Friday, March 14, 2014

Savouring the Sweetness of Entitlement

   “Don't hesitate to satisfy your needs; indeed, expand your needs and demand more.”
The Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky expressed that greedy thought in his novel The Brothers Karamazov 125 years ago.
   Dostoyevsky’s words have become a mantra for politicians and others who consider themselves important enough to suck up entitlements as thoroughly as a sewer vacuums. Examples of demanding more and taking more stretch from sea to shining sea, notably in government and politics.
   There is the Canadian Senate expense account scandal, of course, and the outrage about Alberta Premier Aliston Redford’s air travel expenses. The Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police apologized and had to pay back the cost of using on-duty RCMP officers as an honour guard for his marriage to a senior Ottawa bureaucrat.
   A fresh example is found at the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Its president Hubert Lacroix has apologized for claiming $30,000 in expenses to which he wasn’t entitled. He says it was a careless error. If you can’t figure out your expense account, what are you doing running the CBC?
   Also, it’s been revealed that the CBC’s millionaire news reader Peter Mansbridge took big bucks to speak to petroleum producers. The Toronto Sun said the speaking fee was $28,000. In my journalistic world the only people you take money from are your employers. Mansbridge said it’s OK because all his paid speaking engagements are cleared by CBC senior management, which includes the president who can’t figure out his own expenses correctly.
   We live in a country where the elite and people in power have become so blinded by entitlement that they have difficulty seeing the difference between right and wrong.

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