The political tragedy of Minister Bev Oda

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Personal extravagance did her in

Minister Bev Oda has always said yes to everything Stephen Harper has asked of her.

No question for her of contradicting him.

When Harper asked her to cut aid to African countries, or reducing the number of recipient countries from 25 to 20, or of giving a little more to South America where big Canadian mining have considerable investments, her answer was always "Yes sir. "

When you're Stephen Harper, and you have a minister as obedient and as submissive, no question of tossing her out the door.

But ultimately it was neither lack of loyalty or submission that cost Oda her job, but rather her lavish spending that repeatedly plunged Harper into public embarrassment.

Incompetence does not bother Harper. He knows it well. It is public embarrassment that he hates.

In 2005 Bev Oda went to the Juno awards in Halifax where she spent $ 2 000 on limousine services rather than taking taxis.

The real reason for her limousines, apart from enjoying their luxury is that Oda smokes like a chimney and in Canada and very few taxi companies allow smoking in their cars.

Oda was ordered by Harper to pay back $ 2 000 back to taxpayers for her extravagant limousine rentals.

One might think she would learn.

But two years later we discover she had spent another $ 17 000 on limousines. Once again, she had to refund the money to taxpayers. Harper almost had enough.

And then this year we find out that at a conference in London on vaccines for poor Third World children, Oda had cancelled her room in a five-star London hotel for a room at $ 600 more in the Savoy Hotel where smoking was allowed. And obviously, there was another $ 2 000 limousine charge.

In addition, she ordered a $ 16 glass of orange juice to her room.

Was there no end to the lavish spending of this woman?

Harper had had enough.

"Bye-bye Bev!"

But now we learn that Harper and Oda spoke together privately on June 20 and something was agreed upon between them.

So she left very politely with a very polite thank you from Harper

Could she have won a Senate appointment or something similar - something more rewarding than just her $ 52 000 a year minister's pension?

Time will tell. Wait for it.



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