The announcement that Justin Trudeau et famille will move into Rideau Cottage instead of 24 Sussex brought back a flood of old memories at Frankland Capital Corp.
As noted by many scribes in the Twitterverse, Rideau Cottage, located on the well-manicured grounds of the Governor General’s residence at Rideau Hall, is hardly a cottage. It’s a 22-room heritage home, constructed in 1867, that was once used as a patronage plum for Liberal loyalists.
Among them was Barbara Uteck, former secretary to Adrienne Clarkson, the free-spending Liberal GG and object of much derision by the Tories during her reign.
A longtime Clarkson loyalist, Uteck had a cushy gig with the Freeloader General. Not only did she receive a salary well into six figures, an expense account and government pension, but she also squatted, free of charge, at Rideau Cottage.
Long-memoried Tories will recall Barbara’s appearance at the public accounts committee in 2003. In the event, she flew, at taxpayers’ expense, from Clarkson’s notorious ‘northern identity’ tour already in progress, a 19-day junket with an entourage of 50 Great CanadiansTM with touch-downs in Russia, Finland and Iceland (cost: $5.3 million).
After testifying for one hour, Uteck jumped back on the plane and flew halfway around the world to rejoin L’Adrienne’s circumpolar fandango. Not only were her arms tired, but the return trip for Uteck and a fartcatcher cost taxpayers a reported $17,000 on a government aircraft.
Uteck shared her expense-free digs at Rideau Cottage with her husband, Graham Fraser, who later became commissioner of official languages.
Prior, he was a much-respected Toronto Star typist, who, thankfully, seldom wrote about Rideau Hall.
But he was full of praise for public servants for their self-sacrifice and loyalty to higher duty.