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Five-Star Hotel Not Good Enough, Bev Oda Opts For Posh Hotel Favoured By Royalty


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#1 Satan's Evil Twin

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 05:38 PM

Five-star hotel not good enough, Bev Oda opts for posh hotel favoured by royalty
Published On Mon Apr 23 2012

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International Development Minister Bev Oda, at a donors conference in England last year, Oda has been criticized for champagne tastes in the past. In 2006, she used limousines to ferry her to and from the Juno Awards ceremony in Halifax. When the expenses were criticized in the House of Commons, she said she had reimbursed the taxpayer $2,200 of the $5,475 in bills.

BEN FISHER/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Jennifer DitchburnThe Canadian Press


OTTAWA—It seems only the best will do for International Development Minister Bev Oda, who refused to stay at one five-star hotel in London, England, last year and rebooked at a swanky establishment for more than double the cost.
Oda was originally supposed to stay at the Grange St. Paul’s Hotel, site of the conference on international immunizations she was attending.
Instead, she had staff rebook her into the posh Savoy overlooking the Thames, an old favourite of royalty and currently owned by Prince Alwaleed of Saudi Arabia.
The switcheroo is reminiscent of a controversial trip six years ago, when Oda rejected a minivan for transportation and opted for a limousine instead.
Oda had a luxury car and driver in London shuttling her between conference site, her new hotel and beyond at an average cost of nearly $1,000 a day.
The bill for three nights at the Savoy last June set back taxpayers $1,995, or $665 a night. The government still had to pay for a night at the hotel she rejected, costing an additional $287.
An orange juice Oda expensed from the Savoy cost $16.
In last month’s budget, the Canadian International Development Agency suffered cuts that rang in this year at $380 million.
“The minister preferred not to stay at the Grange St. Paul’s upon our arrival there and we had to pay,” says a note on an expense sheet.
Documents on the trip were obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.
Oda’s spokesman, Justin Broekema, originally told The Canadian Press he could not comment on “specific accommodation arrangements for the minister”.
On Monday he told the Star that Oda “personally paid the portion of the expenses in question”.
Broekema did not immediately answer follow-up questions regarding which portion of the cost that would be, or explain how that information was missing from the documents.
“The Minister considers the most appropriate, cost-effective travel and accommodations—in compliance with Treasury Board Guidelines. Expenses incurred followed these guidelines,” Broekema wrote Monday. “Our government, including this Minister, has reduced spending on travel and hospitality and overall Ministerial office budgets.”
New Democrat MP and Opposition House Leader Nathan Cullen said he could not think of anything that would justify Oda staying at the Savoy.
“Can a night at the Savoy be justified? I suppose if you’re in a high-flying rock band, but as a minister who is meant to be engaging with the world’s most poor, most needy, and coming from a government that is demanding that Canadians tighten their own belts, the hypocrisy is reeking,” Cullen told reporters on Monday morning. “It is incredible, particularly a minister who has already been through this. . . I’m not sure that Canadians will be satisfied with that level of hypocrisy coming from this government as they cut essential services like pensions and food security.”
A political staffer travelling with Oda stayed at the cheaper hotel, which is no shack — it features views of St. Paul’s Cathedral, an enormous glass atrium, four restaurants and five bars.
A chauffeur drove Oda around the city at a cost of $2,850 over three days. On the first day of the conference, the Canadian government paid for the car to be on call for 15 hours. The Savoy is two kilometres from the Grange.
John Alan of John Alan’s Car Service said he couldn’t recall which kind of car Oda used, but said his cars were in the Mercedes or BMW range.
While in London, Oda represented Canada at a donors conference for the GAVI Alliance, a global health organization that works to immunize children in poor countries. Canada has given $253 million to GAVI since 2001. Microsoft chairman and philanthropist Bill Gates attended the conference, as well as British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Oda has been criticized for champagne tastes in the past.
In 2006, she used limousines to ferry her to and from the Juno Awards ceremony in Halifax, racking up $5,475 in bills. When the expenses were criticized in the House of Commons, she said she had reimbursed the taxpayer $2,200 of the bill.
A year later, Oda billed taxpayers more than $1,200 for another limousine ride that took her to both a government event and a party activity. The NDP cried foul when those expenses were not spelled out in the government’s public disclosures.
With files from Joanna Smith
http://www.thestar.c...ured-by-royalty


Bev Oda repays extra money spent on posh hotel


OTTAWA — The orange juice was too expensive after all.

International Development Minister Bev Oda has reimbursed taxpayers for the extra money she cost them by upgrading from a five-star hotel to an even fancier one while attending a conference in London, England last year.

The Canadian Press reported Monday that Oda turned her nose up at her original $287-a-night reservation last June at the posh Grange St. Paul’s Hotel, which was hosting a donors conference on international immunization that she and notables such as Microsoft chairman Bill Gates were attending.

There, according to the hotel website, the conference tables are adorned with silver candelabras, the plush white bathrobes are monogrammed, the spa includes a traditional Turkish bath and the windows overlook the gorgeous St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Not good enough, apparently, for the Canadian minister responsible for delivering humanitarian aid to the poorest countries in the world through the Canadian International Development Agency, which the federal budget announced last month showed will undergo $319 million in spending cuts by 2014-15.

Oda had her staff rebook her into the Savoy, an even more luxurious hotel ($665 a night) overlooking the Thames that has hosted such stars as Frank Sinatra, Claude Monet, Charlie Chaplin and royalty.

Switching from the Grange to the Savoy cost taxpayers an additional $1,134 for the three nights, plus an additional $287 because the government lost its one-night deposit at the hotel she rejected.

Oda also expensed a $16 glass of orange juice from the Savoy.

“The minister preferred not to stay at the Grange St. Paul’s upon our arrival there and we had to pay,” says a note on an expense sheet obtained by The Canadian Press.

A chauffeur also drove Oda around the city in a luxury car, including to and from the Savoy to the site of the conference at the less expensive hotel, which cost the government $2,850 over three days.

Ten months later — after the story broke and caused uproar — Oda paid some of the money back.

“The minister personally paid the portion of the expenses in question,” her press secretary, Justin Broekema, wrote in an email on Monday afternoon after noting that the expenses were repaid in compliance with Treasury Board guidelines. “The repayment occurred this morning, and covered the difference in cost between the two hotels, and the cancellation fee.”

Broekema later added that Oda also shelled out for the orange juice.

Nothing was said about the car and driver.

New Democrat Leader Thomas Mulcair noted Oda repaid the money only after her expense claims became public.

“There doesn’t seem to have been any sincerity in the reparation effort,” Mulcair told reporters Monday following question period in the Commons, where Oda was absent. “It seems to be more damage control than an honest application of the rules.”

Mulcair also noted Oda has been in trouble for lavish spending before, sparking criticism from the opposition for charging taxpayers with thousands of dollars in limousine rides in both 2006 and 2007.

Liberal MP and ethics critic Scott Andrews suggested during question period that Oda switched rooms because she could not get a smoking room at the original hotel.

Neither of the two London hotels would comment on the particulars of Oda’s reservations on Monday, but employees at both establishments told the Star that smoking rooms are available upon request.

Broekema did not answer questions about why Oda switched hotels.

http://www.thestar.c...t-on-posh-hotel

Edited by Scorpio Ego, 23 April 2012 - 05:40 PM.

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#2 Buddhas Hand

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 06:23 PM

all through the howard years over here in australia we promised to give .3% of our gdp in foreign aid and we could not even manage to give .1%, and now the gillard government is introducing more cuts to our foreign aid spending . we have one of the highest standards of living in the world and we cannot even manage to give .3 percent our wealth to people who in a lot of cases have absolutely nothing .
on a side note australia lost one of its most idealistic politicians last week , bob brown leader of the greens retired , his fight for our enviroment , for groups of people who had no mainstream voice will be sorely missed .even though i did not agree with all his policies and views [most of them i did ] he was the only politician who was in parliament who was there becuase he genuinely cared for the australian people and the enviroment we live in .

Edited by puckinloveicehockey, 23 April 2012 - 06:23 PM.

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#3 Truculence

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 10:16 PM

The Cons sure are getting good at damage control after they get caught being unethical hypocrites.

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#4 morrissex95

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 10:19 PM

Bev Oda should resign, she's been doing this kinda sh!t for years.
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#5 The Situation

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 10:51 PM

I doubt she is going to get fired. She is both a woman and native, two demographics Harper is desperately trying to appeal to. Also, she is from Ontario.
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#6 Bob.Loblaw

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 02:02 AM

I doubt she is going to get fired. She is both a woman and native, two demographics Harper is desperately trying to appeal to. Also, she is from Ontario.


Wow, did you just say that because she kinda looks Native? Don't be a douche, she's definitely Japanese Canadian. ODA.

You're probably thinking about Leona Aglukkaq.

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#7 The Situation

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 10:11 AM

Wow, did you just say that because she kinda looks Native? Don't be a douche, she's definitely Japanese Canadian. ODA.

You're probably thinking about Leona Aglukkaq.

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My bad, I didn't know she was Japanese. I still think she is going to stay in cabinet because of the same reason Maxime Bernier returned to cabinet. She is representing a small and underrepresented part of the Conservative caucus. Also, Harper has a majority so he doesn't really care.
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#8 Bob.Loblaw

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 11:09 AM

My bad, I didn't know she was Japanese. I still think she is going to stay in cabinet because of the same reason Maxime Bernier returned to cabinet. She is representing a small and underrepresented part of the Conservative caucus. Also, Harper has a majority so he doesn't really care.


Perhaps, and that's definitely the case for Aglukkaq (Minister of Health) now that I think about it.

Who is she representing, though? I don't know if the Japanese Canadian population is a strong political unit. They're just more pronounced because of their history. Population-wise, they're puny.

#9 Amaneey

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 12:37 PM

What a disgrace, it's disgusting see hard-earned tax payer dollars going to waste like this. Just makes you think how much more waste is occurring. The sense of entitlement some public servants display is appalling.

#10 Carpe Diem

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 01:07 PM

i don't think any serious person can defend her.

I mean, her original hotel WAS A FIVE STAR HOTEL AT THE CONFERENCE CENTER ITSELF. I mean, she is supposed to be there to work, right?

this is just pure bull.

#11 DonLever

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 01:26 PM

The Cons sure are getting good at damage control after they get caught being unethical hypocrites.


Well, every political party in the World has this sort of feeding at the trough. It does not matter if if is left or right. They ALL do it.

It is called entitlement.

And to call out on the Conservatives shows your bias. If it happened to a left wing party it would be just as hyprocritical becasue they are suppose to represent the underclass.

#12 Carpe Diem

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 01:45 PM

Well, every political party in the World has this sort of feeding at the trough. It does not matter if if is left or right. They ALL do it.

It is called entitlement.

And to call out on the Conservatives shows your bias. If it happened to a left wing party it would be just as hyprocritical becasue they are suppose to represent the underclass.


Seriously?

:rolleyes:

#13 Kumquats

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 02:00 PM

White people problems..

#14 ronthecivil

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 02:08 PM

Pretty douchey but in the grand scheme of things it's really a drop in the bucket. Granted this type of material needs to be nipped in the bud but giving this more than a brief condemnation is more about scoring political points than running the country. It's not like there aren't legitimate issues that need to be addressed!

#15 Buggernut

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 02:23 PM

Pretty douchey but in the grand scheme of things it's really a drop in the bucket. Granted this type of material needs to be nipped in the bud but giving this more than a brief condemnation is more about scoring political points than running the country. It's not like there aren't legitimate issues that need to be addressed!


That's kind of like saying police shouldn't pay attention to traffic violations when there are murders to be solved.

This kind of arrogance, selfishness and sense of entitlement is what dictators are made of. She's pushing in that direction.

Government is supposed to be about servitude and accountability, not power and indulgence.

Edited by Buggernut, 24 April 2012 - 02:23 PM.


#16 ronthecivil

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 03:42 PM

That's kind of like saying police shouldn't pay attention to traffic violations when there are murders to be solved.

This kind of arrogance, selfishness and sense of entitlement is what dictators are made of. She's pushing in that direction.

Government is supposed to be about servitude and accountability, not power and indulgence.


I agree. But the solution isn't to spend a week talking about it (which costs way more than the indulgence itself). It's to make her submit all her receipts and have them gone over. You know, be forced to justify her costs, like any other employee.

Ensure compliance? Sure. Spend a week trying to score political points? Equally bad use of time.

#17 Satan's Evil Twin

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 04:18 PM

I agree. But the solution isn't to spend a week talking about it (which costs way more than the indulgence itself). It's to make her submit all her receipts and have them gone over. You know, be forced to justify her costs, like any other employee.

Ensure compliance? Sure. Spend a week trying to score political points? Equally bad use of time.


The story broke yesterday, and you're complaining about spending a week on it for political points? Dafuq? Most people complain that nobody pays attention to what our politicians do, you're complaining that it may be paid too much attention. :picard:

This needs as much attention as it takes to get her to resign. Once she's outside the government, we should stop talking about it. You want accountability? Talk about people you want held accountable until they are.

The amount of money is not the issue. Maybe one day we'll have political discourse where holding a politician's feet to fire is not considered scoring political points, but having a responsible government. :sadno:

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#18 MANGO

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 05:09 PM

If the motel 6 is not good enough....fricken fire her. ANYONE can go to a confrence and say nothing about something and do nothing about something. Politicains are so outta touch with reality. Families are hungry, people need jobs, basic services are being cut, while these people wipe their arse with hundred dollar bills.




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#19 Satan's Evil Twin

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 05:21 PM

Bev Oda: Overconfidence

by Paul Wells on Monday, April 23, 2012 12:48pm - 97 Comments



Posted Image
Ben Fisher/CP Images

A very large number of the Canadians who have voted Conservative for the last four elections in a row would be pleased if they could spend $16 on orange juice in a month. So don’t tell me there is no reason to raise an eyebrow over Bev Oda’s decision to walk out on a reservation at the Grange St. Paul’s and check into the Savoy instead, where by all accounts they serve the really good stuff with breakfast.

Last autumn I defended Peter MacKay for staying at a posh Munich hotel during a security conference. My entire point was that the hotel he stayed at was the conference venue. Security delays, and missed schmoozing in the wings, would impose genuine opportunity cost on any minister who stayed anywhere else. So what’s striking about Oda is that she didn’t rack up her bill staying at the conference venue: she racked it up fleeing the conference venue for someplace nicer. Incidentally, this is what a room at the hotel she fled looks like:

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But here’s the interesting question: Why on Earth would Bev Oda behave any differently?

The most significant detail in Jennifer Ditchburn’s CP story is that Oda went on this little cross-town escapade in June of 2011.

Let’s travel into the head of Canada’s Conservatives in June of 2011.

They had just spent half a year being hammered in the House of Commons by — ah, nostalgia — the Michael Ignatieff Liberals for improper respect toward Parliamentarians and the Canadian taxpayer. One item of contention was the memo-writing habits of Bev Oda. She got to sit in her very comfortable chair for week after week after week while handy helpers — John Baird, Pierre Poilievre, sometimes even Stephen Harper himself — stood up to cover for her. It was sometimes written that Oda was “in hot water” over her actions. But this was comical. The water wasn’t hot. She wasn’t in water of any temperature at all. She didn’t even have to do her own standing. And when it was over, Michael Ignatieff pulled the plug on an election, and the voters of Canada descended on him like villagers with torches. The Conservative party was richly rewarded. Bev Oda’s share of the vote in her riding increased.

And two weeks after the election, everybody trooped off to Rideau Hall, where Oda, described by the CBC as “embattled minister” — embattled? What? She’s got the Prime Minister of Canada to do her standing up for her — got her old job back.

And two weeks after that, she didn’t like the Grange. Why would she have to settle? Why would she throw caution anywhere except to the wind? She did what she did and her party did better and she did better and the PM gave her her job back. There’s no orange juice too good to celebrate the way that must feel.

http://www2.macleans...overconfidence/


Yeah, no, let's just shut up about it.


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Father (Peace be upon You) Satan (Peace be upon You), I call to you (Peace be upon You) from the deepest parts of my heart, I praise your (Peace be upon You) name with every breath of my body, I worship you (Peace be upon You) with every fiber of my being. You (Peace be upon You) shown me what true strength is. You (Peace be upon You) have shown me what true love is. Out of the darkness you (Peace be upon You) came to show me the true light.


My master (Peace be upon You), my father (Peace be upon You) and my friend (Peace be upon You) what a great gift that is.


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#20 ronthecivil

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 08:03 AM

The story broke yesterday, and you're complaining about spending a week on it for political points? Dafuq? Most people complain that nobody pays attention to what our politicians do, you're complaining that it may be paid too much attention. :picard:

This needs as much attention as it takes to get her to resign. Once she's outside the government, we should stop talking about it. You want accountability? Talk about people you want held accountable until they are.

The amount of money is not the issue. Maybe one day we'll have political discourse where holding a politician's feet to fire is not considered scoring political points, but having a responsible government. :sadno:


By all means have her submit her receipts with justification from now on. Resignation is over the top. Discipline in the form of higher scrutiny is fine. That should be the end of it is all I am saying.

There are FAR BIGGER PROBLEMS in the country right now that cost wise are not on the scale of the Hotel Room, or even buying the whole hotel. They are on the scale of the guy that owns said Hotel and his whole family.........

#21 Satan's Evil Twin

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 08:09 AM

By all means have her submit her receipts with justification from now on. Resignation is over the top. Discipline in the form of higher scrutiny is fine. That should be the end of it is all I am saying.

There are FAR BIGGER PROBLEMS in the country right now that cost wise are not on the scale of the Hotel Room, or even buying the whole hotel. They are on the scale of the guy that owns said Hotel and his whole family.........


SURELY WE CAN TALK AND WALK.

I don't think it's over the top, given her previous conduct. We're not talking about a freshman (err, freshwoman?) MP who put a lunch on the people's tab. We're talking about a minister whose lack of respect for her constituents allows her to upgrade to an even more lavish hotel than the 5-star where her conference takes place, to pay for it with your tax money, in the government of budget cuts and austerity. And you think she should keep her job? It's not the money but the actions that are deserving of losing her job.

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Father (Peace be upon You) Satan (Peace be upon You), I call to you (Peace be upon You) from the deepest parts of my heart, I praise your (Peace be upon You) name with every breath of my body, I worship you (Peace be upon You) with every fiber of my being. You (Peace be upon You) shown me what true strength is. You (Peace be upon You) have shown me what true love is. Out of the darkness you (Peace be upon You) came to show me the true light.


My master (Peace be upon You), my father (Peace be upon You) and my friend (Peace be upon You) what a great gift that is.


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#22 Buggernut

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 10:02 AM

By all means have her submit her receipts with justification from now on. Resignation is over the top. Discipline in the form of higher scrutiny is fine. That should be the end of it is all I am saying.

There are FAR BIGGER PROBLEMS in the country right now that cost wise are not on the scale of the Hotel Room, or even buying the whole hotel. They are on the scale of the guy that owns said Hotel and his whole family.........


Wouldn't you get fired from your job if you stole the equivalent of that amount from your work?

#23 The Situation

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 10:07 AM

Wouldn't you get fired from your job if you stole the equivalent of that amount from your work?


Oh but according to Ron, its not a big deal if you work for a huge corporation where the money you stole is only a drop in the bucket.
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#24 VancouverHabitant

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 10:37 AM

Well, every political party in the World has this sort of feeding at the trough. It does not matter if if is left or right. They ALL do it.

It is called entitlement.

And to call out on the Conservatives shows your bias. If it happened to a left wing party it would be just as hyprocritical becasue they are suppose to represent the underclass.



So by your logic, if little Timmy and Stuey were in a living room, and Timmy went ahead and threw your dog out the 10th story balcony, you would say "Don't blame Timmy, this could've happened to Stuey as well"


It's a sad world where politicians just play games with people's heads to the point where people (like DonLever) are willing to turn the blind eye just because their vote already went to the party and they feel entitled to defend actions that they would otherwise deem unacceptable.
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#25 ronthecivil

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 11:13 AM

SURELY WE CAN TALK AND WALK.

I don't think it's over the top, given her previous conduct. We're not talking about a freshman (err, freshwoman?) MP who put a lunch on the people's tab. We're talking about a minister whose lack of respect for her constituents allows her to upgrade to an even more lavish hotel than the 5-star where her conference takes place, to pay for it with your tax money, in the government of budget cuts and austerity. And you think she should keep her job? It's not the money but the actions that are deserving of losing her job.


Hopefully she pays for it in the polls.

If she resigns then we have a by election which will cost even more money.

Keep a hawk eye going, submit all receipts, and let her fate be decided.

I really don't care if she does resign but I find it funny we worry about a couple grand on a hotel room yet remain oblivious to the country teetering towards a massive recession/depression..........

http://www2.macleans...housing-bubble/

When the credit bubble pops (housing bubble is the least of our problems) the cons are going to have bigger problems then overindulging on hotel rooms!

#26 ronthecivil

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 11:21 AM

Wouldn't you get fired from your job if you stole the equivalent of that amount from your work?


Sure but this isn't stealing. She did need a hotel to stay in.

It's definitely excessive though.

#27 ronthecivil

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 11:24 AM

Oh but according to Ron, its not a big deal if you work for a huge corporation where the money you stole is only a drop in the bucket.


If you were in the head of a large corporation not only would you be staying in swanky places like that you would get ten times the salary.

#28 Buggernut

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 11:51 AM

If you were in the head of a large corporation not only would you be staying in swanky places like that you would get ten times the salary.


But that would be an internal matter for the company itself.

In her case, her travel expenses are on the public dime.

#29 Snake Doctor

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 11:59 AM

I never liked her and feel she is more of a cancer to the economy than a positive influence.
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#30 ronthecivil

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 01:42 PM

But that would be an internal matter for the company itself.

In her case, her travel expenses are on the public dime.


Sure. That's why we have an auditor general. That's why she is being made to pay it back. You can bet the level of scrutiny will be kept up.




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