IN another let-them-eat-cake moment in the political world, it's recently been revealed that Premier Christy Clark's office racked up close to half a million dollars on credit cards last year.
The figure is noteworthy, because it's twice what Clark's predecessor Gordon Campbell spent. Predictably, the premier's office defended the expenses as the cost of doing (and wooing) business.
Some of the expenses are justified; Airfare, for instance, is hard to argue with. But other items like expensive restaurant meals and visits to wineries are likely to raise more eyebrows.
Nobody expects our elected officials to live or work like monks; we don't expect visiting government leaders to bring their coffee in Tim Hortons togo cups. But when a figure like that suddenly doubles, it's always cause for a second look. That's especially true when austerity is being preached as a character-building exercise for everyone else. Most of B.C.'s public servants are lucky if they've managed to hang on to their jobs.
This latest tidbit from Clark's office comes not long after the resignation of former federal minister Bev Oda, who certainly set new standards in availing herself of taxpayers' largesse, in bills for limousines, swanky hotel stays and a now-infamous $16 glass of orange juice.
Clark's office hasn't reached those levels, but the doubling of the Visa bills certainly rankles when the rest of the bureaucracy has been told to tighten its belt. Seems like there's one standard for those at the top - and another for everyone else.