‘Let them eat cake’

Marie Antoinette, prior to the French Revolution, may have chided the crowd by saying “Let them eat cake” when told her French subjects had no bread.
She became the most hated symbol of the French aristocracy. The end for Marie Antoinette was that she lost her head.
I couldn’t help but think of the remark when Conservative senator Nancy Ruth complained that she did not like eating cold Camembert with broken crackers for breakfast on an airline flight.
The auditor general had found she had expensed a breakfast when her airline ticket entitled her to a free breakfast on the plane.
Ruth complained, “I just don’t think they understand anything of what it’s like to have to fly around the world to get here to Ottawa.” She lives in Toronto.
Maybe we should thank ex-Conservative senators Pamela Wallin, Mike Duffy, and Patrick Brazeau, along with ex-Liberal senator Mac Harb, for their failures to keep accurate records of their expenses as Canadian senators.
All senators now have had their expenses reviewed by Auditor General Michael Ferguson. It has been noted already that several senators are complaining about the audits.
The Senate audit has been a boon for employment (it is reported that 40 auditors are hard at work reviewing the senators’ expenses). The CBC has noted that 118 current and former senators are being audited.
It was the senators’ own decision to have the Auditor General review their expenses. They were viewing his audit as a positive way of removing themselves from the scandal of fraud.
Instead, they’ve discovered the audit is scrutinizing their expenses to the most minute details.
Letters either have been sent, or are about to be sent, to those senators asking for greater clarification on their expenses.
There are 105 seats in the Red Chamber in Ottawa. If 118 are being investigated, it appears the rules regarding expenses are not clear. How else could so many senators be running afoul of the rules interpreted by the Auditor General?
One might wonder if the sitting members of Parliament came under the same scrutiny, would they all have questions about their expenses? One also may muse whether eating cold Camembert on broken crackers could see the end of the Senate as we know it.
Justin Trudeau has managed to distance himself from the scandal by kicking out all the appointed Liberal senators from his caucus. Thomas Mulcair is able to gloat with glee over the discomfort of senators since there are no NDP sitting members in the Senate.
Conservative senators are reminding everyone that it was their motion that requested the Auditor General do the comprehensive audit.
When all the dust is settled, as well as the gloating and “gotchas” by Canadians, new rules will be put in place guaranteeing greater accountability of all elected and appointed members.
In the meantime, Canadians will get to see more politicians being embarrassed by their views of entitlements.

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