Burning money

February 5, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

Some weeks the story is already written for you – you just have to put it into words. 

Two weeks ago I wrote about a doctor who was fired from a regional health care centre network. That in itself is not a big deal, people get fired all the time. 

However it was the $1 million that was handed to him on the way out the door that was the story. 

That is $1 million of your tax dollars given to a guy for being booted from a job after doing something unbelievably stupid. 

According to government and business sources, the current average annual salary in Canada is between $52,000 and $55,000. It would take the average person around 20 years to make the same money this guy got for being fired. 

Well, the story continues – not about this guy, but another unbelievable payout that you will be providing for another individual who will be living in luxury on your tax dollars. 

Back in August, I wrote in this column about the nightmare that was taking place for people employed in the Governor General’s office. 

These weren’t petty complaints from whiny office people who were disgruntled because someone had a bigger desk than them. 

These were serious allegations from long-term employees in the office regarding Governor General Julie Payette’s behaviour. 

People around the GG complained of being belittled in front of other staff members, being bullied, and employees being publicly humiliated. 

At the time, one insider said, “This has gone from being one of the most collegial and enjoyable work environments for many of the staff to being a house of horrors. It’s bullying and harassment at its worst.” 

The situation was even addressed by her security detail who couldn’t keep up with her disregard for her RCMP protection and cost the taxpayer even more money by requiring them to scramble for last minute requests resulting in even more spending on overtime, hotel, and plane tickets. 

Even worse, as a diplomat, her treatment of foreign security teams was so poor, the RCMP had to apologize to them after the fact for her bad behaviour. 

Everything came to a head a couple of weeks ago when GG Julie Payette submitted her resignation. 

This happened following the conclusion of a workplace review by the Privy Council Office investigating the accusations against her. 

Payette is only the second Governor General to resign. The first was Romeo LeBlanc, who resigned due to health issues. 

She resigned due to scandal – something that should never have happened in a high office that is a ceremonial position that represents the nation. 

Most Canadians do not have a company sponsored pension plan. In the private sector, only around 30 per cent are part of a company pension plan. 

Those that do pay into a plan typically work 30 to 35 years, sometimes longer before receiving a pension that is based on their previous earnings. 

Payette will receive an annual pension on $149,484 for life, after being on the job for just over three years. 

On top of that, she will be eligible to have a six figure, up to $206,000 ‘expense account’ to pay for expenses supposedly associated with being a former Governor General. 

The Prime Minister has been very quiet during this affair. 

Obviously the PM’s office and whoever was responsible for the usual vetting process that is undertaken for someone considered for an appointment was not followed through. 

Apparently they did not speak to people who had worked with Payette and volunteered that fact that she was ‘difficult to work with.’ 

They were also apparently unaware that she was arrested in 2011, in the United States, on an assault charge – that was later dropped – for assaulting her husband. Nor were they aware that she had struck and killed a pedestrian with her car in Maryland in 2011. That case was closed without charges in 2012. 

So, in the end Payette will leave the office with a payout that most of us could only wish for, after being on the job for three years, and resigning amid a scandal that should never have happened, from a position that is ceremonial and includes waiving at crowds and signing the occasional document. 

Yup, that’s your tax dollars hard at work. 

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