Senator Ray Smit

Local columnist makes his case for a senate posting, including walking to work and getting a roommate1

When I was six I had a piggy bank. Whenever I did my chores around the house, mom and dad would give me a penny for my trouble.

By the time I turned seven, I emptied Piggy and discovered I had exactly one hundred and three pennies. In those days, chocolate bars were only a dime, pop was seven cents and sponge toffee a nickel. I was rich!

It was about this time that dad suggested that a big boy like me should have his own wallet. So mom took me to the local Woolworth’s where we found a genuine imitation cowhide wallet for only a dollar.

Well at least I’d have three pennies left over. But that was before the lady added the three per cent sales tax. After I’d finished counting out all my coins there was nothing left. I had a wallet but Woolworth’s had all my money.

“But mom, now all I have is an empty wallet!”

Mom smiled. “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

“But I don’t have any money to buy a cake!”

“Welcome to the real world, son.”

It must be difficult being the prime minister. He has so much to worry about — the economy, foreign policy, Justin Trudeau’s hair.

It must be tiring too having all that responsibility. More so when people let him down. I bet he’s pretty annoyed with the folks in the senate. Me too.

When I was little I wondered what they meant by the ‘chamber of sober second thought.’ I think I finally know.

Sure it’s pure speculation, but I’m guessing that some of those senators are drinking more than just warm milk at night. A lot more. Then, when they wake up and find they’re sober again, they have second thoughts. Rinse and repeat.

I suppose the prime minister is wondering how to fix the problem. So I have a suggestion. Instead of choosing another hockey player, TV star or lawyer next time there’s an opening, how about me?

Apparently it’s pretty hard for the other senators to make due on only $138,000 per year. Why else would they need all those allowances, expenses and additional fees? But I’m willing to give it a try.

And as for the housing allowance scandal, no problem there Mr. Prime Minister. You see, I think if you’re willing to pay me more than $11,000 dollars a month to do a job, I should suck it up and pay my own rent.

I checked out Craigslist and there are some pretty nice apartments near Parliament Hill for around $1,000 per month. And, if I do feel the financial pinch, I’ll just walk to work to save money.

If it’s still too expensive after that, I guarantee I won’t come to you hat in hand. Nope, I’ll put up an ad in the parliamentary dining room asking for a roommate. There must be lots of other senators who’d be happy to share.

Oh, and speaking of dining rooms, I don’t really want an expense account either. If I’d like some chewing gum or Timbits, I’ll pay for them myself. Same goes for restaurant meals — even if I decide to really splurge and get the early bird special at Denny’s.

As for my work, I promise to attend all 69 senate sitting days unless I’m really sick. I’ll also go to all the committee meetings and I won’t charge you an extra dime if someone asks me to be the chairperson. It’s a job not a vacation.

Oh, and speaking of vacations, I won’t need a government jet or a military helicopter to take me to some expensive fishing lodge for my holidays. I’ll just drive myself to the nearest lake. And if I do want a touch of luxury, I hear Motel 6 is a nice place to stay.

Anyway, there you have it, Mr. Prime Minister. I’ll be happy to send you a resume if you like. However, if you decide I’m not senate material, I won’t make a fuss. Unlike most senators and seven-year olds, I know that you can’t always have your cake and eat it too.

— Ray Smit is the author of The Trouble With Tapioca now available at Amazon.com. His columns appear every other Thursday. He can be reached at raymondsmit@shaw.ca.

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