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Big Spender Oda Walks Away

Big Spender Oda Walks Away

Whether Stephen Harper wanted a Cabinet shuffle or not, his hand has been forced by the resignation of Bev Oda as Minister of International Cooperation.

Oda posted a note on her website on July 3 indicating that she would be stepping away from her position as MP for Durham. The note says she informed the Prime Minister of this decision two weeks before, while the House of Commons was still sitting. There was no reason given for not announcing her decision until now. Her resignation is effective July 31.

It’s not clear what finally prompted Oda to resign. In 2011 her staff was found to have altered a document that initially recommended that funding for KAIROS Canada be approved, inserting the word “not.” She managed to keep her job after a technicality prevented the Speaker from finding her in contempt of Parliament and was even re-elected by her constituents.

Luxury travel; government paid

Earlier this year, while NGOs were starting to feel the pinch of cuts from the Canadian International Development Agency, Oda was found to have upgraded her hotel while at a conference in London. After switching to a hotel that doubled her cost, she then had to pay $1000 a day for limo services to and from the original hotel where the conference was being held. It wasn’t the first time she’d been accused of having expensive tastes, but the thing that struck many Canadian voters the most: She spent $16 for a glass of orange juice.

It was a price that was clearly extravagant and it struck a chord, and Stephen Harper knew that it would. Bev Oda will be known as the orange juice minister for years to come even as she collects her MP pension, which is estimated to start around $52,000 a year. (That’s about $7000 more than the average single mother earns in Canada).

Oda’s resignation leaves a space in Harper’s cabinet and forces a by-election. It saves the Prime Minister from having to publicly demote one of his ministers, but Oda was certainly not the only trouble spot.

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Photo Credit: Simon Law

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24 comments

+ add your own
4:28AM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

thanks

8:25PM PDT on Jul 8, 2012

While I agree that Oda's ethics are lacking, Harper sacked her because she embarrassed him and he couldn't manage his message.

I'm disappointed in this Care2 article rejoicing in Oda's sacking while Julian Fantino's billion+ dollar incompetence earns him a promotion. Why didn't the drastically different treatment between these two ministers warrant a Care2 article?

I expected a more insightful article than this from Care2. If you care to read one, I recommend this article from Adam Goldenberg of Macleans:
Happy to see Oda go? Really, you shouldn’t be.
http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/07/05/happy-to-see-oda-go-really-you-shouldnt-be/

7:00PM PDT on Jul 6, 2012

Yet, apparently she is entitled to a pension that starts at $52,000 per year. Sad.

12:20AM PDT on Jul 6, 2012

""I can't and won’t explain or defend the $16 orange juice or the limo, but why people focus on that and not the fact that every single day Stephen Harper moves within Ottawa with a motorcade of two black sedans (front and rear) with three smoky-glassed, bullet proof SUVs in between – FIVE vehicles – is beyond me. The reality of our outrage levels are such that $16 orange juice grabs headlines and $20 million a year on the PM’s personal security (more than double previous PMs) rolls right by without notice." (Elizabeth May)

I hadn't known about the motorcade. Why does Harper think he's worth the bother of somebody shooting him? Given his love for high living, a heart attack will probably do him in, and it would be a lot cheaper.

OTOH, it does show that somebody realizes how hated he is...

Shame, really. There was a time within my life when a Prime Minister could walk down the street like anybody else and exchange "Hellos" with passersby.

9:31PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

ty

8:43PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

By the way, I'm not really sure what the comment about Dalton McGuinty is all about. We're talking about federal politics here, not Ontario provincial politics. I'll let my Ontario-based friends comment on that, as I'm sure they're more enlighted than I.

I have my own problems to deal with here in Québec ;-)

8:37PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

When the Liberals came to power again in 1993, they could have eliminated the GST, as they had promised, but realized that balancing the books would be nearly impossible without it, so they stayed the course. By the late 1990's, they were piling up surplus after surplus, year after year, and making real progress in paying down the accumulated debt.

The Liberals, after being in power for so long, became corrupt, as all governments do, and deserved to lose the election in 2006.

Harper and his cronies came in and subsequently unbalanced the books through a number of totally unnecessary tax cuts which benefitted primarily wealthy Canadians. I believe this government has long since passed its expiry date and it is time to kick this garbage to the curb.

8:27PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

In all fairness to Jill, it is a fact that the Canadian Government deficit started to spiral out of control under the Liberals...the Trudeau Liberals of the 1970's. However, it's been more than 40 years; it's time to get over it.

A little history lesson is in order:

The first efforts to get the deficit under control were made by Progressive Conservative Brian Mulroney during his second mandate. He introduced the GST - a useful cash cow for sure, but that move eliminated any possibility of him winning the election of 1993, an election which effectively obliterated the party and laid the groundwork for the rise of the current neo-conservative regime.

2:43PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

Jill, Harper has the biggest deflect in Canadian history, nothing to do with Liberals, you cons need to start blaming yourselves for the massive spending

2:05PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

Harper and his harlots are a boil on Canada's butt which needs to be removed! Harper, the Baby Bush wannabe, is a control freak and trying to makeover Canada by stealth --- total deception!

Oda is just marching to her masters drum beat but it is good to be rid of her.

I thought Paul Martin did a great job bringing in a big surplus, which Harper has squandered away. I won't become a political party member, but I will certainly never vote Conservative. Crooks and liars.

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