Linda McQuaig speaking at the Older Canadians Network forum Wednesday at Toronto City Hall.
Linda McQuaig couldn’t resist. Standing at the Mayor’s podium at the Toronto City Hall council chambers, she told the Older Canadians Network: “I have never smoked crack cocaine.”
Linda McQuaig for Mayor?
The author (The Trouble with Billionaires w/Neil Brooks) and journalist compared the recent Senate scandal to the U.S. Watergate scandal that led to the impeachment of President Nixon. While in Canada we may not have had a burglary, we did have the involvement of the highest office in the land in “an attempt to stop an investigation that was an embarrassment to government,” she said.
On hand for the presentation of the Alexander Gorlick Humanitarian Award to former Parliamentary Watchdog Kevin Page, McQuaig criticized the Harper government for shuffling off the Senate scandal investigation to ethics commissioner Mary Dawson, who is now going to conduct her investigation in secret.
McQuaig said she particularly liked Page because he publicly raised questions of accountability around austerity programs, which had an enormous impact on Canadians.
“He exemplifies the best of the public service and the best of Canadians,” she said of the now unemployed budget officer.
McQuaig says the best way to understand that a better more equitable society is possible is by simply looking to the past.
She asked who in the room had been borne since 1980?
During an open forum hosted by the Older Canadians Network, former federal budgetary watchdog Kevin Page speaks about the bumpy ride he had in office.
Federal Conservatives sure liked to talk about accountability while in opposition. In power? Not so much.
Kevin Page, Canada’s first parliamentary budget officer, said no governments want more accountability. It’s not even a partisan issue.
That puts a budget watchdog in a very difficult situation.
While appointing Page to the job to fulfill his own election promise, Stephen Harper made the appointment at the “pleasure” of the Prime Minister’s office, not that of Parliament.
Appearing in Toronto Wednesday to accept a humanitarian award from the Older Canadians Network, Page said the appointment by the PM’s office meant he could be removed from office at any time by the Prime Minister’s office – a major flaw in the design.
The legislation creating the parliamentary budget watchdog never protected for what Page calls “analytical dissonance.”
When he was first appointed five years ago, opposition members on committees just assumed he was the “PM’s guy.”
There have been fewer than the usual suspects applauding the release of Living Longer, Living Well, Dr. Samir Sinha’s anticipated recommendations for a new seniors strategy for Ontario. In the early days of 2013, maybe nobody is yet paying attention.
Appointed provincial lead last year by Health Minister Deb Matthews, Sinha spent much of 2012 travelling the province and consulting with everyone it seems but organized labour (not that we’re bitter).
Promised for December, the subsequent report did not linger long in the Minister’s office before the highlights were released publicly yesterday. The full report is expected in the next few weeks.
Like last January’s provincial strategic plan, Dr. Sinha’s strategy seems to be long on lofty recommendations and somewhat short on logistics about how this all gets done, especially in an environment of considerable restraint.
Depending on where you sit on the political spectrum, you’ll likely find recommendations you like and recommendations that seem completely off the wall.