I call it a tempest in a coffee pot.
Look, I’ll be the first to lambast politicians for spending money they shouldn’t spend. But most of the controversy around the premier of Alberta’s expenses is a bunch of foolishness (http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/10/11/wildrose-leader-danielle-smith-releases-her-expenses-in-response-to-redford-controversy/). While $24 for room service coffee (for four people) may shock those of us who only get our java at Tim Horton’s, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t pay much less than that at any of Halifax’s top hotels.
An interpreter in China cost three grand, while a photographer cost $1,200. But I’m not sure getting the budget interpreter is a better move, and have critics of the premier paid for weddings lately? Some of the hotel rooms were pricy, granted, but most weren’t in the stratosphere. And while $12,000 for a business class flight to China is absurd, it’s the same absurd price business executives all over the world pay to travel. Tourists book cheap flights months out, while people traveling for business often book on a shorter time frame. And if the extra comfort of business class makes her more effective on the ground – trans-Pacific flights are anything but comfortable – it’s money well spent.
The biggest gaffe in her report is $114,000 spent on unused hotels during the London Olympics. Plans changed and a refund couldn’t be arranged. Yes, it’s a costly error, but I don’t think it reflects on the premier’s personal expenses.
Hammer politicians when they do something wrong, Expect full disclosure of expenses. But let’s not be pennywise and pound foolish.
You may have heard of the 14-year old girl shot by the Taliban in Pakistan for daring to oppose their campaign of fear and murder, and speaking out for girls’ education. Not much to say on the matter, I suppose, except that her courage is an inspiration: http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/10/12/feared-taliban-leader-radio-mullah-ordered-assassination-of-14-year-old-pakistani-schoolgirl/
Terry Jones is probably a moron. But I can’t get past the irony of Canadian border officials forbidding the Koran-burning pastor entry to Canada to debate the film “Innocence of Muslims” with a Toronto Imam, a Muslim author and a Sikh community leader (http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/10/11/koran-burning-pastor-terry-jones-barred-from-canada-for-anti-muslim-film-debate/). Open dialogue is precisely the right approach to tackling issues of cultural sensitivity and censorship. Officials can hide behind giving a past conviction as the reason Jones couldn’t enter Canada, but really they just wanted to avoid controversy and appear politically correct. It’s a blow to free speech.
I saw news footage of Justin Trudeau on a recent episode of 22 Minutes – you know, the clip where William Shatner is giving Justin advice on acting. Man, it was bad – really bad. The footage was of Trudeau addressing the press on the hill in the wake of his comments about leaving Canada with Quebec under certain circumstances. There’s no polite way to put this: He came off as weird; fake, overly dramatic, lacking charisma, and generally the antithesis of a leader (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayd3z5bT1Gs).
I dunno. I realize being bad on TV shouldn’t be a big issue, but it’s not like he has an overwhelmingly impressive resume to compensate. If he doesn’t have sizzle – if he isn’t the charismatic leader – what has he got? A name, and apparently precious little else.
It’s insane how good the singers are on X Factor. Idol can only dream of having a talent pool this good. But what’s with the ‘Group’ category? That needs to go.