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Middle aged hetrosexual, WASP male. Middle of the road, reasonably sane and  reasonably employed.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I'm on Vacation!!!!

A retired federal civil servant accused of missing more than 300 days of work told MPs on Monday that he did his work from his isolated cottage.

"There's nothing that says you have to be in the office to do your work," Ron Stewart said during testimony before a parliamentary committee in Ottawa on Monday.

Stewart's testimony marked the first time the former federal prison ombudsman has spoken publicly since being fingered in Auditor General Sheila Fraser's report in November.

Fraser accused Stewart of missing more than 300 days of work in the last six years he worked before retiring from the Office of the Correctional Investigator in 2004.

MPs on the Commons public accounts committee, which is probing the allegations, grilled Stewart on how he could have worked at his Ontario cottage, which has no telephone service, no electricity, no internet and no fax.

"How would people ever reach you if they had needs?" asked Conservative MP Mike Lake, of Edmonton. "By kayak, by canoe?"

Stewart answered that the Ontario Provincial Police were able to find him when they needed to tell him about a prison riot.

"They didn't know where I lived, but they asked around," Stewart said.

Lake was quick to dismiss Stewart's response: "The very fact that the OPP had to wander around a lake looking for you — doesn't that tell you something?"

Stewart was also asked about the $325,000 in salary and benefits that Fraser accused him of taking.

Stewart replied that he would pay back any money, should it ever be proven he was in the wrong when he took it.

"I want to tell this committee, and the people of Canada, that if I have received money or benefits that I should not have received, I intend to pay them back to the best of my ability," Stewart said.

"I promise you I will do that."

(You know what it says on the banner for this blog; "Tell people something enough times, with enough conviction, and they will believe just about anything!")

Your "show me" scribe;
Allan W Janssen

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