In defense of Preyra
I'm writing in response to Gerry Walsh's claptrap (Letters, February 11), of my own volition, without the knowledge of Leonard Preyra or any other MLA. I happen to believe in our democratic system, as flawed as it may be, and I am sick and tired of people like Dr. Walsh tearing it down for transparently self-serving reasons.
The self-righteous indignation coming from the losing Liberal candidate in Halifax Citadel last June is laughable. As though Saint Gerry from the party that turned political corruption in Nova Scotia into an art form would somehow have been immune to the growing witch hunt stemming from the auditor general's report!
Honest mistakes describe the large majority of the "questionable" MLA expenses of all parties flagged by the auditor general, and the reimbursement of Dr. Preyra's airline ticket is a case in point: You plan a business trip, and you want to take along a family member. You buy both tickets on your credit card, and submit the paperwork for reimbursement for your ticket. There is just one receipt, so you submit that, making a note that only yours is to be reimbursed. Paperwork goes from office to office, desk to desk, and along the way the entire receipt somehow gets reimbursed. This reimbursement, along with numerous others, comes on a single large cheque several weeks, even months later.
Now other than the fact that the system isn't perfect, where's the scandal here? An audit detected the error and the overpayment was paid back. The real scandal is the depths to which people like Dr. Walsh will stoop to gain a political advantage. Dr. Walsh ran against Dr. Preyra, and knows full well of Dr. Preyra's honour and integrity. And yet he chooses to participate in dragging an honourable man's reputation through the mud. Even for an old-time Liberal, Dr. Walsh's self-serving opportunism and disingenuity are breathtaking. —Dr. David Clarke, Halifax