So, Andre Ouellet has finally resigned as president of Canada Post. Or as the CBC website puts it, he has “quit amid allegations of excessive spending, questionable hiring practices and ties to the federal sponsorship scandal.”
Among Ouellet’s crimes: he gave jobs to his friends and relatives, he sponsored a TV show about Rocket Richard, and spent $2 million on travel and hospitality — over an eight year period.
Sure, that’s a lot of money. And maybe the head of a Crown monopoly does not need to spent over $200k a year promoting his products and services. But the fact that he’s been forced out proves, once again, that the standards of accountability are much stricter in the public sector than in the private. Two million bucks over eight years would not even register as a private-sector scandal in this country; the real scandals start an order of magnitude higher.
I know I’m risking reinforcing perceptions of sycophancy, but my friend and colleague Joseph Heath has written an excellent piece on this topic, for Policy Options. I have no problem admitting that I have learned more from Joe than from any other teacher. Here’s a link to his piece. (click at the top on the article called “A toast to the independent audit”.)