The Dauphin cashes in:
Justin Trudeau is one of just three MPs - all of them Liberals - to report extra income from speaking engagements in the last five years.
And, in Trudeau's case, it appears he missed debates, votes and possibly one of his party's caucus meetings so he could earn tens of thousands on the speaking circuit.
Trudeau, speaking to supporters in Bracebrige, Ont., Friday, declined to provide any more details about the issue.
But in documents he provided to the Ottawa Citizen, he said he had been paid $277,000 for 17 speaking engagements since becoming an MP in the 2008 general election.
A QMI agency examination of those engagements founds that nine events for which he earned $147,000 were held on days the House of Commons was sitting.
There is a seemingly paradox about the modern Left. They simultaneously hate capitalism but are extremely avaricious. Think of George Soros. Think of The New York Times' blatant crony capitalism. Think of Jean Chretien's lobbying efforts for oil companies. Their motto is simple and brazen: Capitalism is a very, very bad thing, unless I'm doing it. This would sound like hypocrisy from most people, but the Leftist political elite are not most people.
Politicians are different from you and me. They have lots of power and few scruples.
It is important to stop thinking of much of the political class as elected officials. This conjures up images of the American Founding Fathers, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln and John A Macdonald. These historical figures were certainly very ambitious men, but they were ambitious within the ambit of a constitutionally limited state. Americans have their constitutional republic and we have our constitutional monarchy. The underlying principle of both is very old and very English: A government of laws and not men.
Progressivism, one of the great misnomers of political history, has slowly dissolved the constitutional state. After centuries of moving toward constitutional liberty we began to regress slowly back into a government of men and not laws. This is the ultimate Leftist ideal. Whatever the labels the goal is always the same: Give me the power and I'll figure out what's best for everyone. You could compare them to the absolute monarchies of old but that would be rather unfair. Louis XIV said he was the state, he never said he was the whole of society. King Canute knew he could not command the waves, Barack Obama lacks such modesty.
Instead think of the political class, especially though not exclusively on the Left, as a kind of neo-feudalistic class. They aspire to the power and prestige of the old continental landed aristocracies, while formally denouncing the excesses and crimes of the actual ancien regimes. They are officially meritocratic, being products of the standardized testing craze of the last half century, but are hardly immune to nepotism when feasible. Think of the Canadian Leftist dynasty of David Lewis, Stephen Lewis and Avi Lewis. A family history that charts Leftism's arc from plausibly misguided idealism to grubby featherbedding quite well.
By viewing the Left as aspiring quasi-hereditary aristocrats, their self-interest becomes perfectly logically. They despise capitalism because it is a threat to their power and influence. They like money because it reinforces their privilege, power and comfort. The old landed aristocrats despised the merchant class because it was a relatively dynamic source of capital. Even in the highly regulated economies of pre-18th century Europe there were still elements of Schumpeter's creative destruction. There was no guarantee that a merchant, unless he had very good political connections, could not meet financial ruin.
The landed aristocracy represented static capital. A man who inherited thousands of acres of arable land, especially land that was entailed, would face very little risk of financial disaster. Excepting the usual vagaries of health, warfare and dueling the life of a landed aristocrat in much of continental Europe was largely riskless. Their power and position could be reasonably transmitted from father to son, allowing them to indulge in their personal preferences. Some would drink themselves stupid, others become great patrons of the arts and a few became genuine statesmen. Yet all lived lives cut-off from the reality of having to earn a living.
In a modern economy rural land is a very marginal source of wealth. Urban real estate, while at times a source of great wealth, requires a measure of skill and luck that tends to be missing from those with a neo-feudal mindset. The primary source of wealth in modern economies is the service industry and to a decreasing extent manufacturing. Even the vagaries of electoral politics seem less terrifying than an actual free market economy.
The free marketer envisions man as a self reliant and enterprising individual, someone who spends his life coping and managing risk. The neo-feudal ideal, which has been given the pretty labels of progressivism, socialism and social democracy, is terrified of risk. The whole of the neo-feudal project is to legislate risk out of existence. It is why we have a vast and very expanding welfare state. The welfare state is the democratic version of the riskless existence of the old aristocracies. The mathematical problem with such an arrangement is that traditional feudalism relied on the few exploiting the many. Neo-feudalism rests on the many exploiting the few. The end result is the fiscal crisis the West is currently facing.
But for a pretty boy who came first in the genetic lottery, that's just so many stars in the sky. David Dingwall was entitled to his entitlements for having loyally served the Liberal Party machine. Justin Trudeau is entitled to his entitlements, including being paid a small fortune to give vapid speeches to organizations that survive at the behest of the federal establishment, because he was to the manor born. As time passes the neo-feudalists become more and more like the traditional feudalists.
Ladies and gentlemen, Justin Trudeau, Le Marquis de Papineau.