Hill Life & People

The Weekend Q&A: if you had $60M for a weekend, what would you do with it?

When asked what he'd do with millions of dollars, Conservative MP Tony Clement gave a big laugh and said: 'I’d give a lot of it to charity to help our middle class who are not being helped by the Liberal government.' The Hill Times file photograph

PUBLISHED :Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 5:35 PM

PARLIAMENT HILL—After months of sifting through 13.4 million documents, The Toronto Star, CBC, and Radio-Canada released a series of stories starting on Nov. 5 on the Canadian connections to the Paradise Papers.

The stories revealed Liberal Party revenue chair Stephen Bronfman had lent millions of dollars to an offshore trust run by family friend Jonathan Kolber, who also has Liberal ties. Though tax experts quoted by The Star questioned whether some of the activities of the trust outlined in the documents were against Canadian tax laws, Mr. Bronfman said that his loan to the trust complied with the law, and he and Mr. Kolber both denied any impropriety.

In light of the Paradise Papers stories, The Hill Times was curious to know what Parliamentarians on the Hill would do if they had $60-million, the caveat being that they would have the money for only one weekend.

For our regular online feature, The Weekend Q&A, we went to the Hill on Nov. 8 to get some answers from MPs who were rushing to get back to their ridings to mark Remembrance Day.

  

NDP MP Charlie Angus said if he had millions of dollars, he might buy some records, a nice bottle of Scotch, but would probably give a lot of it away. The Hill Times file photograph

Conservative MP Erin O’Toole (Durham, Ont.) said he would buy his wife a latte, because “she’s the most patient woman in the world.”

And the rest? “I would give to the military and veterans charities.”

That’s not surprising, since Mr. O’Toole is the former veterans affairs minister and served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 12 years.

Conservative MP Tony Clement (Parry Sound-Muskoka, Ont.) gave a big laugh and said: “I’d give a lot of it to charity to help our middle class who are not being helped by the Liberal government. I’m sure that’s what I would do with it.”

  

Other answers were pretty simple. NDP MP Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay, Ont.) said he would spend a lot of it to pay off the debt he has on his 100-year-old roof.

“And I would probably give a lot of it away, seriously,” Mr. Angus said. “I’d maybe buy a good bottle of Scotch and some records, but the rest of it, I’d give it away. This is why I don’t have Paradise Papers.”

Mr. Angus used to play in the band L’Étranger, which he started when he was 18 with his childhood friend Andrew Cash, a former NDP MP.

Liberal MP Andy Fillmore said if he had millions of dollars for the weekend, he’d use it to fight poverty. The Hill Times photograph by Shruti Shekar

Liberal MP Sean Casey (Charlottetown, P.E.I.), who was in a rush, laughed and said he would go “somewhere really warm.”

  

As for Liberal MP Andy Fillmore’s (Halifax, N.S.), “If I had $60-million for this weekend, I would end poverty in the city of Halifax,” he said.

Halifax’s Chronicle Herald recently reported a quarter of children under six live in low-income households in Nova Scotia, and that number has not gotten better in the past decade.

NDP MP Rachel Blaney (North Island-Powell River, B.C.) wanted to give all the money to help build homes for the homeless.

“There are so many projects out there that don’t have the resources, and I think if people didn’t have a home they don’t have the security they need,” she said. “So I would love to use that money to build homes.”

Ms. Blaney introduced her private member’s bill, C-325, An Act to Amend the Canadian Bill of Rights (Right to Housing) on Dec. 5, 2016. The bill would have changed the Bill of Rights to include the right for every individual to have proper housing at a reasonable cost without barriers. The bill was defeated at second reading on Nov. 8.

sshekar@hilltimes.com

The Hill Times