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Top Executives Agree to Stop Laughing at Pathetic Lottery Payouts

TORONTO, ON (SP) — In a move designed to placate shareholders irate at astronomical executive incomes, the leaders of several of Canada's top companies have pledged to stop scoffing in public at the "puny, pathetic" payouts of Lotto Super 7 and Lotto 6-49, which untold legions of their employees play every week in the vain hope of achieving "freedom". "It is true that the $52-million-plus I took home last year, including long-term incentives — in one single year, mind you — is more than any jackpot that's ever been paid out by not-so-Super 7," said Frank Stronach, Chairman of the Board of Magna International Inc. "But I will agree to stop boasting about that fact."

Bank of Nova Scotia President and CEO Peter Godsoe, whose 2002 base salary, bonus, and incentives totalled more than $10-million, chuckled at the idea of his employees forming "lottery pools" in misguided attempts to improve their odds at winning lotteries. "Come on, people. So you might win $5-million in Lotto 6-49, and have to split it 10 or 12 ways. Which means each person gets like 400 grand. Whoo-hoo, time to retire — not! I get twice that much every month, before taxes anyway. But apparently some people don't like to be reminded of that fact, so I've agreed to stop mentioning it."

Travis Engen, President and CEO of Alcan Inc., received a Christmas bonus of over $2.5-million in 2002. "When I see those signs saying 'Lotto 6-49, this week's jackpot $2-million', I feel like asking, 'why not just wait until December?' Although, I guess when the average Canadian would have to work over a hundred years to just make what I get as a bonus on top of my already seven-figure salary, I can kind of understand. Must suck, though."

The executives, who made their pledge in an open letter printed in Canada's major dailies, did not take the further step of agreeing to stop mentioning how easily they could make up for public-sector budget shortfalls. Said Belinda Stronach, President and CEO of Magna International, "When I've read that this-or-that government is gonna hafta shut this school or that hospital in order to save three million bucks, I'm like, 'I have that much in my chequing account.' And if I want to mention that at cocktail parties, that's my right."

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