We’ll be first in line to criticize government waste and public servants living high on the public purse. But can we please stay focused here?
Nova Scotia’s Liberals are slamming the premier for flying first class on overseas trips, including a ticket for a trade mission to China that cost more than $7,000. Dexter’s critics point out that the premier of PEI, Robert Ghiz, flew economy.
Media have taken the bait. Broadcasters and newspapers are passing along the Liberal criticism.
We’ll take Dexter to task for his largesse when it comes to corporate welfare, and the dollars he’ll spend to create or maintain jobs in industries that can or should fend for themselves. But the dishonesty of the Liberals in busting Dexter for wanting a comfortable flight across the Pacific Ocean deserves derision, not amplification.
The Liberals know, governments know, and corporate leaders know, that no business or bureaucracy books tickets through Buddy’s Budget Ticket Warehouse. They buy flexible tickets, often on short notice, and they pay a lot for them. We should work to change that, but it’s not a practice exclusive to the premier. And anyone who has taken a trans-Atlantic flight, never mind crossing the Pacific, will attest to how uncomfortable they can be. Some people find them too uncomfortable to catch any sleep, and arrive at their destination feeling run-down. Throw in jet lag, and there’s no question some people will find their job performance adversely affected.
Sure, Ghiz flew economy – probably because he was terrified what his opponents or the media would do if they found it he “treated himself” to a modicum of comfort on a long trip.
Bottom line, it’s petty nit-picking, and a disingenuous attempt to look like good stewards of the public purse. There isn’t a mainstream party in provincial or federal politics who has demonstrated they’re serious about dramatic cost-cutting. The reason is simple: real cost cutting must inevitably lead to real service cuts. Our political leaders have learned the public isn’t interested in being told hard truths.
The problem is rampant, widespread deficit spending, not isolated flights to China.