Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mr. Smith's big debut

A bit of a gaffe extravaganza the past two days going for Larry Smith, Harper's new Senate appointee and now, going for the twofer, Lac-Saint-Louis riding candidate. Yesterday was the big one, of course, boldly going where perhaps no Senate appointee has gone before, trashing the size of the Senate paycheque:
“You have to understand that I’ve worked very hard over my career and to do what I’m doing now I’m making a major, major concession in my lifestyle to even be a senator,” he told the CBC’s Evan Solomon on Power and Politics.

“I’m not trying to be arrogant, because I’m not, but I made a commitment to get myself into a higher form of public service than the philanthropic stuff I’ve done for the last 30 years. . .

“In simple terms, he added, “the money I was earning in my last profession to where I would be in this profession is what I would call a dramatic, catastrophic pay cut. And I have a family — I have obligations.”

Senators are paid an annual salary of $132,300.
A bit of incredible insight into Mr. Smith's worldview. Throw in that he seems to castigate the philanthropic "stuff" he's done as perhaps small potatoes to date as well. Terrible optics for Smith given the hardship we've seen in the news recently.

On Tuesday, he had offered this:
"I will not be appointed as a cabinet minister [right now]," he told reporters Tuesday evening after speaking to supporters at a meeting of the Lac-Saint-Louis Conservative riding association. "I've had that discussion with the prime minister because in my sense you have to earn your spot at the table."
The irony is also strong with this one. You have to earn your spot at the cabinet table, but he'll just be having his Senate seat in the interim along the way to running for MP, thank you very much. Interesting version of sportsmanship and fair play that they learn in the CFL.

What else is going on here beyond the gaffes? With all the problems facing the nation, the issues of the day, do we need a football player/football executive/football commissioner in the House of Commons or in any other federal position at the moment do we think? Are these the kinds of skills, experiences, competencies that are lacking at the federal level? Harper's picked Nancy Greene, Jacques Demers, he's made a few sports picks. Seems like it was enough already.

Hopefully the voters of Lac-Saint-Louis will be taking note of all this, whenever that election comes, and send Mr. Smith back to his pre-catastrophic lifestyle.

(Video of Smith on CBC Politics yesterday).