Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Drop the Politics and Fix 24 Sussex Drive

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Drop the Politics and Fix 24 Sussex Drive

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Drop the politics and fix 24 Sussex Drive

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An editorial from the Hamilton Spectator, published Feb. 6:

Few things better symbolize the stupid, counterproductive, hyperpartisan atmosphere that pervades Canada's federal political scene than the on-again, off-again debate over what to do with 24 Sussex Drive.

It's not new. The tempest in a teapot over investing in the residence intended to house the leader of the country has been blowing hot and cold for years.

Everyone agrees, this mansion is a dump. It has asbestos. Heating and cooling systems are out of date. While no national leader wants to live there, swarms of mice do. It has literally been dubbed unfit for human habitation by architectural and safety experts. Most recent estimates suggest Sussex needs $10 million in renovations and upgrades. They could have been done for much less in years past, but because no one had the guts to make the commitment, the situation has gone from bad to worse.

And even in its current unoccupied state, it's costing taxpayers money. Between November 2015 and March 2016, it cost $180,000 to keep it heated, lit up and clear of snow. The hydro bills alone for that five-month period weighed in at $38,881. And the National Capital Commission, in charge of the residence, has let something like $133,000 in contracts related to the house since 2016.

Why? Because no political leader wants to be seen as feathering his or her own nest by investing the necessary money to make Sussex safe and respectable. …

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