Thursday, February 21, 2008

Paid volunteers

The Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC) has, in it’s never ending quest to piss taxpayers’ money away without being accountable for it, has been joined by the governing party of British Columbia in the great 2010 Olympic money toss-a-thon. The BC Liberal party, under the newly steady hand of Captain Gordzilla Campbell, have taken the 2010 Olympic mantra of “spend more, waste more” to heart, will now be offering to pay civil servants who “volunteer” at the Games. The word is that any civil servant who “volunteers” will be paid half wages for up to fifteen days, and then have the option of using vacation time to make up the other half. Not too shabby.

When this move was criticized as a waste of taxpayers dollars (just like the Olympics themselves are) the government talking-heads all started squealing. Colin Hansen, the governments Olympic Czar says, “There (will) be no incremental cost to the taxpayer for a program like this. There (will) be no increased cost to government. Ministries are not gong to receive extra funding for the wages and benefits.” Well, sounds good. Except, under this program some people will be paid for not doing their jobs.

The BC Liberals say this is all good because the NDP government in 1994 did the same thing with the Commonwealth Games in Victoria. Premier Campbell explains, “The policy has been around for a long time. There’s been no change to the policy. It was there for the Commonwealth Games. I don’t remember anybody commenting about it then.” Right. Not counting the Liberal finance critic of the day, David Mitchell, who called the policy a “ludicrous waste of tax dollars.” Of course at the time, Campbell was pounding the liquor pretty hard so maybe he just forgot that at the time the Liberals were against this sort of policy. Also, back when the Liberals were in opposition they tended to spend every spare moment stabbing each other in the back, so perhaps Gordo was too busy plotting and conniving against his party mates to notice what the government was up to. Whatever, it’s all pretty handy today.

One complaint that I have heard is that this policy isn’t fair to all the real volunteers who have applied to help out at the Olympics. Even though I’m not at all interested in having the Olympics in this province and really wish that they could just be fobbed off (along with the upcoming huge debt) on some other province, Alberta say, or even Ontario or Quebec, I can sympathise. These are folks who are just trying to help out, and I can respect that, and getting bumped out by a “paid volunteer” has to hurt. Government in action as opposed to government inaction for once. Yeah, that’s about right.

Anyway… Humouroceros

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