All hail our towering examples of public service

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We are, in every way on every day, blessed in this country to count among our citizenry the finest class of politicians and civic leaders humanity has ever seen fit to produce. Of course, we dare not stare too long at their like, lest these glittering specimens of probity and circumspection blind us where we stand.

Perhaps, then, only a glance or two will suffice.

What say you Rob Ford, Lord High Mayor of yon Hog Town? When last we checked your calendar, you were just emerging from several weeks of. . .ahem. . .well-deserved rest, having spent several years working overtime to become habitually. . .well, let’s just say. . .tired and emotional.

According to the Globe and Mail this week, hizzoner says it is “irrelevant whether or not his family firm does business with a large U.S. printing company he and his brother opened doors for at city hall, arguing the Ford’s company has too many clients for him to declare a conflict on every one.”

In fact, the mayor’s exact words were: “People come with ideas to save the city money. I’ll be the first one to bring them in, bring the managers and say, here’s some ideas. If thats a conflict, I’m going to have to declare a conflict with almost every business or person in this city. I guess I am in a conflict.”

That said, Mr. Ford trundled off for a photo-op at a new playground in the GTA’s North York borough. There, he joined some kids on the monkey bars and exclaimed his abiding support for the new space and others like it across the city. Which was strange, because, as the Toronto Star reported, “he was the only member of council to vote against a proposal to let the city use $140,000 in private money to build the park. The proposal passed 34-1.”

Again, according to the Star, “Local resident and advocate Talisha Ramsaroop, 21, said Ford told her and two other young people at the ceremony that he has done more for low-income communities than any other mayor – and that he ‘started’ the park project. ‘Those were his exact words: ‘I started this,’’ Ramsaroop said.

“In fact, the park, Reading Sprouts Garden, was (an). . .initiative of local councillor Maria Augimeri. Ramsaroop said she was ‘really upset’ when she was informed later of Ford’s opposing vote. ‘To be quite’honest, I didn’t know that politicians were allowed to lie to your face,’ Ramsaroop said. “Like, I know this sounds really optimistic, but I was completely unaware that politicians were allowed to lie to the face of the people.’”

Elsewhere in Oz, the Senate of Canada was debating whether or not to sanction one of its members for some such misdemeanour.

Nope, it wasn’t mighty Mike Duffy, rumoured to be from Kensington, Prince Edward Island, now facing 31 counts of fraud and breach of trust. Neither was it his colleague Pamela Wallin who’s still facing the RCMP’s music.

It was the heretofore all-but-unknown Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, a Conservative senator who got his wrists slapped for hiring his girlfriend. As a Star piece noted, “A Senate committee is debating what – if any – sanction to level against a Quebec Conservative who was found to have breached parts of the upper chamber’s conflict-of-interest code.

“Sen. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu got a chance Monday to testify behind closed doors about why he continued to employ his girlfriend as an assistant, even though it violated Senate guidelines.

“Boisvenu renewed a job contract for his girlfriend twice, and tried to ensure a two-week special leave for her as she moved from one job to another in Senate administration. . .Boisvenu was found to have acted inappropriately by not only renewing the contract but also by lobbying Senate leadership over how time off Lapointe had taken was to be counted.”

Meanwhile the Upper Chamber’s ethics commissioner, Lyse Ricard, is recommending that no sanctioned be leveled against the former victims’ rights advocate as he didn’t mean to break the Senate’s rules. His “error of judgement,” she said, was “made in good faith.”

But of course – among the political class, aren’t they all?

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