Monday, April 11, 2005

Canadian Politics Similar To Bangladesh

Almost a couple of years ago, during the Toronto municipal elections, I told this joke to my co-workers:

A US senator is visited by an MP from Bangladesh. Showing him around the ranch, the visitor from Bangladesh is impressed by his more than one car, horses and a summer and winter house. He asked the senator, "I know the US Senate does not pay that much to you so you can mantain this place, how do you do it?" The senator takes him to the window, and points to a hydro dam. "You see that dam?" He asks. The Bangladeshi replies, "Yes." The senator winks, thumps his chest and announces "10%." The Bangladeshi nods in understanding.

A couple of months later the US senator is in Bangladesh, and visits this MP. The senator is completely stunned by what he sees. The MP has three houses in Uttara, two flats in Dhaka, 15 servants, three cars. His wife wears tonnes of jewellery. The senator asks the MP, "I cannot believe a third world country can pay you this much as salary, how do you do it?"

The MP takes him to the window, and points, "See that bridge?"

The senator tries and looks, but does not see a bridge. He turns to the MP, "What bridge?"

The MP smiles, and replies, "100%."

When I said this joke, everyone was laughing, before Pat said, "You know, that's just like Toronto!"

With David Miller (now mayor) running on a promise to not build the airport bridge, I was surprised at how right Pat was. Toronto spent millions in consultation fees on where and how to build this bridge, then they awarded a contractor, then the GTAA spent money on improving the island airport, and now we will spend millions in penalty money not to build this bridge. At the end of all that money wasted, we are back to where we started - no bridge.

Currently the Liberal party is in deep trouble over the sponsorship scandal, with allegations of kickbacks and taxpayers' money changing hands. Since it's a minority government, it may fall any time. Pundits are pointing to a June election. This will just be one year after the last one.

So the party in power for a long time is plagued by corruption, and Opposition is agitated and is taking steps to bring down the government and force themselves into power. The Prime Minister is angry and threatens to punish the guilty. A special committee has been set up to investigate the crimes and report to the government on how to prosecute the criminals. It will submit its report in a year.

Sounds a lot like another country I know.

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