Babel’s Brown discovers new challenges.

It was an article in Babel Backward (or Barrie Advance, if you wish) that caused ruminations about Mr. Brown’s service to Barrie. The article was entitled Brown defends private trips. It was written by Laurie Watt. It does not say who complained about MP Patrick Brown’s extensive travels but provides a so-so defence.

Having also traveled the world when Mr. Brown’s age, the writer can appreciate that travel can be a wonderful learning experience as well as an opportunity to help others. Of course, members of Canada’s parliament are offered many opportunities to travel to countries seeking material or other aid from this country. An MP has to carefully consider his objectives in parliament, on parliamentary committees and the needs of constituents before flying off thither and yon around the world.

It is not as though our MP is Minister of Foreign Affairs or Prime Minister, who regularly fly to many parts of the world. When the Prime Minister took MP Brown to India last year, we assumed that it was to help carry the Prime Minister’s luggage. The many problems one runs into in keeping diplomatic luggage secure have become something of an international disgrace.

The good news is that we have always noted that the MPs who do the most travel—leaving parliamentary duties and constituents behind—are the ones who do not intend to run for office in the next election. And, frankly, not having Mr. Brown under foot, so to speak, in Ottawa and Babel could be something of a blessing. He is hardly the most useful of the Conservative’s back-bench contingent in Ottawa. It has been noted though that some of the Ministers of the Crown have appreciated his willingness to ask them the questions they write for him to help use up Question Period.

His travels have also been appreciated by many of his constituents as they have helped keep him from interfering in the fund-raising activities of many of our charities to give him more publicity. He did make it home last year for the annual skating show at the Molson Centre. Many in Babel would certainly like to see that show turned into a proper fund raiser instead of a Conservative Party rally—just think about how much more could be raised for Royal Victoria Hospital if that event was run properly.

One item we are reluctant to query in Ms. Watt’s defence of Mr. Brown is the part of the article that quotes him as saying: “I travelled to Tanzania last year to work in rural health clinics…” We have a problem with the concept of him “working” in rural clinics. The only work, Mr. Brown might seem qualified for at a clinic would be on bed-pan patrol. Did we recently give MPs a raise to $160,000 per year for him to empty bed pans?

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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