Wednesday October 18, 2006
Recognizing two solitudes of Lending Agencies
The 2006 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank – the innovative micro-credit program he founded thirty years ago to help some of the world’s poorest people climb out of chronic poverty. The Nobel Peace Prize is the latest of many awards Yunus has won for bringing this powerful idea to fruition. (More: Christian Science Monitor)
Meanwhile, Stan Keyes has landed a new job, three months after the former federal cabinet minister and longtime Liberal MP was ousted as Boston Consul General by the Conservative government.
The 53-year-old will head up the Canadian Payday Loan Association, the lobby group for 22 firms that run more than 850 payday lending outlets across Canada.
The industry has had its share of controversy, with some critics saying payday lending victimizes the poor and plays an increasing part in bankruptcy cases. The federal Conservatives just introduced legislation to allow provinces to regulate the industry. Payday lending is worth about $1.7 billion each year, with more than 1,300 independent and chain stores.
Keyes, whose new job will see him lobby governments on regulations they create for the payday lending industry, said he accepted becoming CPLA president because he believes it will allow him to use all the skills he’s developed over the last 30 years in politics and the media. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)
Why can’t defeated politicians simply accept the fact that once they get turfed out of office then maybe it’s time to learn from the voter thrashing and go away into private life for good? Stan Keyes served an honorable and distinguished career by representing Hamilton West as MP from 1988-2004. More than enough time to make his mark on Ottawa. He climbed up the political ladder and for his loyalty to Paul Martin, was rewarded with a cabinet position for a short period of time before being swept out of office by David Christopherson.
Out of office, I chose to kick the poor guy when he was at his lowest, by reminding readers around the time of the Athens Olympics that, were it not for the federal election called a few months earlier, our man Stan would’ve been there in his capacity as Minister of Amateur Sport.
That should’ve been the last cartoon I ever drew of him, thinking he’d soon pick himself up and go into private life eventually finding a good paying job in the private sector and never be seen again.
But no, Paul Martin had to follow in the footsteps of all past Prime Ministers and throw something to Stan in the form of a Patronage Appointment. It was off to Boston for the Loyal Martinite as the new cocktail party hosting Canadian consul-general. It made for a nice combo cartoon with the Maple Leaf Processing Plant whose fate at the time of Keyes appointment was still up in the air.
A highpoint for him may have been observing the defeat of the Liberal government from his diplomatic perch in Massachusetts, but that wouldn’t last long. Stephen Harper would replace him within a few months giving Stan the chance to leave public life for good.
But then the latest job offer came and he took the hook and bait. While it is a private sector job his post as head of the Canadian Payday Loan Association will have consequences to those poor souls who’ve come to rely on loans with ridiculous interest rates. While he says he looks forward to assisting in the regulation of the lending agencies he’s not exactly there to look out for common folk trapped in the cycle of borrowing. He’s there to lobby the government on the lenders behalf. He not in the commoners house anymore, he’s there to defend lending agencies from gouging people with exhorbitant interest rates. Pretty shameful.