With very few restrictions, city councillors can spend their office budgets on pretty much whatever they want.
It’s a practice I’ve harped on for years.
They can take their staff out for lunch, cozy up with constituents while breaking bread, make donations to charities their taxpayers don’t support, buy City of Ottawa paraphenalia and buy expensive tickets to charity events whether they attend or not.
And of course, let’s not forget about pricey Ottawa Senators tickets, just ask Beacon Hill-Cyrville Coun. Tim Tierney about that one!
As an aside, the money can also be used on priciey advertising – and again I reference former city councillor Michael Qaqish’s huge vanity ads on Ottawa’s bus shelters.
And it’s all on our dime. And from my perspective, politicians get to use our money to help keep themselves elected.
I don’t agree with it.
Isn’t it their job to keep themselves elected – by working hard and serving their constituents?
On the weekend, I noticed two tweets – one from Tierney, another from River Coun. Riley Brockington – advertising free movies nights in their communities.
And yes, my journalistic/taxpayer back went up immediately.
Whatever you think of councillors using our money, these evenings are not free. We the taxpayer are picking up the tab.
And that was the point I was trying to make.
By the end of the night, I was being accused of wanting to deprive children from low-income families of a little bit of free popcorn.
But that’s twitter. And I’m fine with it.
Even a handle of Bitter Better Bitchy Pants, who must wake up on the wrong side of the bed everyday thought I was horrid. That says a lot!
Another under the twitter handle @clazerbeam13 wrote to me, “You seem to be inferring that it is wrong to use taxpayer’s $ for this. Can you pls explain why it would be bad for taxpayer $ to fund a movie night for kids in an disadvantaged neighbourhood?”
Not at all what I wrote, so sorry, @clazerbeam13, don’t feel I owe you an explanation.
The Carlington Community Association tweeted that they really appreciate the movie night and thanked Brockington for his generosity.
He’s not being generous. He’s using your money and mine for the night.
The association also took the opportunity to take a dig at former city councillor Maria McRae, suggesting the movie night was far more worthwhile than the vanity park benches McRrae bought with our money with her name on a brass plaque. Can’t argue there.
I believe that regardless of how you feel about councillors spending our money, those same politicians should at the very least be upfront about where the money is coming form.
And the movie nights are not free.
To his great credit, Brockington addressed the issue head on, acknowledging on twitter he would prefer to find an outside sponsor for those movie nights – but didn’t hide behind the fact that his office budget picks up the tab. Tierney on the other hand, went into hiding.That says a lot.
When it comes to twitter, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I get that.
I almost always love the exchange of such divergent opinions.
Bring it on.