On Saturday, former governor general Adrienne Clarkson wrote a piece defending herself against a story published a few days before in the National Post.
It might as well have been headlined, “I am entitled to my entitlements,” a la David Dingwall, the former Liberal cabinet minister who went on to become the CEO of the Royal Mint (in which capacity, defending his expenses before a Parliamentary committee, he uttered the line that made him infamous) and who is now the president of Cape Breton University, proving only that while the rich get richer, the appointed get appointed again.
Clarkson’s rebuttal appeared in the Globe and Mail, which is interesting because when reporter Brian Platt wrote the original story, just a few days before, he was told by Clarkson’s office that a) her expenses were “a private matter” and b) she was on a weeks-long trip to Europe.
Platt’s story was a straightforward accounting of Clarkson’s lavish and continuing use of public funds since she left office in 2005 — $1.6 million thus far in government pension, $1.1 million in mysterious expenses and $3 million in a start-up grant to cement her legacy project.
This is the Institute for Canadian Citizenship which, by chance, features among other highlights the Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship, her partner John Ralston Saul’s baby, the Lafontaine-Baldwin Lectures (Clarkson gave the lecture in 2007), and a variety of undoubtedly amusing salons showcasing themselves and their friends in public conversation about big issues.
In fact, one of the Institute’s salons, under the 6 Degrees banner, is in Berlin next week, featuring “a global conversation on citizenship and inclusion,” with speakers such as, yes, John Ralston Saul and, by God, Adrienne Clarkson.