Harper’s Last Entitlement (memories of David Dingwall)

Harper’s Last Entitlement (memories of David Dingwall)

As published in the Victoria Standard: November 15, 2015

Justin Trudeau, knees aching from his recent loyalty oaths to the Queen of Canada; graciously lavished public funds on Harper’s final Challenger flight to Calgary. Those who feel that Stephen Harper is entitled to this privilege probably agree that all Prime Ministers deserve publicly-subsidized housing and food during their occupation of the official residence. Alternatively, a modest apartment seems adequate for Pope Francis.

While public funding for security, transportation and entertainment expenses are justified for a head of state, it seems reasonable that prime ministers ought to pay a large percentage of their own food and housing costs out of respect for those they claim to represent. They can easily afford it and even the lowest-ranking soldier pays for rations and quarters while in Canada, although tents were free in Afghanistan.

While Harper did enact modest reforms to the gracious MP pension plan; he still retires in subsidized security with the added benefit of augmenting his generous income without the type of claw backs inflicted on seniors and many veterans. His employment prospects are understandably excellent, if only for the novelty of having a former prime minister on the board of directors.

Now that Harper has some spare time, he might take a moment to advocate for Canada’s veterans; who are still facing federal government lawyers who assert that, “…Ottawa has no special obligation to those who’ve fought the country’s wars and that it is unfair to bind the current government to promises made nearly a century ago by another prime minister.” Those same soldiers were definitely bound by the promises of their predecessors.