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Former head of the Royal Canadian Mint David Dingwall waits to testify before a House of Commons committee on October 19, 2005. (CHRIS WATTIE)
Former head of the Royal Canadian Mint David Dingwall waits to testify before a House of Commons committee on October 19, 2005. (CHRIS WATTIE)

Campbell Clark

Entitlement knows no bounds Add to ...

Remember David Dingwall's famous testimony that he was "entitled to his entitlements?" The meter was running even as he said it.

Back in 2005, Mr. Dingwall, a former Liberal cabinet minister, was called to explain the expense bills he racked up as Master of the Royal Canadian Mint.

The irony? He billed the mint $39,789 in expenses for appearing at the committee.

Documents obtained under the access-to-information act reveal that Mr. Dingwall billed that sum for the legal fees he ran up for his appearance at the committee.

Mr. Dingwall's testimony, particularly his insistence that he was "entitled to his entitlements," was used by the Conservatives in their 2005-06 election campaign ads, to evoke a sense that Liberals felt a sense of entitlement to public money.

Stephen Harper's Conservatives then won power on a platform that featured a promise of an accountability act that, among other things, would strengthen access-to-information legislation.

Irony No. 2: The new Dingwall documents arrived three and a half years after they were originally requested under the access-to-information act by reporter Jeff Sallot, who left The Globe and Mail in 2007 to become a university professor.

That's still quicker than reform to the access law promised by the Conservatives in 2005, which is still nowhere in sight.

Follow on Twitter: @camrclark

 

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