I was just thumbing through Saskatchewan Public Accounts Volume 2. I was perusing the expenses for the Legislative Assembly when I came across a $166,000 payment to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, of which Saskatchewan is a member (I assume).
Here is a blurb about the organization:
The CPA works in the fields of good governance, of democracy and elections, and of human rights, while special attention is also paid to gender sensitizing (through the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians) and to promoting awareness of parliamentary democracy among the youth of the Commonwealth. It was founded in 1911 as the Empire Parliamentary Association. Active CPA Branches now exist in nearly 170 national, state, provincial and territorial Parliaments and Legislatures, with a total membership approaching 15,000 Parliamentarians.
The Association's mission is to promote the advancement of parliamentary democracy by enhancing knowledge and understanding of democratic governance. It seeks to build an informed parliamentary community able to deepen the Commonwealth’s democratic commitment and to further co-operation among its Parliaments and Legislatures. This mission is achieved through a Strategic Plan which ensures CPA activities continue to meet the changing needs of today’s Parliamentarians.
CPA programmes provide the sole means of regular consultation among Commonwealth Members, fostering fostering co-operation and understanding promoting the study of and respect for good parliamentary practice. This role is endorsed by Commonwealth Parliaments and Heads of Government. In 2003, governments bound Government themselves to an additional set of Commonwealth principles based on a CPA initiative with legal professionals to define the proper relationships between the arms of government. Click for details on the CPA's Organization and Constitution.
Now seriously, is this really a justified expenditure? Is it worth $166,000? Of course, their most recent meeting was in Fiji.