Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed out

Medalling in political hubris



With all media clogged like cholesterol-filled arteries with all things Olympic, with the world’s attention riveted to the holy trinity of gold, silver and bronze, and with Canada’s showing still limited to wood, it’s probably time to focus on some of the things we do so well. Really, when you come right down to it, being a top-notch swimmer or gymnast or beach volleyball player will only get you so far in life when the time finally comes to leave the pursuits of childhood behind… assuming it ever does.

It’s also important, psychologists tell us, to celebrate those things in which we excel. In that spirit of salving the collective psyche, it seems entirely appropriate to award coveted gold, silver and bronze medals — virtual, naturally; so much more sustainable when you eliminate the need to actually mine and refine the medals themselves — for achievements in a field in which Canadians seem to shine: goofball political hubris.

Without ever actually starting a war for no legitimate reason whatsoever or test firing missiles to prove we can still get it up or declaring a sect of pacifist monks to be closet terrorists, Canada is admittedly still playing in the bush league when it comes to political hubris. Hence the goofball qualifier.

Still, it doesn’t take a threat to world peace to raise the ire of Canadians. Changing the bus schedule will do just fine. This is not to say we’re incapable of being outraged by the shenanigans perpetrated by those we have elected or appointed to lead us down blind alleys, we just tend to show that outrage in more genteel ways, like promising to ourselves we’ll re-elect the scoundrels with a smaller majority/minority next time around.

And so, with the repetitive chords of O Canada warbling out of a tinny public address system, let us hang our honours around the necks of the truly deserving.

It was a gold-medal performance last Friday when, lost in the hype of the over-hyped and digitally-enhanced Opening Ceremonies, our own Olympian, Rear-Entry Campbell, assuming perhaps no one would notice and fewer would care, announced a most-deserved, most generous, most over the top pay raise for the province’s hard working bureaucrats. Okay, so it was actually Murray Coell, Minister of Labour Market Development(?) who announced it. But in case you haven’t noticed, Murray never speaks while Gordo is drinking. Draw your own conclusions.

The pay increases came into effect Aug. 1 st . The announcement was made Aug. 8 th . Wonder why the delay? In any event, assistant deputy ministers — the fry-cooks of senior bureaucrats — garnered a mere 22 per cent pay raise, increasing their top-dollar earning power to a hard-to-scrape-by-on $195,000. Full-fledged deputies won a more respectable 35 per cent increase to $299,215.