Editorial: Watering restrictions and Duffygate

As wildfires rage across the province, some people ignore watering restrictions; Duffygate: PEI's disgraced senator's senate scandal trial.

Fires are burning throughout the province as B.C. experiences one of the driest summers in recent history. With little precipitation in many regions, rivers are lower than they should be this time of year. So much so, there are angling suspensions in many creeks in the area and lawn-watering restrictions have been put into place.

So, why do some people continue to insist on running their sprinklers and watering systems for hours on end during the hottest times of the day?

Everyone’s grass is a less-than-luxurious shade of green, the result of the hot, dry weather. Rather than trying to achieve a green lawn, shouldn’t we be more concerned about taking quicker showers, making sure to shut off the water when we brush our teeth and reserve our watering routines to only those plants that provide us nourishment?

The city has enacted watering restrictions stating that lawns are only to be watered for a maximum of one hour every other day, from dusk ‘til dawn, or, more specifically, between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. This time of the evening/night is the most effective time to water the lawn, as the sun is at its lowest and the water won’t evaporate so quickly. So, until the fires stop burning and we finally receive a substantial amount of rain, stop being wasteful and entitled and just let the grass turn whatever shades it pleases.

It seems silly for such issues like this to bother me, but I guess it somewhat distracts me from thinking about the current state of our country.

Water entitlement when there’s a drought is as frustrating as seeing millions of dollars thrown at the senate scandal trial while our country faces a recession.

Our government of the day is going through legal proceedings for a ridiculous senate scandal that’s starting to look like the plot of a bad Hollywood movie. From here on out, I shall refer to this debacle as “Duffygate”, featuring once prominent journalist-turned-politically-appointed-embarrassment P.E.I. Senator Mike Duffy.

Conservative Senator Duffy has pleaded not guilty to 31 charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery related to expenses he incurred after being given the appointment of senator by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and then repaid with money given to him by Nigel Wright, Harper’s then chief of staff. In the spring of 2013, Wright wrote a cheque to Duffy in the amount of $90,172 – the amount Duffy owed in improperly claimed senate living expenses.

In a regular day-to-day job if an employee were to be charged with such severe criminal offences, he or she would immediately be terminated. However, if one reaches the helm of the federal government, namely the senate, it seems the appointed players play by a different set of rules. When Harper dropped the writ on Aug. 2 declaring the beginning of one of the longest and most costly federal election campaigns our country has seen, the suspension of Duffy, along with his fellow suspended, disgraced senators Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau, was lifted and each one began to once again receive their salaries. A senator earns a yearly salary of $142,400. During this extra-long campaign we’ve been subjected to – a whopping 78 days – each senator will earn roughly $30,000 during that period. That amounts to more than many Canadians earn in an entire year.

The more I think about what’s happening in our government as we head into an election, the more disheartened and disappointed I feel. I hope Canadians use this opportunity to exercise their civic duty responsibly and vote for change, whatever colour that might be.