partaken of this program.
    There went my vote for them.

    • I think they have handed this very poorly indeed.

  9. So why was Bev Oda’s $16 glass of orange juice problematic? That was within the rules.

    Why are Conservative senators charging business class airfare problematic? That was within the rules too.

    Why was the RCMP spending over $1M to bring Harper’s armoured car to India problematic? It wasn’t Harper’s decision but he got all the questions for it, even though it was deemed a security requirement by his protective detail.

    Is the problem here that they aren’t soldiers?

    Or that they aren’t Liberals?

    • LOL Ahhh now all the perks are okay if they’re Con…..but not if they’re Lib.

      Thanks for making that clear.

    • The orange juice was a SYMPTOM of the problem in the Oda case, not the problem itself.

      Oda refused to stay at the hotel where the conference she was attending was being held, and booked a room at another hotel (The Savoy, at $655 a night) instead. Then she hired a limo to take her back and forth between her new hotel and the hotel where the conference was actually being held. Then she got fined $250 for smoking in a non-smoking room. Then she tried to charge all of that to the taxpayer.

      The $16 orange juice wasn’t the issue, per se, it was just a handy illustration of the fact that she felt that the hotel where the conference was actually being held wasn’t good enough for her, and that her chosen alternative was a hotel where a glass of orange juice costs $16.

      • It’s the same thing here. It’s the Liberal sense of entitlement. Here we have a guy who was making $200,000/yr, sold his home for a $600,000 profit, yet he see’s no problem charging taxpayers $72,000 to move down the street.

        The problem is that Liberals feel they should avail themselves to any taxpayer funds that are available to them at any given time, regardless of weather or not they need them. It’s about Liberals enriching themselves on the backs of taxpayers.

        • Oh you conservatives. Always attacking the wealthy and successful in our society.

          • Well they’ve already alienated the military and police. They’re running out of members of their base to attack. All they have left is the morons and if they attacked them they’d have no one left.

        • You are completely unaware of the commonly understood meaning of the word “sane”.

          • crap, meant ‘same’, as used in ‘same thing’

          • No, no, you were right . Sane….

      • Show me which rule she broke (other than trying to expense the fine, if that’s what she did).

        You’re making my point for me.

        I’m not defending Oda. She was an entitled leech, an example of everything that’s wrong with a public servant sucking on the public teat, and I’m glad she’s gone. There’s a couple of other Conservatives I’d like to see follow her out the door, like Clement.

        But when her behaviour was under scrutiny, where were the guys like Wherry to come out and say “What rule did she break” like we’re doing now for our Liberal good-guy friend?

        At the end of the day, normal people look at a $72K cost to move down the street and they are appalled, just like they are when they hear someone put a $16 orange juice on the public tab. But the media response, along with all the partisans here, is not “look at this egregious waste”…it’s “what did this guy do wrong”?

        It’s easy to see why Andrew Leslie is running as a Liberal. If I were going into politics (don’t worry, I’m not :)), and had a $72K public moving expense hiding in my background, I know what party banner I’d want to run under.

        • How exactly did he hide this expense, John? Did he try to misrepresent it somehow? Did he make any effort to keep it from the public?

          You go on, and on, and on about bias without every really examining your own. He is a wealthy guy who collected his pay. If his employer paid him too much, then that is on his employer. You would be a damn fool, and he would be too, if either of you started handing back your pay saying, “no, no that’s too much.”

          That’s what you say to your grandmother when she pays you to cut the lawn. Any grown-up professional who pulls that magnanimous crap is a fool.

          I wonder how many of you objected when Vic Toews got his child-bride a job in the government? I don’t remember any outrage over that. Yet, you all get out the worry beads when a rich guy collects his pay earned honestly and honourably over a 35 year career.

          Sad.

          • You do realize it’s not just partisans making this argument right? Other veterans are saying he should not have claimed these expenses, and that it was a matter of judgement and optics.

          • You do realize you failed to address his question, right?

            Facts are not based on popular opinion. Whether or not other veterans are saying this has nothing to do with the question posed here, which is how did Leslie hide this expense.

          • Leslie’s & Oda’s expenses were both uncovered the same way. Access to Information.

          • He was following a written procedure was he not? – the dollar value of his home elevated the expense.
            Speaking as a member of the undecided, uneducated, common folk here- we know our grocery prices, and we know house prices too. I think the Veteran gets a pass.

          • Except you claimed Leslie hid his expenses. By your response here I assume you realize you were wrong to say that.

            If only you would admit it…

        • I’m actually not 100% sure that there’s a rule that says if you get fined by a hotel for smoking you can’t get reimbursed for the fine (’cause, who would think you’d need to write that rule?), However, she did put in a claim that included the fine.

          I do see your general point though, but I still think there’s a difference in culpability. Let’s say neither person “broke a rule”. On the one hand, you have a person who was eligible to use a relocation service to help with his moving expenses, and even though he could afford to move without using the service, he decided to take advantage of the service offered to him nonetheless. On the other hand is a person travelling to a conference who decided that the 5 star hotel that the conference was being held at wasn’t the 5 star hotel that she wanted to stay at, so she checked in to a more expensive one. Then she hired a limo on top of that to shuttle her between the hotel where the conference was and the hotel that she decided to stay at.

          Surely you can see how one act is more egregious than the other.

          • Yes, he was simply following a process set in place by his employer. People can relate to that.

    • Conservatives are scrutinized and held to account whereas Liberals are entitled to their entitlements, and their compatriots in the media routinely circle the wagons for them.
      That alone should be reason enough for the average Canadian to vote conservative. If you want a government with their feet held to the fire, don’t bother voting Liberal.

      • To be fair though some require the added inducement of a $70,000 backhander.

      • “…whereas Liberals are entitled to their entitlements…”

        No, gainfully employed individuals are entitled to their contractually derived benefits. These, of course, are earned through service over time.

        Obviously, to most, this would include career soldiers (whose service and sacrifice is, let’s face it, greater than the average VP at a mid-level O&G firm earning the same salary, whose hands are as soft as chamois).

        But, apparently, the minute you step outside the preferred narrative of ‘We’re for the soldiers, and they are for us’, it’s clobberin’ time. (But, typing from your data bunker in Utah, you’d never know that would you? What with your chamois hands n’ all. Callouses on typin’ fingers do not count, Keyboard Kommando!)

        This government, whether Nicholson or Fantino or Clement, has completely untethered itself from any reality regarding the military, past or present, to an extent that their patriotic bleatings may only be heard by the truly stupid among us.

        • I was in the CF during the Chretien era. I never thought a government could treat the CF and its veterans worse than the Chretien government. How wrong I was.

    • It is actually pretty easy.

      Leslie was entitled to this as a benefit of his employment. “Breaking rules” is not even relevant here. It was a benefit – he was entitled to it.

      The Senators were not entitled to first class airfare for them and/or their spouses, and Oda was not entitled to a glass of orange juice.

      A more apt comparison is the pensions that MPs receive – it is a benefit they are entitled to as a term of their employment. Or Harper getting to live at 24 Sussex. Seriously – that place is a mansion! He should turn it down…

      • The Senators were not entitled to first class airfare for them and/or their spouses

        Liar. They absolutely are. It’s in the Senate travel policy.

        • What do you know. I checked and you are actually right about that being in the policy.

          Now, I am going to give you a little life lesson John. If the tables were turned, and it was you who made this mistake, and I pointed it out, you would slither away and fail to acknowledge your error.

          I on the other hand (now this is the lesson part), am honest enough to acknowledge when I have made a mistake and be accountable for that (get it – accountable! I know, I know, you are a conservative and I should not expect you to be accountable).

          So yes, I read the policy, and it does say a senator may fly first class. So I was wrong about that. The policy also cautions the senators to use restraint and to remember these are public funds, but I digress.

          I think you have failed to get my point, however. My point is that having the move paid for was one of the benefits of his army career. It is far more in line with a pension (as it is a perk granted upon retirement) than it is in line with traveling expenses (incurred while in the employ of the government).

          In any event, I would hope that even you could see the difference between someone who put his life on the line for his country and someone enjoying a patronage appointment. This is not about breaking the rules. I don’t think anyone claimed they broke the rules. This is about abusing their privileges as Senators, as opposed to collecting on one of the retirement benefits accorded to him after years of service.

          • I would hope that even you could see the difference between someone who put his life on the line for his country and someone enjoying a patronage appointment.

            Of course I do. Has nothing to do with it.

            This is about abusing their privileges as Senators

            Why is following the documented IRP program “collecting a benefit accorded to him” but following the documented travel policy “abusing their privileges”?

            Why is taking a $2K flight that the rules say you are allowed to take “abusing their privileges”? but claiming $70K the rules say you are allowed to take “collecting a benefit”?

            I’ll ask again…is it because they aren’t soldiers? Or because they aren’t Liberals?

          • Actually, it has everything to do with it. You are questioning why all the media attention on the senators, and the condemnation from the rest of us, while the media and the rest of us are largely supporting Leslie.

            The big difference is that the Senate has been exposed over and over again, particularly lately, as a place where people abuse their positions, and spend too much of the public’s money. Whether or not that is a fair perception (and I happen to think it is), it is the perception.

            Last I heard there was no big scandal involving retired generals using the retirement benefit accorded to them to move to the same city. At least not when all those other generals did it. It only became an issue when the retired general who is an advisor Trudeau did it.

            Get it? The media did not care, and the government did not care, until a liberal did it.

            Again, it is not that hard.

  10. “What precisely can Mr. Leslie be said to have done wrong here?”

    Apparently, join the Liberal Party—since this program doesn’t appear to have been a problem for Mr. Nicholson until he did so.

  11. Is there not a total of 3 tracts here Mr. Wherry?

    I’m uneasy with the role the Defense Department has played in this, for two reasons:

    1) When has a Minister ever attacked a civilian in this manner? His actions are disgraceful and bring disgrace to the Defense Department.

    2) Who leaked it to CTV?

    • It’s very telling that whenever a bad news Liberal story breaks, the first question a lot of Liberals think to ask is “how did the media get this”?

      • This is news about a retirement benefit – those of us who wish our financial dealings to remain private are quite likely to ask how the story leaked – seems only natural to want to understand the process, no?

  12. I wonder how many of those rich people who collect Harper’s “Child Tax Benefit that goes to anyone no matter how rich they are” have refused it, because, you know, they can afford to raise their children without it, and maybe the government should not be giving tax dollars to rich people to raise their kids.

  13. It’s interesting to me to see all of my friends in the conservative camp arguing that even though Leslie was legally entitled to take advantage of this service, he shouldn’t have, because he’s well off enough to have paid for everything himself. And then further, that maybe now we should change the program such that people of a certain level of wealth no longer qualify for it.

    Where were these arguments, I wonder, when people were pointing out that income splitting would see 60% of the tax benefits going to the top 5% of earners? I don’t seem to remember too many conservative commenters here saying “these people don’t need this money, why are we giving it too them?”. In fact, they were arguing precisely the opposite – that rich people pay more taxes to begin with, so why shouldn’t they get more of the benefits? I wonder too where all of these conservative voices will be when a discussion comes up about why we’re giving government subsidies and tax breaks to profitable private companies? Will they argue that profitable companies don’t need the money, so why are we giving it to them? Should there be some oil and gas companies looking over their shoulders? I wonder if Leslie’s biggest mistake in all of this wasn’t joining the Liberals, but failing to have himself incorporated before he moved.

  14. Morning all,

    I see that the moderator is once again selectively removing my posts. As a result, this will be my last post here. Nice chatting with you all over the years. Caio

    • :(

      I will miss you

  15. Military families have to move constantly based on operational requirements. In my family the average was once every five years. My grandfather moved no less than 12 times over his career–sometimes every two years–serving all around the world.

    These movement allowances are not just important, but an outright obligation on the government to fund. Sorry, but if you’re asking people to accept the incredibly difficult terms of a military career, then you pay for the requirements of those terms.

    Whether Leslie moved five feet or five thousand miles, the cost is on the military. Period. End of story.

    This is just another example of the lack of class and respect the Conservative party has for anyone or anything it deems a political target, or even convenient scapegoat. For me though, treating Canadians as “collateral damage” is a sickening way to behave.

    • Glad you declared it end of story. The rest of us will follow it to the real end of story. I have military relatives. They did not get a 72k farewell gift. Apparently only the special ones get the special gifts.

      • Hopelessly and blindly partisan as always eh SCF?

        Every military person who’s had to move repeatedly over their lives has EASILY racked up these kind of expenses and more, as again, most of this money is going to fees that come with selling and moving one’s home.
        Want to debate the point?

        • You said the story is over. Now you want to debate? What’s to debate if there is no story?

  16. Note that neither of General Leslie’s residences is near the riding where he wants to run. Given the general dissatisfaction towards the sitting Conservative member of Ottawa-Orleans, I wonder if it is the right strategy for the Liberals to parachute someone who does not understand the needs of the riding. Why does one wonder why voter turnout is falling?

  17. Pingback: Peter MacKay and the trouble with women

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