Letters to the Editor: Entitlements repeated through history

Letter to the Editor regarding federal health minister's use to expensive limousines.

Editor:

Revelations about the federal health minister’s use of extremely expensive limousines brought to mind that infamous case of Liberal Minister David Dingwall about a decade ago.

Remember his indignant response to a Commons Committee when questioned on his spending, “I’m entitled to my entitlements.” It seems that’s always been the case with some politicians.

Reports of the latest lamentable limousine lollapalooza revealed that some ministers use them at $145 a trip to get home from the airport, when plebeians make do with a $25 taxi. Then the defence minister used one in California to attend a meeting and visit a busines; that set taxpayers back over $1,500.

It makes you wonder why assistants who always travel with ministers are not driving them in a hired car in such instances.  Here’s hoping the media dig deeper into “Limousine-gate”, and maybe discover this could be the tip of another travel expense iceberg.

Of course, in the crazy world of B.C. politics, things are done on a far grander scale. A few months ago, it was revealed that Premier Christy Clark had racked up over $500,000 in private jet travel expenses in five years.

She claimed to be flying on constituency business to Kelowna, a four hour drive from her home in Vancouver, and well-served by commercial airlines.

It’s not the first time that ministerial air travel has been questioned in B.C. In the 1990s, Ms. Clark’s former Liberal Party mentor Gord Wilson had flipped parties, and was then an NDP Minister when Ms. Clark was opposition critic.

She took him to task for using a helicopter to get to Victoria while other politicians used the ferry. Mr. Wilson’s rejoinder remains emblazoned in the annals of political discourse: “Unlike her, I don’t have a broom to travel on!”

Bernie Smith

Parksville, B.C.