Rathgeber backstab: Whodunit?

Exactly which Conservatives voted to mutilate that Rathgeber private member’s bill, anyway?


Colleague Wherry’s account of last night’s Conservative committee castration of Brent Rathgeber’s private member’s bill, which would have allowed disclosure of the salaries of civil servants who earn more than Members of Parliament, is essential and very nearly complete. Very very nearly. The fatal motion, sponsored by the Conservatives on the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics and passed by means of their seven-member majority, altered the text of Rathgeber’s bill so that the cutoff for annual earnings disclosure was raised specifically to the maximum earnings of a deputy minister (a figure said to be in the neighbourhood of $444,000). Where Rathgeber had intended to allow the public to gain a broad view of the earnings of many or most senior civil servants, along the lines of Ontario’s annual Sunshine List, his fellow Conservative MPs altered the bill so that very possibly nobody at all would actually be forced to disclose salary, bonuses, and other income.

If anyone wants to ask what they meant by this action, it might be of some use to have a list of those seven Conservatives. The sponsor of the amendment was Mississauga-Streetsville MP Brad Butt, who proudly read the text, joking that he wanted “people back home to think that I really do work here.” (Mr. Butt believes that “serving in public office should be the highest calling and treating taxpayer money with respect sacrosanct at all times.”) The other permanent Conservative members of the committee are Patricia Davidson (Sarnia-Lambton); Blaine Calkins (Wetaskiwin); Earl Dreeshen (Red Deer); John Carmichael (Don Valley West); Dean Del Mastro (Peterborough); and Colin Mayes (Okanagan-Shuswap). But not all were present for this particular occasion, and associate members filled in, according to the usual custom. The Huffington Post’s Althia Raj named the names of those who actually wielded the knives late yesterday: Dave MacKenzie (Oxford); Ted Opitz (Etobicoke Centre); Costas Menegakis (Richmond Hill); Butt; Carmichael; Davidson; and Chris Warkentin (Peace River).


Rathgeber backstab: Whodunit?

  1. Politics is a dirty business.

  2. This comment was deleted.

    • Replace him with Mayor Hazel; then a week later, when she has fixed Parliament, she can come back and be Mayor again.

  3. “…. who proudly read the text, joking that he wanted “people back home to think that I really do work here.”

    Emma Goldman – Anarchism:

    “All voting,” says Thoreau, “is a sort of gaming, like checkers, or backgammon, a playing with right and wrong; its obligation never exceeds that of expediency. Even voting for the right thing is doing nothing for it. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority.” A close examination of the machinery of politics and its achievements will bear out the logic of Thoreau.

    What does the history of parliamentarism show?

    It may be claimed that men of integrity would not become corrupt in the political grinding mill. Perhaps not; but such men would be absolutely helpless to exert the slightest influence in behalf of labor, as indeed has been shown in numerous instances. The State is the economic master of its servants. Good men, if such there be, would either remain true to their political faith and lose their economic support, or they would cling to their economic master and be utterly unable to do the slightest good. The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue.

  4. Private member (“Bill”) not well received by Butt

  5. Apparently the Conservatives aren’t even letting Dean Del Mastro out of hiding to attend committee meetings.

    • He hasn’t been to an Ethics committee meeting for more than a year! Do you know if MPs get paid for being on committees, even if they don’t attend the meetings?

  6. Who cares it’s not like it’s our money…..Hey wait a minute… IT IS OUR MONEY !

  7. Dean, Dean, Dean…..why am I not shocked?

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