If anyone was expecting booze, expensive perfumes or hockey tickets from any of the newly elected (or re-elected) MHAs, the expectations will have to be scaled back by a long shot.
The lot of them, who occupy seats now in the House of Assembly, were handed a rather large handbook last week outlining precisely the to-do and not-to-do rules of being a member.
And in case some choose not to do their homework, seminars will also be in place to further inform members and staff of the rules. In the end, if caught spending out of turn, ignorance will be no excuse as it was in the constituency scandal period.
It's a great evolution.
Now what's really odd about this handbook material however; is the stuff we astaxpayers rarely know or certainly don't inquire about.
New rule: MHAs have to actually show up for work now or else they will risk being docked $200 for unexcused truant days.
Now consider this: these MHAs, whom we pay an annual salary of $92,580 (significantly more if cabinet positions are involved), last year sat in the House 46 times. So, out of a whole year, there were only 46 days these people were expected to show up at the official worksite. We couldn't even assume that either of those MHAs would entertain playing hooky from political responsibilities.
In all fairness we can't lump the 46 days spent in the House last year as the total workload of all MHAs. We know full well many are out in their districts taking care of business, but it's post-constituency scandal days and it's also fair to expect taxpayers to be a little more conscious and concerned over the day-to-day business that we never really gave a whole lot of thought before.
It makes sense to enforce tighter controls, but as Speaker Harvey Hodder told the media, these tighter controls are going to cost the province's taxpayers $2.6 million per year.
Wow, that's a big price to keep people honest considering the five blacklisted politicians charged with overspending or over-receiving on constituency entitlements collectively totaled $1.6 million.
We have to pay that again plus a million, each year going forward to make sure they don't rob us blind again.
There must be some equilibrium to the madness and the account must add up and be justified somewhere in the pricey preventative measure.
Harvey Hodder said it was a 'minor expense' compared to jurisdictions such as Quebec, so we should all feel blessed to get a much cheaper deal on protecting ourselves from those we expect to protect us.
Speaking of those charged with protecting us, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in
That should be music to every Labradorian's ears for sure - well, those who were waiting to get a buzz out of the 40,000 joints it had the potential to be rolled into were undoubtedly a bit put out. Imagine the dirt that was intercepted in that bust. It's wonderful to think there's a hole in someone's supply line.
Now whatever that took, it's definitely tax dollars well spent. Hats off to the Mounties for the tidy work, this is the stuff we need to salute them for.
Here's to much more of what we saw last week. The more busts made, the prouder we should be.
Reprinted from The