Marshall says she doesn't expect public officials to eat KD at events
When was the last time you had a lobster dinner?
I can tell you exactly when the last time was for Vision Vancouver City Councillor Heather Deal. She chowed down on the red delicacy a few weeks ago at a convention in Halifax she was attending on the taxpayer’s dime.
Deal had the gall to brag about her lavish feast on Twitter, with photos and all, along with tweets about the great swag she received for free and the fun entertainment.
We don’t expect politicians to eat Kraft Dinner at these conventions, though it may do them some good. We expect them to show some discretion and humbleness when they’re acting as city ambassadors and enjoying the good life on the taxpayer’s tab.
To make matters worse; one of the items on the convention agenda was homelessness. I guess all that talk about how to solve homelessness really works up an appetite, the kind only lobster can satisfy.
Mayor Gregor Robertson came to Deal’s defence, claiming she was only trying to be ‘transparent’ by posting her food, swag and a play-by-play of all the fill on Twitter. Let’s be clear; the only thing transparent here is the shameless, embarrassing gloating from an elected official dazzled by the fancy perks of being in office.
Deal’s social-media bragging shows hypocrisy and lack of judgement, especially given that she champions issues around poverty and affordability. But Robertson’s spin is far worse. It exposes the arrogance and entitlement that voters loathe to see in the people they elect as their representatives. It also exposes a weakness in what has historically been a strength of Robertson’s: Managing appearances. In an absurd attempt at forgiveness, Deal has promised to donate a free hat she was given to the homeless.
This presents an opportunity for the Non-Partisan Association, Vancouver’s right-of-centre municipal party which is vying to take the reins of power from Vision in November’s city election. The Deal lobster dinner should be a centrepiece of a campaign showing Vision obsessed with perks and ignoring issues that matter to the voters.
- Post by Kathryn Marshall. She is a writer and broadcast commentator on Canadian politics and current affairs. Kathryn has worked on political campaigns across the country at all levels of government. She is originally from London, Ontario and has also lived in Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta. Kathryn has a BA in Women’s Studies from the University of Western Ontario and is currently completing a Law degree at the University of Calgary. Before Law School she worked for the Fraser Institute, Canada`s largest think tank.You can follower her on Twitter @kvmarshall.
This column first appeared in 24 Hours Vancouver on Monday, June 12, 2011.