Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Green shoes, green taxes, green hypocrisy?

One of the things that really irks me is the announcement of a new budget, because it usually brings the associated element that the Finance Minister wears new shoes. Nobody really knows the origins of this tradition, but I've seen the BC Minister of Finance unveil new budgets and wearing very expensive shoes. As noted in local newspapers, the current BC Minister of Finance, Carole Taylor, will be wearing 'green shoes' to go with her new 'green budget'.

There are several ironies here. First, shoes are very expensive (particularly in Canada). Wearing new shoes when you are about to hit taxpayers with new taxes or to speak about budgets doesn't really reflect very well on you. Second, shoes' manufacturing process is not really environmentally friendly (I do know this for a fact, and if you want to challenge me on this particular area, I dare you). Therefore, to say that you're wearing 'green shoes' is somewhat of a contradiction (yes there are more environmentally-friendly materials for shoes, but I saw a photo of Taylor's and they don't seem to be manufactured in that way). Third, shoes are often the commodity that homeless and poor people can least access. Thus, it's somewhat ironic that Taylor spends a few hundred dollars in a new pair of shoes that could very well be spent on feeding a few homeless people.

Wouldn't it be better if (even if just for PR purposes), every time a new budget was tabled, the Minister of Finance actually auctioned his/her shoes and all proceeds went to charitable causes? Or that the actual money that they were supposed to spend on new shoes goes to those charities? Oh, no... That might actually require to have some degree of sensitivity for the poor and marginalized, something that it is clear, politicians in this province, city and country don't seem to have that much of.

1 comment:

D Gill said...

Hi,I'm a fan of any post with themes related to the injustice and inequality in our society...
but I would encourage a politican, or member of government to wear nice shoes when addressing everybody, I encourage all forms of self hygiene for everyone without prejudice ;)