Stu uses the old “Means Justifies the End” argument.

The following is a comment left last night from Stu one of my regular readers/commenters regarding the Compenso free dinner situation.

Stu Commented at 8.55pm 9/4/14

I am going to play devils advocate on this:
Living in a lifelong conservative riding which Collingwood is, would we not want the Mayor or someone from council at this event? Especially since the “other” party runs the province. It opens doors to funding ie grants etc, etc from a provincial standpoint in which every other municipality in Ontario is lining up for. Do we not think having the opportunity to bend the ear of the Premier that has no associated cost to taxpayer, is immeasurable. Politics, especially from a provincial and federal level is about bending ears of people who make funding decisions. Whoever bends the most ears and is heard, ……. wins..
So, either you allow the town to buy tickets at taxpayer expense, (which would cause an uproar, and boy would it cause an uproar) or allow a company to buy tickets and invite them, which has no effect on the taxpayer.( which apparently causes an uproar, with holier than thou people that don’t understand provincial or federal politics)
At the end of the day, from a taxpayer standpoint, if the funding is going somewhere, why not have someone at the table competing for it, rather than laying down and letting someone else have it.
From a business or political standpoint, I would want someone at that table, to get us in the game. No table, no game…
Devils advocate… That understands how funding works……


9 thoughts on “Stu uses the old “Means Justifies the End” argument.

  1. A couple of suggestions above that the cost should have been paid from municipal funds. But I think we need to remember that the $1,500 is a donation to a political party (not solely to cover the cost of food). Therefore it would be totally innapropriate for the taxpayers of Collingwood to pay this!

    Also, I should point out that I have been to these political fundraising dinners (in a different province) and there is really very little opportunity to bend the ears of those in power. A quick handshake and photo together is about all you get. The Premier and Ministers move very quickly around the room spending very little time with any individual (and probably remember almost nothing about their conversations the next day). It is a pleasant evening though.

    Typically the individual tables are paid for by a single entity which then invites quests. So I’m not sure if the ‘gift’ to the guest has a value of $1,500 or not. I wonder if this question was key to the Ethics Officer’s analysis (difficult to say because his reasoning is not published). If a friend of yours makes a $200 dollar dontation to a ’cause’ and gets a T-shirt in return which he then gives to you as a gift, is that gift worth $200?

    To me the important question would be whether the benefits of attending the events outweigh the partial absence from an important budget meeting.

  2. I could accept the fact that the Mayor went to the dinner, what I cannot accept is her statements in the EB, she didn’t know how much it cost, she didn’t know why she was invited etc. Also, the very fact that she let the budget meeting irks me, that was her priority as Mayor. If she knew she would have had to leave early then she should have asked that the budget meeting be changed to another time when ALL councillors were available, especially her, as Mayor.

  3. Aside from the fact that she missed the budget meeting to be there, I think that the Mayor’s presence at the Premier’s dinner or who she got the ticket from are not the important issues here. What is important is that our Mayor did not follow the rules that apply to council. There would be much less to write about if she had asked and been granted permission by council. Either she does not understand the rules or does not respect them. And the justifications were pathetic. “I didn’t know how much it cost”, “I don’t know why I was invited”, “I didn’t eat more than $500 worth of food.” Are those acceptable answers? Do they provide any hope of change in behavior?

  4. I agree with Stu as to the advantages, and indeed the prudency to attend fundraisers such as that one. However, in my opinion, the tickets should be purchased out of the Mayor’s conference, seminar and travel budget. These monies are allocated in the budget every year for precisely this purpose. You can argue that it is then the taxpayer’s dollar but at the end of the day, the possible upside of the investment in a $1500 ticket may be a huge, and the downside of not being visible to the government in power can also be far, far more than the cost of a ticket.

  5. It’s a great argument provided the party attending the dinner and getting an audience with the Premier and others is (1) a strong visionary and respected Leader (2) has an agenda ie: a list of needs for the community such as provincial funding for the rehabilitation of Hume Street and or the improved intersection at First and Hurontario Streets and (3) has strong communication skills to deliver the message to these upper tier politicians that will enhance the chances of getting the desired results. I am afraid that in the case of our current Mayor, none of these criteria are met. She admitted in the EB she did not know the value of the ticket monetarily and she did not know why Compenso Consulting (owned by her brother) would have invited her. That suggests to me she had no real idea why she was there much less the value of networking with provincial politicians that could bring the Town some good. Also not to be missed is the fact that our local MPP is not a member of the governing party which makes it even more important for someone like our Mayor to make a favourable impression on the Premier and others at a function such as this. Until the current OPP investigation is complete I would hazard a guess that our chances of getting any favourable attention from the province is highly unlikely. I’m afraid that for the reasons mentioned above, Collingwood’s participation in this particular dinner was a bust! No pun intended.

    • Well first of all, Nobody, curses to you for not fixing my grammatical error!
      Some great thoughts above, and I would concur with most.
      The purpose of me writing the above was just to be a devils advocate and offer a different way of looking at it, from a big picture standpoint provincially and federally. Maybe we should let the mayor expense it? Who knows, but I always want a seat at the decision table, cause if you are not at the table, the decision will never go your way.
      My intention was not to argue to do it this way, or that way, but just to offer a bigger picture point of view.

      • There you go Stu I fixed your comment up a little. I don’t usually like to edit peoples comments because I do not want to change the gist of what is being said. I know that you were playing DA but I am sure that there are a lot of people thinking the same way that you posted. That is why it was an important comment and why I posted it as a blog.
        I have done some research and I have a couple of comments that will be my next post. Thank you for commenting, as usual much appreciated.

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