Quitters seek greener pastures
Bob Rae, left, and Denis Coderre. (QMI Agency File Photos)
For someone seeking elected office, public service should be the greatest job offer. Yet these days too many politicians are walking out on the job mid-term to trade in for something better.
As a recent Sun Media column by Anthony Furey highlighted, Canada has a lot of pending byelections.
Too many for our tastes.
Federally, Liberals Bob Rae and Denis Coderre need replacing. In Ontario, four byelections are on the horizon — one caused by former premier Dalton McGuinty stepping down as an MPP after he earlier said he’d complete his term. In British Columbia, 13 municipal spots need to be filled after local reps won MLA seats in the May elections.
What do these all have in common? They’re all people leaving office because they feel they’ll be better off elsewhere. Even though in the last election they whole-heartedly pledged to serve their constituents for the term.
So much for that!
Recent byelections have cost Elections Canada an average of $941,000 each. That’s not chump change.
The latest contender for this ignoble distinction is Ontario cabinet minister Laurel Broten who’s stepping down and moving to Halifax this summer, where, according to a media report, her husband has “interesting opportunities” in the energy sector.
But how “interesting” would that be if Broten hadn’t been downgraded in cabinet because of her rocky time as education minister earlier this year? Or if she’d thought there was chance of her becoming premier?
No one can fault her for wanting her family to be together in the same city. But the bottom line is she’s broken her commitment to her constituents by skipping town.
We’re not calling to strip pensions from politicians who break their commitment. It’s not like they’re still accruing years of service until the end of the unfinished term.
No, what we want is for Canadians to bring the point home to politicians that quitting mid-term is unsavoury. It’s disrespectful. It shows you were never really in it for the right reasons to begin with.
We want politicians to serve their full terms. Serving the public should be an honour in its own right, not a rung on your career ladder.