The news that McKenna paid a French photographer $$6,600 to record her pedestrian activities at last year’s COP21 climate change conference should surely induce mild nausea.
But even more perturbing are the excuses being offered for this waste of taxpayer money during a week of environmental theatre in Paris. Some government department now calling itself Environment and Climate Change Canada actually had the audacity to suggest that procuring a photographer on-scene illustrated the laudable frugality of this minister because it was cheaper to do so than bringing one over from Canada.
But McKenna’s own industrious PR staff went one better.
Responding via email, Caitlin Workman wrote, “Photos, like press releases, social media and other communications tools, are a way to communicate to Canadians the work the government is doing on their behalf.”
Sure — and you could have taken those photos with your iPhone.
Remember that name. Workman has obviously mastered the arduous task of making sense out of nonsense and logic out of insanity. Now, if she can repeat this blather in front of a camera she will go far in the Parliamentary non-communications bureaucracy.
Well, call it audacious, creative or just plain delusional — this behavior is emblematic of a very inauspicious government. You have to marvel at just how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s quota cabinet — where he put a premium on gender parity — is next going to demonstrate its gaping inexperience and complete disregard for the average Canadian.
You will recall the discriminating tastes of Health Minister Jane Philpott, who thought the rigors of her job justified $1,900 limo rides and — as we have just learned — annual membership in Air Canada’s VIP lounge, so this minister of entitlement could adequately prepare for the terrible strain of air travel.
Of course, you may object and suggest that this kind of spending is inconsequential when compared to the obscene waste that occurs within government.
Perhaps so, if (in tribute to McKenna’s enthusiasm for photography) we frame the picture very tightly. But draw back and consider what might be termed the reverse good-steward parable. Just as we can demonstrate a propensity for great responsibility in the example we set in small exchanges, so can some relatively minor excesses in government business portend one’s capability of misusing taxpayer monies in a monumental fashion.
I’m sure everybody’s favorite tax-burden, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, began her tax-and-spend political life this way.
Obviously, we can all remember the previous Conservative government being guilty of outrageous expense claims. When minister Bev Oda ordered that $16 glass of orange juice, she secured her membership in the bilking-the-taxpayers hall of fame.
But what concerns me most about the McKenna incident is not just the absurdity of hiring a photographer to catch all those hero shots at a global conference when any staffer could do as well, but that these Grits are so utterly convinced of the righteousness of their environmental cause that they stumble at the very notion of an apology. You can do no wrong when you are fighting the climate change war!
These are ominous rumblings from a cabinet that is both awesome in its inexperience and arrogance and might well prove to be the first whispers of doom for the Trudeau government.
August 24th 2016