13 October 2008

At the last minute, Harris ducks

In the last hours of the campaign, New Democrat candidate Jack Harris was hit with a simple, straightforward question.

Rather than answer it just as straightforwardly, he ducked it with a comment that his Conservative opponent was raising it at the last minute.

Maybe Jack needs to trying answering the question about what he plans to do with his considerable provincial pension.

After all, it can't be a good thing when Walter Noel is backing you with some comment about why people shouldn't worry about a politician's other sources of income.


Makes you wonder on a subject no one should wonder about.



líam said...

Yeah, it would be nice if Harris answered this question. It would also be nice if it was not so painfully obvious that Craig Westcott is grasping at straws in a vain attempt to get votes by picking a non-issue to discredit his opponent.

Edward G. Hollett said...

It would only serve to discredit Harris if it turns out that he plans to pocket his pension, build up a second pension and maintain an active law practice as he did while he was a member of the House of Assembly.

I don't see how he could do the active law practice bit, but he could certainly take the pension and the salary at the same time just as Brian Tobin did.

The only people who seem to consider it a non-issue - as opposed to something which should be addressed simply and cleanly - are those who are pushing Jack Harris' campaign.

líam said...

I find it fascinating that politicians operate in a system where this is ALLOWED to take place, and yet our response is only to hope and pray that our candidates and incumbent politicians have the good will to donate their entitlements or otherwise "do the right thing". Do you see what I'm getting at here?

And we're supposed to pat Craig Westcott on the back because he caught Jack Harris off guard over something that is hardly on the minds of voters?

Again, I'd like to hear Harris give a clear answer too, but I hardly consider this a major indictment against him, nor is it something that Harris' good will can make me feel better about the next time a perennial politician campaigns to supposedly top-up his or her pension.

Edward G. Hollett said...


Generally, I'd agree. There should be an age and years of service clause (or something of the sort) so that it is genuinely a pension available at retirement from work as opposed to an annuity paid out automatically once someone leaves the job.

This has nothing to dow denying a work benefit someone earned; it just establishes a slightly different payout arrangement.

At the same time, I recognize that in some instances former politicians have a hard time making a lfie for themselves after politics. We hear of the high prifile ones but there are many former politicians for whom the pension is the only stable source of cash they have.

In this case, we have a relatively straightforward political issue. it's not unlike a whole raft of other issues that crop up during a ampaign.

What I find interesting in this is that harris has steadfastly refused to even acknowledge it is worthy of his consideration. rather than say - as Tobin did, for instance - that he earned the pension and will collect it, full stop, Jack has said well hey it's jsut not an issue and I won't even dignify it with an answer.

To me, there's something almost contemptuous of voters in such a response. He doesn't think it's an issue so he won't bother dealing with it?

At the same time, if Westcott had smacked this one much earlier, it would be interesting to see what would have happened. We may well have seen other issues crop up such as Harris' actual record in the House, versus the "fluffy, cuddly bunny" version that he and his supporters like to use.