How diverting to see Senator Linda Frum commence the unenviable and inevitable throat-clearing about any commitments she may have made to the Rt. Hon. Stephen Joseph Whodat to retire after eight years of fully-catered service to a grateful nation.
“People should not stay for a period in excess of eight to 12 years,” she told the National Post as recently as 2014, hinting she might pull the plug even earlier. “For any organization, that is an appropriate amount of time in which you can make a contribution (and) you can stay relevant.”
But that was then, and with the eight-year anniversary of her appointment rolling around next month, our Linda’s found new purpose in her sinecure: As the Liberals stack the Upper House with soi-disant independants, it’s incumbent on the old school party hacks and bagthingies to stay on and safeguard democracy from the invading meritocrats.
“I can believe it would be a better institution if everybody sat somewhere between eight and 12 years, but it has to apply to one and all,” spake the Frumlet this week in the Hill Times. Since the new kids with the impressive resumés aren’t going anywhere, neither is she! Frum’s meal ticket is, after all, good until her 75th birthday in 2038.
Most dismissive is Frum now of the “great mythology” that she and her fellow Harper appointees ever made any promises to retire early, or, in the alternative, that those commitments survived President Steve’s subsequent abandonment of senate reform.
Nobody is suggesting, nor should they, that the silver-spoony Frumlette needs the money. Before her entirely non-partisan appointment to the Udder Place in 2009, she was not only one of Harper’s most shameless media cheerleaders, but a megabucks party baglady. She and husband/developer Howie Sokolowski hosted private fundraisers for Harper, away from the prying eye of the media, and enriched by the bankroll and Rolodex of grillionaire pater, Murray Frum.
Her modest $147,700 sessional indemnity, plus $5,900 top-up for her duties as Tory caucus chair, adds up to a mere $153,600 for literally dozens of days’ work every year. (Of 125 days she’s been expected to show up in the chamber since December 2015, Senator Frum has presented on fully 107).
Taxpayers also also shell out some $23,400 annually for Linda’s pied-à-terre in Ottawa, and in the first quarter of 2017 alone, spent $5,702 tootling back and forth between Ottawa and Toronto.
And won’t someone think of the fartcatchers? In the event of a precipitous retirement, what would become of Linda’s entourage, executive assistant Gillian Rokosh, director of parliamentary affairs Aaron Silver, and special assistant Kevin Mason (whose special duties seem to include ‘liking’ Linda’s Facebook posts)?
And then there’s the vital stimulus she offers the private sector, with contracts for the likes of Lamplight Communications, which banked $2,160 for “web services” last quarter. Lamplight is run by Tory lobby lizard Jennifer Pilzecker, ex of the party’s taxpayer-funded war room, the Conservative Resource Group.
For this outlay of public monies, the senator naturally gets nothing but the best. Example: Frum’s website indexes her many important statements on human rights (spoiler: Iran did it) including her historic May 2016 address: “Senator Frum: Designation of IRDC as a Terrorist Organization” (shurely ‘IDRC’?!–ed.)
The link, alas is dead, but a quick check of Hansard reveals that honourable senator was not in fact blowing the whistle on the International Retail Design Conference (this Sept. 5-8 in New Orleans), but in fact on IRGC, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
With so much more to offer a grateful nation, why would Linda quit now? The hereditary public servant, rest assured, will certainly not be budging before her 55th birthday next January, at which time she could begin drawing a $31,000 pension for her labours, a lifetime payout worth $1.4 million should she, as Frank fervently hopes, survive to age 90.
The longer she selflessly serves, of course, the deeper the gravy.