Peter Shurman’s self-inflicted wound

Read the full story here. In essence, Shurman wanted a place to retire so he bought a new house 150 kilometres away from his riding. That’s right, 150 kms away from the people he was elected to serve. Which would be okay, I guess, except for the part that you and I are helping to pay the mortgage on this Niagara-on-the-Lake retirement spot. After someone leaked the Duffy-esque story to the media, the Globe contacted Shurman for comment. Read this stupidity:

“Frankly, on the basis of … how we’re paid at the legislature, I can’t afford two houses,” he said in an interview. “I make $112,500 a year. Some people think that’s a lot of money. To do what I have to do, or any MPP has to do, it’s not very much at all.”

Good old Peter Shurman thinks that a six-figure plus salary is “not very much.” Not. Very. Much. Wow, is he – and his party – ever out of touch. I would love for the old white guys to go tell a struggling single mom earning minimum wage why her taxes are going to pay for his retirement home.

It reminds me of a time when I was a student, and a struggling single mom. My kids and I were living off of student loans ($14,700ish per academic year), and social assistance in between semesters. Life was hard. Anyway… Back then I was the vice president of my students’ union and BC’s new “Liberal” premier Gordon Campbell had just announced the lifting our province’s six-year tuition freeze (implemented by the previous NDP government). We immediately went to work to make sure that students weren’t about to get kicked in the teeth. Our students’ union decided to help our university administration find cost savings that could be used to keep any tuition increase minimal.

How we suggested that they do that was to cut the salaries of all administrators earning over 100,000 by something like five per cent.

We went to the Board of Directors with our motion, which I presented. It failed. (What the Board didn’t know at the time was that we fully expected it would fail. I was counting on it and already had the press release drafted).

The next morning a local journalist called me asking for comment. I had, on my desk in front of me, a list of what the top administrators were earning, which I helpfully read out to her. I also recommended a specific university executive for her to speak to on the matter. (This administrator was a known hot head and I was also counting on the fact that he would be entirely pissed off by what we had just done).

(I apologize: this story is long but I’m getting to my point).

The next day the story came out with the executive’s quote, – I’m paraphrasing –  “How am I expected to support four people on less than $114,000 a year?”

I’m told that this executive was ordered to never speak to the media again.

Peter Shurman would be wise to do the same.

 



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