Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz is hopping mad. He put a civil servant in Guelph, one Bill Teeter, in charge of a spending review in Ottawa, had him travel back and forth for a year, and in the process let him rack up $100,000 in expenses that were then charged to taxpayers. Now that the number has come out, Ritz says he is not responsible for the behaviour of his employees and has ordered the agency to “go back through and identify all costs” — sort of redundant given that we already have that number — and denounces them for racking up such an enormous bill.
Which is all to the good, as far as it goes, except for this: Gerry Ritz is being a wee bit hypocritical here. (Gosh the media has short memories, don’t they?) In his last four quarterly expense reports, Mr. Ritz reported $140,835 in travel costs. That’s in addition to the $121,000 in travel expenses and $22,000 in accommodations he reported as an MP. All told, it adds up to $283,835 per year. Basically, Ritz is mad that his subordinate spent less taxpayers’ money than he does.
Plus, presumably unlike Teeter, Gerry gets scared at airports, so he can’t travel without a retinue of staffers to hold his hand and brush away his tears. Going back to those same reports, we see that his staff reported “accompanying the Minister” on trips costing a total of $187,251 over the course of the year.
If we add those totals together, which seems only fair, then they add up to $471,086. Ritz thinks Teeter broke the rules by spending around one dollar in travel costs for every five that Ritz spends.
We can go on, since I’m feeling nasty. Ritz was one of the top spenders on cars and chauffeurs last year, too; his driver racked up a total of $27,800 in overtime alone. And then there’s the MP office expenditure of $250,000 (in addition to his MP travel expenses, which I noted above), plus his ministerial staff salaries, which I don’t know (but there’s a dozen of them, God knows why), plus his MP’s salary of $157,731, plus his ministerial salary of $75,516, plus a bonus $2000 car allowance (even though his car and driver already get paid for out of the public purse).
What’s Teeter make? I’m guessing somewhere in the high five or low six figures per year. Yes, I think we can agree he’s the real threat to responsible public spending here.Tweet