Rambling

Malversation — Teddy 2 … Last week we met Teddy Stoddard, an urban legend, and a myth. This week meet a stalwart group you may already…

Malversation — Teddy 2 …

Last week we met Teddy Stoddard, an urban legend, and a myth. This week meet a stalwart group you may already know, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and its “Teddies.”

Would be its revelations were myths, but these honest men and women are uncovering all manner of mischief with our money.

Their Teddy Awards seek out, and reveal the public officials and politicians who they name Canada’s Champions of Pork.

These are “our” employees who waste tax dollars like drunken sailors. With apologies to sailors who are good men and women, some of whom have a spree sometimes but spend their own money.

The CTF mission statement is “to zero in on government waste, over-spending, over-taxation, excessive regulation and lack of accountability.”

In 1999, it instituted an annual event patterned after the countless performing arts pat-me-on-the-back ceremonies.

These are better — it is there to help us, although I’d recommend having tranquilizers handy should you turn to its website, or become a member, which I highly recommend.

Back to the nominees. The Teddies are named after former federal mandarin Ted Weatherill who was “terminated” in 1999.

In bureaucratic gobbledygook, “for expenses incurred by him incompatible with his position as chairman of the Canada Labour Relations Board.”

In Oxford English he was guilty of malversation — “corrupt behaviour in a position of trust.”

In plain language he made old time drunken sailors look like angels.

Like an Oscar in reverse, the crowning event of the CTF awards banquet is the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award choosing squanderers of the year.

It’s a competition open to all levels of government across the land — a possible cast of thousands, no, tens of thousands.

Payback of the squandered loot, or accountability for the abysmal waste, is never considered, nor is it a requirement in law.

(Why not?) It does seem all we ever do is point our fingers at them, like a passel of kids, saying “naughty, naughty, naughty,” and they continue on their merry, free-spending way!

But pointing is a beginning; the beginning of what, remains to be seen. Being Canadian we’ll write letters, send e-mails, have a session at Timmy’s and go fishing.

Heaven forbid, we might even vote them in again, eh?

Lifetime Achievement Teddies, since its inception in 1999, have been given to Michael Wilson, Sheila Copps, Glen Clark, Brian Tobin, Jean Chretien, Adrienne Clarkson, Andre Oulette and “Dentyne” David Dingwall.

We have scant room for tales of woe about how those we trust waste our dough, so, instead I cite a tale from the chief of Hansard in London, England.

It’s a fine illustration of the convoluted thinking processes practised in the art of wasting time, productivity and tax dollars.

“The House of Commons and the Japanese organized a boat race. Both sides trained long and hard, but when the race took place the Japanese won by a mile.

“The House of Commons set up a working party to consider what had happened. It concluded the Japanese had had eight people rowing and one steering while the House had had eight people steering and one rowing.

“In the best tradition of Parliaments, the House employed consultants to study and report on the findings of the working party and to make recommendations.

“Eighteen months and several million dollars later the consultants confirmed the findings of the working party and recommended a complete restructuring of the House team.

“They recommended the appointment of a director of Steering Services, three deputy directors and four steering managers, which structure, the consultants said, ‘would provide an environment within which the rower would be encouraged to do better.’”

The race was conducted a second time. This time the Japanese won by two miles.

After a further round of expensive consultancy, the House laid off the rower for poor performance, sold the boat and used the money to finance a better than average pay award for the director of Steering Services.”

A tip of the hat to responsible, and accountable politicians and bureaucrats who handle our tax money as if it were their own, and abhor the appalling and unaccountable waste as much as taxpayers do.

We, well a lot of us, believe such folk are becoming as rare as dodo birds. We pray we are wrong, and wish you well wherever you live in this war weary world.

And a second tip of the hat, and thanks, to Dave for the boat race tale, which I have shared once before. It’s worth repeating for its ancient truths.

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