Spendin’ money like it’s goin’ outta style

Back when I was still a little tyke, a running conversation in certain circles was then-Governor General Adrian Clarkson’s rather costly expenditures on the taxpayers’ dime. Sitting around the dinner table, a few people would comment at the latest in a long line of somewhat frivolous expenses, we’d all shake our heads and make a couple of jokes, and thus was Adrian Clarkson memorialized.

Well, I think I’ve found the new Adrian Clarkson. No, it’s not Stephen Harper or Jim Flaherty and the rest – they make far too easy a target. The new Adrian Clarkson is far less well-known: our own dear and delightful Jennifer Lynch.

Perhaps you’re new to this blog, so the question in your mind could be: who is this Jennifer Lynch? Well, she happens to be the chief commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission – you may have heard her name in connection with the multiple investigations that commission has been subject to in the past year or so by the privacy commissioner, the RCMP, and more recently, by Parliamentary inquiry itself. Don’t worry, it’s nothing serious – just a little bit of corruption, lack of due process, possible breaches of privacy, violations of our human right to freedom of speech; nothing to concern ourselves with, really.

So why is Jennifer Lynch deserving of the honor of the new Adrian Clarkson of spending? Well, I’ve taken the time to compile a list of some of Jennifer’s expenditures over the past couple of years, as listed here, both in her capacity as the head of the CHRC and as chairman of the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. Here they are:

1) Geneva – December 2007

For: Lynch, Jennifer, Q.C, Chief Commissioner
Purpose: To chair the International Coordinating Committee meeting.
Start Date: 2007-12-08
End Date: 2007-12-15
Destination(s): Geneva
Air Fare: $5,837.54
Other Transportation: $363.55
Accomodation: $1,368.54
Meals and incidentals: $772.06
Other: $0.00
Total: $8,341.69

2) Calgary – January 2008

For: Lynch, Jennifer, Q.C, Chief Commissioner
Purpose: To chair meetings with governmental stakeholders.
Start Date: 2008-01-15
End Date: 2008-01-17
Destination(s): Calgary
Air Fare: $1,504.62
Other Transportation: $269.00
Accomodation: $394.12
Meals and incidentals: $175.90
Other: $33.52
Total: $2,377.16

3) Winnipeg – February 2008

For: Lynch, Jennifer, Q.C, Chief Commissioner
Purpose: To visit the National Aboriginal Initiative’s office and chair meeting with governmental stakeholders.
Start Date: 2008-02-05
End Date: 2008-02-08
Destination(s): Winnipeg
Air Fare: $1,174.77
Other Transportation: $88.00
Accomodation: $246.40
Meals and incidentals: $199.15
Other: $28.00
Total: $1,736.32

4) Toronto – February 2008

For: Lynch, Jennifer, Q.C, Chief Commissioner
Purpose: To attend meetings with regional office and stakeholders
Start Date: 2008-02-28
End Date: 2008-02-28
Destination(s): Toronto
Air Fare: $685.96
Other Transportation: $205.00
Accomodation: $0.00
Meals and incidentals: $12.65
Other: $0.00
Total: $903.61

5) Geneva – April 2008

For: Lynch, Jennifer, Q.C, Chief Commissioner
Purpose: To chair the 20th session of the Annual Meeting of the International Coordinating Committee.
Start Date: 2008-04-12
End Date: 2008-04-18
Destination(s): Geneva
Air Fare: $5,879.14
Other Transportation: $443.17
Accomodation: $1,240.39
Meals and incidentals: $702.18
Other: $0.00
Total: $8,264.88

Including ( as far as I can tell ):

For: Lynch, Jennifer, Q.C, Chief Commissioner
Event Description: Working dinner with ICC Members
Date(s): 2008-04-15
Attendee(s): (Employees/Guests) Employees (2) Guest (9)
Location: Chez Ottavio, Geneva
TOTAL: $203.22

6) Cambridge, Ontario – Late April-Early May 2008

For: Lynch, Jennifer, Q.C, Chief Commissioner
Purpose: To meet with Harvard Law School regarding International Coordinating Committee.
Start Date: 2008-04-30
End Date: 2008-05-01
Destination(s): Cambridge,ON
Air Fare: $1,121.75
Other Transportation: $197.72
Accomodation: $213.11
Meals and incidentals: $148.65
Other: $0.00
Total: $1,681.23

7) Montreal – May 2008

For: Lynch, Jennifer, Q.C, Chief Commissioner
Purpose: Signature of an agreement with Bell Canada.
Start Date: 2008-05-21
End Date: 2008-05-21
Destination(s): Montreal
Air Fare: $0.00
Other Transportation: $272.32
Accomodation: $0.00
Meals and incidentals: $36.30
Other: $33.52
Total: $308.62

8) Washington – March 2008

For: Lynch, Jennifer, Q.C, Chief Commissioner
Purpose: To make a presentation at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and at the Organization of American States (OAS)
Start Date: 2008-03-14
End Date: 2008-03-15
Destination(s): Washington
Air Fare: $1,160.21
Other Transportation: $226.28
Accomodation: $49.35
Meals and incidentals: $91.55
Other: $0.00
Total: $1,527.39

9) Dublin and Copenhagen – June 2008

For: Lynch, Jennifer, Q.C, Chief Commissioner
Purpose: To attend ICC European Regional Meeting in Dublin, Ireland & meet with the Danish Institute for Human Rights in Copenhagen 
Start Date: 2008-06-05
End Date: 2008-06-12
Destination(s): Dublin and Copenhagen
Air Fare: $6,618.93
Other Transportation: $368.53
Accomodation: $1,011.41
Meals and incidentals: $738.44
Other: $157.74
Total: $8,895.05

10) Kuala Lumpur – Late July-Early August 2008

For: Lynch, Jennifer, Q.C, Chief Commissioner
Purpose: To chair the 13th Annual Meeting of the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions
Start Date: 2008-07-26
End Date: 2008-08-01
Destination(s): Kuala Lumpur
Air Fare: $5,797.76
Other Transportation: $194.61
Accomodation: $168.64
Meals and incidentals: $143.06
Other: $99.26
Total: $6,403.33

Including ( as far as I know ):

For: Lynch, Jennifer, Q.C, Chief Commissioner
Event Description: ICC meeting to finalize details of the incorporation
Date(s): 2008-07-28
Attendee(s): (Employees/Guests) Employees (1) Guest (1)
Location: Hotel Imperial, Kuala Lumpur
TOTAL: $25.39

 

For: Lynch, Jennifer, Q.C, Chief Commissioner
Event Description: Meeting regarding incorporation and Constitutive Assembly of ICC
Date(s): 2008-07-31
Attendee(s): (Employees/Guests) Employees (1) Guest (4)
Location: Bujani, Kuala Lumpur
TOTAL: $324.25

11) Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario – June 2008

For: Lynch, Jennifer, Q.C, Chief Commissioner
Purpose: To attend the annual meeting of CASHRA 2008
Start Date: 2008-06-15
End Date: 2008-06-18
Destination(s): Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON
Air Fare: $1,500.59
Other Transportation: $160.00
Accomodation: $556.20
Meals and incidentals: $151.70
Other: $0.00
Total: $2,368.49

12) Vienna – Late August-Early September 2008

For: Lynch, Jennifer, Q.C, Chief Commissioner
Purpose: Represent the ICC at the international Conference on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the world Conference on Human Rights
Start Date: 2008-08-27
End Date: 2008-09-10
Destination(s): Vienna
Air Fare: $7, 140.64
Other Transportation: $192.48
Accomodation: $648.86
Meals and incidentals: $223.45
Other: $0.00
Total: $8,205.43

13) Ottawa, Ontario – December 2008

For: Lynch, Jennifer, Q.C, Chief Commissioner
Event Description: Commission Meeting – Working Dinner
Date(s): 2008-12-08
Attendee(s): (Employees/Guests) Employees (2), Guess (0)
Location: Ottawa Ontario
TOTAL: $118.96

14) Washington – Late April-Early May 2009

For: Lynch, Jennifer, Q.C, Chief Commissioner
Purpose: To attend meetings with Department of Homeland Security and to make a presentation to Transportation Security Administration related to Discrimination Prevention.
Start Date: 2009-04-30
End Date: 2009-05-03
Destination(s): Washington
Air Fare: $1,386.46
Other Transportation: $332.98
Accomodation: $472.59
Meals and incidentals: $164.79
Other: $0.00
Total: $2,258.22

( Some of this is also noted by Ezra Levant, with more here, and by my compatriotrix Theodensdaughter. )

In short, our dear Jennifer seems to enjoy spending money like it’s going out of style. Although that doesn’t mean that she’s averse to getting a good deal either. After all, last December, Jennifer Lynch and the CHRC recorded two thirty-second-long radio ads, mainly to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. The kicker? All for free, courtesy of NewCap Radio Incorporated:

On December 8, 2008, the Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission recorded two 30-second Public Service Announcements (PSA) at a radio station in Ottawa to remind Canadians that December 10, 2008, marked the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Vice-President of Industry Affairs for Newcap Radio Inc. offered to produce the PSAs after receiving a letter from the Chief Commissioner that challenged employers to recognize the human rights milestone. Newcap Radio is a small and medium market broadcaster that runs 77 stations across the country in a variety of formats. The clips were distributed to the Newcap network for broadcast on December 9 and 10, 2008.

 Listen to both announcements by clicking on the audio files:

That’s a pretty good deal. The reason for NewCap Radio Inc.’s generosity? Well, maybe it was simply out of the goodness of their hearts, or because they thought that the 60th anniversary of the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights was worth commemorating. Maybe it was because the CHRC just happens to have jurisdiction over broadcasts such as NewCap Radio Inc.’s. Maybe it was even for tax-deductability purposes, or a combination of all of these things.

Either way, something stank about the whole thing, as pointed out by Ezra Levant at the time:

Let’s do a thought experiment here.

The CHRC is a quasi-judicial organization – they have powers of search and seizure, they have armies of investigators and lawyers, and they have the power to prosecute. They are a regulator – and Newcap Radio, the company that succumbed to Lynch’s demands, is one of the legal entities they regulate.

That’s like the Securities Commission writing a “friendly” letter to stockbrokers, asking them to publish a self-serving ad for the regulator – at the brokers’ expense. If a broker refused, would he still be treated fairly? Would he risk it? Or, to be more blunt, imagine if a policeman from the vice squad visited a bar on his beat, in uniform, and made a very subtle request for a donation to the policeman’s benevolent fund. Seriously: what rational stockbroker, bar-owner, or other regulated person would refuse to pay the pizzo?

But perhaps we shouldn’t begrudge Jennifer her little indulgences. After all, she’s going through a very trying time. Fending off parliamentary inquiries, hiring somebody to report on her own commissions’s progress, ignoring his report and filing one of your own, conducting interviews on how the critics of your attempts to censor are censoring your attempts to censor them, and keeping yourself an active member of the Canadian bureaucracy is all very tiring work. And after a long day’s slog, who wouldn’t enjoy spending a couple of grand on a little jaunt to the country-side? In the olden days, one might have considered one so reticent to hold on to others’ cash an aristrocrat. But these days, aristocrats are so out of style, don’t you know? No, the new upper class is the public servant – although it’s more a mindset than a job description.

Oh, but I must warn any hopefuls to this new aristocracy. There will be paperwork.

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19 Responses to Spendin’ money like it’s goin’ outta style

  1. mbrandon8026 says:

    Good Work, Walker.

    I don’t know this for a fact, but guess that expense item number 6 was not a meeting with Harvard in Cambridge Ontario, but more likely took place in Cambridge Mass., where Harvard is located.

    I will be unveiling my new nickname for the Queen of Censors tomorrow on my blog. I have decided to call her henceforth J Ly, in dubious honour of J Lo who sings many tunes.

    J Ly only sings one tune, that is that the bloggers are spreading misinformation about her good works. That we are all reading case transcripts and decisions and reporting them verbatim is of course lost on her, which makes her tune so off key.

  2. Ohhh – that could be, Re: Cambridge. I just copied what they’ve got written down, but it’s possible that they made a mistake in writing down that particular set of expense details.

    I think that’s a fitting nick-name!

  3. Natasha says:

    Excellent work, Walker. If we only had a government with enough of a spine to get rid of the Lynchers.

    mbrandon8026 — I think that nickname will catch on!

  4. Kevin Kindred says:

    The expenses information is really only helpful if there is some context around it. I’d be interested to know what the expenses of similar level bureaucrats look like. Without that, I can’t really tell if this is a critique that belongs particularly to Jennifer Lynch, or a general screed against government spending. Only the former would really justify personal attacks on her spending.

    • You raise an interesting point, and actually, I think I’m going to look into the spending of some of Jennifer’s co-workers and fellow bureaucrats a little later on, when I’ve got the time.

      Until then, it can serve as a general screed against government spending :)

  5. mbrandon8026 says:

    Fairly typical Kevin Kindred. Much ado about nothing. Kevin, I know that you have meaningful opinions, just still waiting for you to express them.

    • Kevin Kindred says:

      I feel like the most meaningful way I can contribute to these discussions is to correct what I see as unfair spin or false information. In my comments here and at Ezra Levant’s blog, I’ve tried to stick to that plan. I feel like a gadfly when I do it–not a bad feeling, mind you, and historically I’m in good company–but that’s really my interest here.

      But if you would like my meaningful opinion on a question of substance, let me know. I won’t be shy to give it. It’s just not the reason I lurk on the blogosphere on this issue.

  6. mbrandon8026 says:

    Kevin:

    I know that you could say something meaningful, because I sense that even though we are likely to disagree, we can do so respectfully. You were starting to break out in early July but backed off. Good to see you back.

    But frankly, all I see from you in the way of comments are those that are similar to J Ly’s comments that bloggers and the media are disseminating “misinformation” for quoting case transcripts and decisions, with no examples or facts to support her statements, possibly because there are none. Then she goes whining to CASHRA, and then to the CBA.

    I stated at one time that if you had anything substantial to say, I would post it because I am open to someone showing me something I don’t know, and I know that Walker here feels the same way. My blog (always open) is

    http://freethroughtruth.blogspot.com/

    • Kevin Kindred says:

      Yes, all I’ve really been doing is pointing out examples of misinformation and spin. I think that’s a valuable part of the discussion. And given how out-of-control this discussion can get sometimes, I think that is actually substantial.

  7. […] Jay Currie comments on my post written below on Jennifer Lynch’s travel expenses: Over at the very valuable (and likely on a list […]

  8. Rob says:

    She’s a one-woman climate change generator. Thank God she’s “raising awareness” of, um, Mark Steyn.

  9. […] Here is a breakdown of some of the costs of her globe-hopping from Miss Nixon. (H/T Blazing Cat Fur) […]

  10. […] Here is a breakdown of some of the costs of her globe-hopping from Miss Nixon. (H/T Blazing Cat Fur) […]

  11. […] – part two Based mainly upon an – I think, well-deserved – question from a commenter to my post on some of Jennifer Lynch’s spending habits below, I thought I’d take some […]

  12. […] Here we are in a middle of recession and Canada’s own Marie Antoinette is off galivanting at huge public expense to complain that we – the ignorant masses, have gone all uppity on […]

  13. […] of the Canadian Human Rights Act – and then some.  We covered some of the CHRC’s spending habits, and found that, as a whole, they’re spending way too much for the job that […]

  14. […] Here we are in a middle of recession and Canada’s own Marie Antoinette is off galivanting at huge public expense to complain that we – the ignorant masses, have gone all uppity on […]

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