These stories are true.
- For 18 months, an Albertan working at the Agency charged an evening meal for his travel back from Ottawa to Calgary. For as many months the charge for an evening meal was refused. It finally happened that the man’s assistant discovered the reason why the expense had been refused. The clerk had diligently discovered that the man in question had arrived home at 5 o’clock Alberta time and should not have been charging for a meal so early in the day. You guessed it: the clerk was unaware that Alberta has a two hour time difference from Ottawa-Gatineau.
- A set of documents had been faxed to Winnipeg. The person who was supposed to receive them worked in Regina. Not finding the documents in her office, she phoned headquarters. Learning of the mistake, the worker in Gatineau asked the person in Saskatchewan why she could not have her assistant drive over and pick them up from the Agency’s Winnipeg office.
- A representative of the Agency had business on Vancouver Island, so he expensed a ferry ticket for the cost of getting there. Asked why he had expensed a ferry ticket, he had to explain to the clerk in Gatineau that, uh, Vancouver Island is, after all, an island. And that Vancouver the city is not the same as Vancouver the island.
- The head of the agency had a meeting in Detroit, but was then in Windsor. His assistant in Gatineau attempted to arrange a flight between Windsor and Detroit, only to discover they are a taxi drive apart.
These stories reflect the sad reality of the Quebec education system meeting a country with five time zones. The nice people in finance just do not know anything beyond the borders of Quebec. They are victims of an educational system that fails to prepare them not for the world, but even for they country they live in.
Please send your stories about federal government lunacy to tomifobia at hotmail dot com. They must be believed by you on your best information to be true.