Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Dingwall Defense : Or, Digging In Deeper

Interesting line of defence from David "Bubble Gum is Deductible!" Dingwall. Apparently his business expenses with the Royal Canadian Mint are justified because the Mint can afford it:

In a statement released prior to his appearance [before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations], Dingwall said he is "delighted to ... correct the misinformation and mischaracterization of my expenses."

Contrary to published reports, said the former Liberal cabinet minister, "all expenses came from the operating revenue of the corporation, not from taxpayers' dollars."

The statement explains that because Dingwall was able to make the mint profitable within a year of taking over in March 2003, it no longer had to rely on taxpayers to cover its operating expenditures.

In other words, since the Mint was making money (i.e. turning a profit) under Dingwall's watch, why shouldn't he be entitled to dip his beak? The president's expenses are part of the Mint's operating expenditures, after all.

Just one problem with that line of thinking: there are other things besides Dingwall's expenses that the Mint's money could be spent on. Like a salary / benefits boost for its employees, or an expanded commemorative coin program, and so on.

In other words: profit does not justify extravagance. And certainly not on Dingwall's level.

I'm not the only one who thinks this is a silly argument. There are Liberal MPs who think so too:

The statement was immediately questioned by Liberal MP Shawn Murphy, who said he does "not buy that argument."

It's true Dingwall returned the mint to profitability, Murphy said outside a Liberal caucus meeting, but that doesn't permit the CEO to spend extravagantly.

"The two issues are unrelated," said the MP.

What worries me is: how many other Libranos think about Crown corporation profit in the same way as Dingwall (Joe Volpe's pizza bills notwithstanding)?