is a story going around that Ernie Eves doesn't like getting out of
bed before noon. Ernie may have to if he wants to succeed his golfing
buddy Ontario Premier Mike Harris, who is retiring. It used to be
called "The Mike and Ernie Show." The rest were bit players.
was the former finance minister, deputy prime minister and government
house leader. Ernie has been accused of abandoning his small-town
lawyer roots long ago as well as his wife, Vicki, of 32 years. He
now claims that he's a "partner for life" of Isabel Bassett, the former
citizenship and culture minister and wealthy Toronto Rosedale widow
of multi-millionaire John Bassett Sr. She and Eves vacationed in the
Caribbean together recently.
in his Parry Sound riding have lambasted him for rarely showing up
in the area and being difficult to get in touch with since he was
first elected and developed a taste for globetrotting. "He's now known
as Inaccessible Ernie," says Allan Dennis, editor of the Almaguin
News, a Birk's Falls newspaper. During the election campaign, Ernie
was accompanied by bodyguards at all-candidate meetings in little
communities of 800 people. Definitely a man of the people.
a small town lawyer, who married into money, got himself an $810,000
pay day. This was in 1996 when the Tories scrapped the MPP's "gold-plated"
pension plan and a year later spent $109 million to replace it with
a "platinum" one. They spread the cash among 130 MPPs based on how
long they had served in the legislature. Ernie had been at the trough
since 1981 and made off with a cool $810,000. His pal, Mike, received
Ernie" likes to live like a king. In fact, many a king would like
to live as well as Ernie. In total, the public cost of Eves' salary,
expenses, benefits, travel and accommodation and office staff ran
to at least $350,000 a year. About $200,000 of this was for his personal
got a salary of $111,004, the use of a chauffeur-driven car and other
subsidized travel costs which totalled $18,702 back in 1998-99. He
also got $15,400 per year towards the rent of his Toronto accommodation
and another $153,344 for miscellaneous expenses, plus being paid for
a host of other goodies, RRSP, life insurance, long-term income protection,
dental, hospital and vision benefits. Wow!
spent at least $90,116.58 on food, travel and hotel accommodation
over a three-year period. In 1996, Eves and his golfing buddy, Mike
Harris, after visiting bankers and investors in Paris, Zurich, London
and Frankfurt, made a stopover in Edinburgh to play golf at a number
of famous golf courses – all on the government dole, of course.
as a "Toronto boulevardier," Ernie stays in four-and five-star hotels
and flies business or first class. He spent $700 month on toiletries
and dry cleaning and allots himself an annual clothing allowance of
Magazine reports that divorce documents reveal the former finance
minister – a man once in charge of Ontario's trillion-dollar budget
– has monthly expenses exceed his monthly income by $12,000. (Under
some government plan, he's possibly eligible for credit counselling.)
one of the earliest pro-abortionists and anti-family politicians in
Ontario, thinks that independent schools teach "hatred." Hey, Ernie,
even Mike Harris says that's not true.
good a finance minister was Ernie? Not very. According to Hugh Mackenzie,
co-chair of the Ontario Alternative Budget Working Group, after the
Harris Tories came to power they introduced a new accounting system.
And it sure didn't smell like Chanel No. 5. It gave the Tories the
ability to load up the budget deficit and blame the former NDP government.
Eves, since 1995, axed more than 5,000 nurses at a cost of $400 million
in severance pay and then he had to spend $375 million to hire 12,000
nurses. It would take almost another $800 million to get back to where
they were. Mackenzie also said the Tories borrowed $25 million to
finance tax cuts and other costs.
has it that Ernie has not delivered as vice-chairman of Credit-Suisse-First
Boston, an investment bank, and he may be anxious to get back on the
government dole and all those glorious trips. If he does get Mike
Harris's old job, it'll be the greatest boon to the aircraft industry
that Canada has ever seen. They'll say: "Here comes Ernie Eves! Order
a few more Concordes."