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Why other countries, such as China, pay for our politicians to visit (3)

Posted by Author on July 7, 2010

Brian Stewart, CBC News, Canada, Wednesday, July 7, 2010 –

Part 1 Part 2

Boondoggle phobia

This spreading phenomenon makes intelligence services nervous precisely because it’s so apparently out in the open. All the big political parties play the game and remarkably few admit that our security might be involved.

Still, I sense some MPs, perhaps most, feel uneasy about these trips.

As Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae described the phenomenon in a recent interview with The National Post: “Why do so many MPs go to Taiwan? Very simply: the government of Taiwan encourages people to come and finances the trip.

“Why do so few MP’s go to the Congo? Nobody’s going to pay them to go to the Congo. And it really is a problem.”

In fact much of the problem is that our MPs hunger after these trips because there is simply no real parliamentary budget for foreign travel anymore.

That is our insane system right now. In the 21st century, no budget to travel. Even MPs who need the expertise in foreign affairs have to wheel and deal to get on these junkets, like impoverished roadside hitchhikers.

We created this mess over the years by going into our usual moralizing routine whenever we would read of MPs and their travelling”boondoggles.”

Well some were and some weren’t, but at least they were Canadian boondoggles.

Now MPs are so afraid to use taxpayer dollars to study the world, they prefer the dole of other countries.

For a developed nation like Canada this is in equal parts shabby and shortsighted.

The solution is pretty simple: Parliament should first discourage, perhaps ban, all such free trips.

Then it should vote an annual and substantial budget to send MPs on serious study tours about issues that count. Let a committee work all this out in public.

Few problems of international security are ever easy to fix. This one is.

If we do nothing, those ugly suspicions of influence, and of shadowy favours given and received, will inevitably creep still further into our political system. (END)

Part 1 Part 2

– from CBC News

Related:
We need to get real about spies– China’s interference in Canada
The Seduction of China’s Red Carpet
Canadian Spy Master Criticized by Alleged China Front Organization

One Response to “Why other countries, such as China, pay for our politicians to visit (3)”

  1. James Poulter said

    Brilliant. Very well written article.

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