Here we are in the middle of another provincial election, and while we complain about the millions of dollars this unnecessary election is costing general tax coffers over cool drinks on the summer patio, no one is likely to do anything about it.
To be Canadian, it would seem, means to be impervious to political injustice. One glaring example is what the National Citizens’ Coalition is trying to point out in something they call ‘Trough Day.’ On September 4, seventy-five Members of Parliament who were elected in 1984 are eligible for fully indexed pensions. The value of the pensions for these MPs will be over $30 million, yet they will have put in just over $3 million. Translated, this means that the 75 MPs can count on cash for life from Canadian taxpayers – plus inflation-proof pensions once they reach the age of 60.
My dear auntie, now retired in Halifax, spent all of her life scrubbing floors as a charlady before retiring to scrape by on a meager old-age pension. (There are thousands like her in Canada). After only six years of service, an MP becomes eligible for a pension worth 30 per cent of his salary – the equivalent of about $18,000 for only a backbencher – for the rest of his or her life. Indeed, the pension kicks in as soon as the MP leaves Parliament. After 15 years of service, an MP qualifies for a pension worth 75 per cent of his or her salary.
Occasionally a boy wonder who has never worked a day in his life is elected to Parliament when he is still only in his twenties. Suppose he gets in his six years by age 35 and then government appointment. Not only can he count on $18,000 annually for the next 25 years ($450,000), but at age 60, his pension is protected against inflation by full indexing. This in a country now more indebted than any other industrialized nation!
To my way of thinking, many politicians of all stripes are hypocrites. But the biggest hypocrites of all are the NDP, who profess to stand for the workingman. Someone once said, “The NDP will do everything for the working man…except one.”
Let’s take a look at how former NDP leader Ed Broadbent fits into this into this nifty little government perk. Broadbent is a politician collecting a double pension worth at least $45,000 this year, while receiving a $120,000 salary from the same taxpayers through a government appointment to a human rights post.
As Canadians, we’re all of us pretty passive, and we need a shake up if anything is going to change. Griping about politicians over our pub beers is not enough. And if Canadians at large need a shaking up, the Christian community in specific needs a firm boot in the hindquarters. In this Ontario election, there is a glimmer of hope for voters who feel disenfranchised by big-spending, hypocritical politicians from the three mainline parties. There is the Family Coalition Party, ignored by both the mainline media and the Christian press.
FCPC members, if given the chance, would bring morality back to seedy politics. But it is my dire prediction they won’t do well in this election because Christian support is soft.
It’s time for the Christian community to put some tough action behind its platitudes. It’s time for 100 Huntley Street to start living up to its lofty claim as a mainline Christian media. Huntley Street’s David Mainse, it seems, is too important to even return his telephone calls to humble journalists such as your truly.
When FCP members fail to get elected on September 6, don’t blame the Party of the little people who would have cast votes if only they had known what FCP really stands for.
Blame the big guns in the Christian community (not all but too many), who pontificate from the Sunday morning pulpit about the drastic need for change in politics, but don’t take any action when it’s election time.
It isn’t Sunday morning, but from this frail and temporary ‘column pulpit,’ I will borrow this line from Edmund Burke (1729-1797), for a timely sermon to the Christian community: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”