What kind of transparency? - Macleans.ca

What kind of transparency?


As Parliament moves slowly, but probably surely, towards some kind of public audit of Parliamentary expenses, the London Free Press asks area MPs if they might turn over their books to the paper. (At least one offers an unequivocal yes.)

Meanwhile, Liberal Rob Oliphant posts a breakdown of his expenses. His is even more detailed than that published by his fellow backbencher Michelle Simson, but it is also perhaps well short of what some are clamouring for.


What kind of transparency?

  1. This is the reaction I'd expect:

    Not good enough! How many trips to Ottawa? What class of seating? Why all the advertising? Why do staff visit Ottawa? $8K in miscellaneous expenses! Shocking, shocking, shocking! Horror! Not good enough!

    Which is to say that I believe the public and the media have developed an insatiable desire for excruciating details of every dime spent by politicians. It's a disease than can't be cured.

    Which is why a reasonable presentation of expenses, such as what Mr. Oliphant released, will not be seen as sufficient. It doesn't satisfy the infantile need people have to feel outraged by whatever politicians do.

    • I don't entirely disagree with this analysis, but I also think that's neither here nor there. The public is entitled to whatever the public wants in this regard. I too think that this may lead to politicians being nickeled and dimed to death, but frankly, if the electorate wants politicians nickeled and dimed to death that's their prerogative. I may disagree, but I don't think I'm in a majority.

      I do hold up some hope that the public wouldn't sweat the small stuff, but frankly, what's REALLY led to the public's insatiable desire to see the books line by line is our politicians' seemingly insatiable collective desire to keep them secret. Every time someone comes up with yet another reason why these expenses shouldn't be publicly audited, it's another reason for people to ask "what are they all so afraid of?".

  2. The article entitled "surely" has quite possibly my favourite line ever: "[T]he Conservatives announced they have a secret plan to provide greater transparency."

    • LOL.

      Remember it. That line has to make some year-end list of political boneheaded statements somewhere.

      How typical of this government too. We're doing a great job for you Canadians, just don't ask us to tell you what it is, we'll tell you when we want you to know.

  3. This, in my opinion, is the kind of journalism that does a lot of good. As voters we have very little power to affect change on an issue like this since it isn't large enough for parties to differentiate themselves by it.

    But put it in the public eye via tenacious journalism and some pressure is brought to bear. Good stuff.