Corbella: Alohagate is infuriating but pales next to more complicated scandals

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Three days later, he asked for and accepted the resignations of Allard and his chief of staff, Jamie Huckabay, who visited the U.K. over the holidays. Five other MLAs lost parliamentary secretary roles and legislative committee responsibilities, which leads to significant cuts in pay.

The glaring hypocrisy and entitlement of these government members flouting their own government guidelines — that made it illegal for people to visit their own family in their own city in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 — was so obvious, it’s astonishing that it’s come to this, with more than 20 politicians from virtually every major federal party being caught in the same situation.

But, compared to, say, the use of taxpayer money to fill party coffers or the bank accounts of family members — something the federal Liberal party has been caught doing several times over the years — it’s small potatoes. Don’t get me wrong, the anger and disgust over Alohagate is justified, but is not proportionate to other much more serious scandals.

So, why do some political scandals stick and others don’t?

Mount Royal University political science professor Duane Bratt says if it’s relatable and easy to understand, the public outrage is higher.

“A lot of scandals are quite complicated and there’s a lot of nuance,” he said.

“Those are tough. But everybody knows what the price of orange juice is,” said Bratt, referring to Bev Oda, the first Japanese-Canadian MP and cabinet minister, who charged a $16 glass of orange juice to her London hotel tab and ended up resigning her cabinet post in 2012 as minister of international co-operation in Stephen Harper’s Conservative government and leaving politics altogether as a result.

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