"What in the f#*k!?"

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

The following editorial contains language that may offend some readers

Ugh…here we go again.

When Auditor General Sheila Fraser was finished detailing (as best she could) how our government illegally "mis-handled" our tax dollars, I stepped onto my porch expecting to hear a collective gasp from my neighbourhood. I stood, leaning a little forward, hand cupping my ear, but it never came. So I had to stand there, alone, gasping all by myself.

Truth be told, it wasn't really a gasp.
It went something like: "What in the fuck?"

Oh, I know that it's unprofessional for me to use expletives, but I am an average Canadian and that's how I talk. Besides, what else can you say at a time like this? What is the appropriate response when you hear that our government fuc...uh.. screwed us out of hundreds of millions of dollars? OUR money!? Are we not fundamentally outraged? Our government lost track of the GDP of a small country! This at a time when hospitals are in fear of closing, post-secondary education costs are rising, seniors are paying income tax on their pensions, our cities' infrastructures are crumbling, etcetera, etcetera... Is there not a dark, seeping anger?

I, for one, am thoroughly pissed off.

Where is the responsibility? Where does the buck stop? Apparently, not with the current Prime Minister. As a matter of fact, it doesn't seem to stop anywhere. It just keeps going...down...down into the swirling, sucking eddy of despair. It has become fodder for the feeding frenzy in the House of Commons, though. Every morally superior, obscure backbencher from the opposition parties has put on their Sunday best, hoping against hope that their question will be the one that makes it to the evening news. Stabbing the air, probing the PM with words like "accountability" and exploiting that old chestnut, "Canadians want to know", they (not surprisingly)get no concrete answers.

We all know what happened. Now we need to know how it happened. And that's where Paul Martin finally comes in. Promising a full public inquiry, he vows to "get to the bottom of this". It strikes me that the bottom may be a long, long way down.

So, I'm afraid that platitudes and olive branches won't work this time, Mr. Prime Minister. Go ahead, fire ambassadors, appoint counsel, but I want my money back.

That's right. If Zellers can give me a refund on my coffee maker, I want a refund from the government. I have the receipt. My income tax deductions appear on my pay stub every two weeks. I'm going to add it all up, send you a bill, and I expect payment in thirty days. I'm not talking about some paltry little stipend that most of us get this time of year, either. I'm talking about the whole thing. Every goddamned cent. When the government is owed money by the average Canadian they are fierce, tenacious collectors. And don't you dare plead poverty. You wouldn't accept that as a viable excuse from the senior who had to liberate funds from an RRSP, so it sure as hell won't work for a government that claims the surplus will be close to five billion dollars this year. We trust you with the stewardship of our money and time and time again you abuse that trust.

Is it any wonder that Canadians are cynical when it comes to politics? This sort of behaviour is exactly what breeds voter apathy. “I don’t think anybody can take this lightly,” said Sheila Fraser. Don’t, please.

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