Sunday, June 13, 2004

MP Perks

Underbelly of Vancouver
Downtown Eastside
Vancouver, BC

An interesting issue for voters continues to play out in the federal riding of Van-East. The incumbent MP was taken to task over her travel expenses by her opponent which I think is fair game. A flag is being raised re: allowing MP's to complimentary travel for their spouses/partners/lovers/husbands/wives to be with them I suspect on those cold nights when they need companionship. The issue that Shirley Chan raises and which her opponent Libby Davies opposses is this, should taxpayers be on the hook as they are now regarding spousal travel.

Already MP's receive over $120,000 in salary. Additionally, they receive from the public, a generous budget for travel and food expenses. Most of them have travelled the world at taxpayer expense and which generally Canadians seem to support, as its deemed to be part of their job.

However, should Canadians be on the hook for spousal travel is something the public should be consulted on. This is an issue which needs further study. Ms Shirley Chan has raised it no doubt due to concerns especially in her riding which includes the poorest citizens of Canada. I think that Canadians may view this as a Perk and this is what needs examination.

For the incumbent MP to make outrageous claims that Ms Chan is homophobic as a result of raising this issue, is troubling. MP perks need further examination. Ultimately, Canadians will make their own decisions regarding this. Their choice will be delivered at the ballot box on June 28th.

Jamie Lee Hamilton


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