Romans get a bum rap these days, as the cruelest of the cruel. They weren't. They were realists. The US could use a dose of that today. Like the US they lived in a dangerous world, and they took that fact seriously, most of the time, well, until they didn't, and they lost their empire, like the US is slowly loosing its.
But empire-building is not what this post is about. It is about another noble Roman practice: holding government officials accountable. It was very common that after a governor's or even a consul's term in office, he would be tried for wasting public money. Results could be severe: like death severe. If there was one thing Romans took seriously, it was the welfare of Rome. Wasting money undermined that. Both patricians and plebes could agree on that.
Enter former Premier of Ontario Dalton McGuinty. His was the most fantastic bit of robbery since, well, since... I don't think it's comparable to anything else. In sum: trial, seizure of all his personal assets, jail for life. That would send a message, wouldn't it?
Jail for Duffy, Wallin and all the others who treat public money like their own mad money. My rule is jail time at minimum wage rates. Therefore, if you stole $10 of public money, you will spend an hour in jail (minus legal expenses, which, will perhaps add another thousand hours, if your failed defense cost $10,000 public dollars to try you.)
And rewards for thrift. I mean, I have never flown first class before and I don't eat in expensive restaurants. I am by no means a member of the ruling class in Canada. Does flying from Calgary to Ottawa economy constitute unnecessary hardship to a politician? I don't know, but who am I to say? I don't fly 30 times a year nor eat away from home 100 times a year, or whatever. I do know that too much fast food is gross. But, when Bev Oda and Alison Redford pull their shenanigans they are pushing it into the domain of criminal conduct. It's hard to say what constitutes waste, but it's easy to see when someone is going the extra mile for the public. If a politician grabs a burger instead of a $100 lunch, save your receipt, submit it, and receive back 10% of the money you saved the country. Flying economy? $400 versus $1000? You saved the country $600, and so there will be an extra $60 dollars for you every time you do this, with the heart-felt thanks of Joe-Six-pack tax-payer: me!
It's nothing new, having politicians acquire public money for themselves, but it seems epidemic of late. I fear it is due to a loss of objective morality, which dialectical materialism brings. There was a time when the outcry for wasting a billion dollars o
f tax-payer money would have created hysteria. The media party has to realize that if they let their buddies get away with this, public regard for the common good will diminish, and these welfare state-ists don't want that. Simply speaking, if he is allowed to get away with this, what is going to encourage me to actually pay my student loan back and not cheat on my taxes? Fear of consequences? What consequences?
If Duffy gets his free $90,000, Wallin her's, McGuinty his $1 billion, I will feel entitled to my payday. It's as simple as that. If you don't care about public money, I won't either.
If a single Ontarian votes for the Liberal Party, that is the message I will take home, that you don't mind if I don't pay back my government student loan.