Calder And The Shrug Scale

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Our local MP, Murray Calder is a nice guy. He and his office are one of the most responsive offices to letters and correspondence from constituents. And every year, I’ve seen him participating in the Orangeville Santa Claus Parade.

A nice touch to show he’s a good community kind of guy.

But, if the response from his Executive Assistant, Richard McGuire is any indication, Calder just doesn’t get it. We’ve sent him off to Ottawa to protect our interests here locally. Has he done a good job?

Well, yes and no. He claims that he doesn’t fully support the Gun Registration fiasco – yet it is his party that continues to mismanage it. The majority of his constituents that I’ve talked to wish he would be more vocal about 2 Billion dollars to make criminals out of farmers who reasonably don’t want to give information about their love lives on a federal registration form.

He claims that he understands that the GST, which his party promised to scrap over 8 years ago, is onerous and tough on small business. His riding has a high ratio of small businesses that continue to struggle with the red tape and federal requirements that demand that businesses act as tax collectors, all without any compensation. And of course, there are the consumers, forced to pay this tax every time they buy something.

Calder says he understands. But is he wishy washy? One of the measures of character is how one responds during a crisis.

In a response to an e-mail letter I wrote Mr. Calder, Assistant McGuire wrote, “While it’s easy to believe from reading the headlines that corruption and waste
are rampant through the whole government, this is not the case.”

McGuire did say that he wasn’t “trying to minimize” the recent corruption in the Liberal Party that has been revealed by the Fraser Report. But the fact of the matter is, McGuire was trying to minimize the anger that all of us are justified in feeling right now. And that tells me they still don’t get it. That tells me there’s some wishy washiness going on.

In a follow-up response, McGuire pointed me to the website of Transparency International Corruption’s Perception Index. This is an index on a scale of 1 to 10 that purports to provide an indication of the perception of corruption in various countries. Apparently, Canada sits at 8.7, ranked 11th in the World. Where 10 is the highest ranking of being ‘clean’, it would seem that Canada is not doing too bad.

But let’s take another look. What does this tool show us? Not much really. This index indicates very little about the prevelance of corruption in a state but instead is just a measure of perception of the existence of corruption. There’s a world of difference. Politicians love tools that indicate perceptions. And this is what makes me really wonder about Calder. Is he putting faith in perceptions instead of facing reality?

It’s politicians themselves that usually affect perceptions among their constituents regarding the quality of the job they are doing. It’s perceptions that keep them in power with their cushy $165,000 a year jobs. If the perception of the quality of their work drops, usually a few well worded press releases and a couple of community appearances will bring them up the perception scale a few notches.

What we really need in this country is a ‘shrug scale’. Every time a million bucks of public money is spent on some useless program, or a billion dollars is spent in over runs, or a couple of billion spent but never tracked, we need to be able to measure our politicians’ shoulder shrugging.

McGuire’s response that “In any organization the size of the Canadian government, there will be some corruption…” is simply unacceptable. That’s shoulder shrugging that reverberates on the shrug scale. You need to use all the muscles in the back to get that kind of shoulder shrug going on. Furthermore, if it’s true that corruption is inevitable, maybe the Canadian Government is just too darn big.

It is not acceptable that there be ANY corruption in Canadian Government. What these folks don’t seem to realize, or find it humiliating to be reminded of, is that they produce nothing that contributes to the GDP. They are on our payroll. It’s not the other way around. It is by our grace that they are in office, and they owe us an enormous responsibility to be extremely honourable towards the fruits of our labour that they take from us through taxes.

Perhaps it really is time for a major revolt in this country after which, politicians will thank us for giving them our money. Then, we won’t need the shrug scale
any longer.

But until then, let’s find out where Calder is on the shrug scale. We now know without a doubt that the bandits known as The Liberal Party have completely and utterly mismanaged our money. There is a culture of disrespect for hard working Canadians, and a ‘who gives a damn’ attitude towards us. What’s Calder going to do about that? He can try improving his ‘perception’ index among his constituents, reach high levels on the shrug scale, or he can actually do something and stand up for us here.

What’s it going to be, Murray?

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