UVic political historian Dr. Penny Bryden in front of the BC Legislature, August 2019/UVic Photo Services

A History professor at the University of Victoria has just revealed details of her research into what really grinds Canadians’ gears when it comes to politics.

While voters in the US and UK tend to focus on sex scandals, Dr. Penny Bryden says misspent taxpayer dollars is what Canadian voters hate the most.

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Bryden has catalogued over 1,000 scandals across the country since 1867, encountering everything from the purchase of a $16 glass of orange juice to the sale of an amusement park owned by a provincial premier.

“In Canada, we get outraged about misspent money more than anything else,” said Bryden in a statement. “Money is rarely far from the centre of a Canadian political scandal.”

Among others, she notes a sponsorship scandal that contributed to the downfall of the federal Liberals in 2006. Bryden says Canadians were angry that federal money was being spent in Quebec as a way to shore up support for national unity.

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The $16 glass of orange juice was another memorable scandal ensuing from the Harper government that followed, after then-minister Bev Oda charged it to her expense account.

Her current list exceeds 1,000 scandals and counting, with Bryden already halfway through an exhaustive five-year humanities research project funded through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

 

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