Over $25,000! That's how much Richard Hurlburt defrauded the taxpayers of Nova Scotia. We knew about the generator and big screen tv, but in court yesterday we also learned Hurlburt claimed nearly $13,000 for office renovations that never happened. The grand total came to $25,320.77. Outrageous. Of course Hurlburt cried in court yesterday apologizing and refering to the impact this has had on his family. Big whoop! The judge reserved decision on sentencing yesterday and will announce his decision on the 27th. I said it yesterday and I'll say it again. Richard Hurlburt deserves to go to jail. The Crown suggests up to 12 months. I'm okay with that. You?
What's also aggravating, and perhaps even puzzling in this case is the fact Richard Hurlburt isn't hurting for cash. Not only was he making a cabinet minister's salary at the time, but he's also well off financially. The prosecutor in the case says it was all about greed.
Some interesting figures yesterday from the Public Service Commission. Most of the government staffers asked to relocate to other parts of the province are refusing to move. Only 5 of the 48 Halifax-based civil servants have agreed and less than a handful of others are also okay to go. Some have decided to retire while others are hoping for jobs elsewhere within government. Because so few people are moving, Premier Dexter says it will mean a lower cost than first estimated and he says the program to move civil service jobs to Digby, New Waterford and other areas will continue. A recruiting program will now help fill those jobs, but by the time it's over, won't we then have more civil servants than we do now?
Excuses. That's all I see as I read today about wait times at the city's emergency departments. It is outrageous to see that the average wait time at the Dartmouth General for people with potentially life-threatening issues was nearly two hours. The national benchmark is 15 minutes. Just below them, gravely ill patients there have to wait on average nearly 200 minutes. The national benchmark is 30 minutes. Wait times for a variety of medical procedures have been ongoing issues for years. Rather than provide excuses, we need health care managers who will actually do something to deal with the problem.
It looks like Peter MacKay will stay just where he is, the politician in charge of the country's military. Prime Minister Harper staged a minor cabinet shuffle this week, moving Julian Fantino over to CIDA and sending New Brunswicker Bernard Valcourt over to replace him as the associate defence minister. Harper told an Alberta radio audience yesterday that's it for now as far as cabinet changes go. He says he's looking more for a mid-term shakeup. So MacKay stays as defence minister, perhaps for another year. Yes, he gets himself in a spot of trouble from time to time, but the troops I'm told love him and he's certainly great material for talk radio and opinion pieces like this.
Have a great weekend. Get involved. And if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.