Sunday, June 19, 2005

There's No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

Unless you're a Member of Parliament, that is.

And predictably, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation takes umbrage:

CTV News has learned that the federal parties order approximately 180 meals a day, four days a week when Parliament is sitting.

Based on a catering price list that pegs the cost of Monday's fish dish at just under $20, the Parliamentary kitchen is serving some 20,160 meals a year for a total tab to taxpayers of $382,000.

John Willliamson of the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation finds those figures very hard to swallow.

"This is another outrageous example of MPs fleecing the public for something they should be paying out of their pockets," he said.

When CTV asked the MPs who was paying for their lunch, many had no idea. Of those who ventured a guess, most thought their parties paid.

If they were to pay, it could cost a little more. When CTV went to the Parliament Hill and ordered Monday's fish meal, for example, the bill came to $31.

This sort of story makes lets us all huff and puff about politicians sticking their snouts in the trough, but the cost of these small perquisites is miniscule compared to the genuine waste of taxpayers money in the ordinary course of government business.

But few of us deal with multi-billion dollar budgets every day. Everybody buys lunch. That's why stories about petty perks attract more outrage at times than those about wholesale mismanagement.

1 comment:

Warwick said...

Um, as much as its fun to trash politicians, I can't see what the problem is here. If I have a lunch meeting at work, it is always catered on the company's dime. The Shareholders do not revolt. It's the cost of doing business.

When in parliament, I would assume there's lots of meetings. It seems reasonable that you can expect food to be served at the majority of these.

It's all the other spending I have a problem with...