Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bureaucrats at the mercy of bureaucrats -- political cannibalism occurring in Ottawa

Much as the idea of our parliamentarians working in the dark, with no heat or air conditioning, appeals to me, I do recognize that there is obvious historical value in maintaining the Parliament buildings in Ottawa.

So, the Public Works braintrust estimates it'll take $1.18 billion.

Aside from the heartburn-inducing price tag, there is luckily the amusing soft inside to this story -- that the bureaucrats in Ottawa are, and have been, at the mercy of fellow bureaucrats.

"Auditor General Sheila Fraser said her office has been sounding warnings that repairs to the Parliament Buildings are not moving quickly enough, but she said work has been slow because there are too many agencies involved."
. . .
"'I think by addressing the question of who is actually managing the project and how it's being done we're getting to the core issues for some of the delays over the years,' she said."
. . .
"Public Works handles the work but needs Treasury Board approval for money. The House of Commons and the Senate have a say, however, in when work is done so that it doesn't disrupt sessions of Parliament or work in offices."

For the quality of the work and leadership coming out of that hovel, I say those bureaucrats and politicians should work in a cave.

Obvious answers to the funding come to mind: siphoning off the politicians' pensions, scaling back the perks. Let them survive on their bribes and patronage!

They'll just have to understand that the Canadian people have other, more pressing priorities, and like everyone else, the parliamentarians will have to make do with less. It's just a fact of Canadian life these days.

Part II of this blog by Paul A. Toth

Another gap between Canadians and Americans exposed: Americans have developed tolerance to excruciating levels of noise. For example, no hammering or sawing would interrupt Congress, but then again, they're sawing logs, and the only pause occurs when they're speaking to no one but themselves.

American institutions rarely fall into major disrepair. The utter failure of those institutions matters not, so long as the institutions stand tall...and inert. Thus, Washington, D.C.'s many monuments -- it's monumentally monumental -- surround and are surrounded by a city-wide ghetto. But the White House is nothing if not white, no matter the color of its occupant. It gleams like a white Cadillac, the kind "welfare mothers" once supposedly drove. Of course, that was a myth. However, welfare cases in Congress being chauffeured about town in limousines, as if anyone knows who they are, is definitely not a myth.

To these eyes and ears, the Canadian Parliament seems more concerned with getting its work done than the shell in which they conduct business, even if they're as nuts as their American counterparts. Certainly, they would not subject themselves to the therapy session I once attended while enduring a Spinal Tap 11 on a scale of 1-to-10 anxiety attack as the building was literally torn to pieces. But in a land in which children are allowed to scream at will as if trying to collapse the universe, to the satisfaction of their apparently-deaf parents, it's no surprise that Americans not only endure infrastructural improvements but enjoy the noise those improvements create.

White noise, black noise, Muzac, ballads, and if nothing else then cacophony all serve to bludgeon the senses and minds of Americans. And that's the way they like it.

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