New Brunswick — In the weeks after the release of the Auditor General’s report on June 9, 4 New Brunswick senators have been diagnosed with a rare mental disorder that makes them believe that they are starring in a reality show about themselves. This “Hollywood-esque” handicap explains the alleged spending violations by the 2 sitting and 2 retired New Brunswick members of the Canadian Senate.
The “Truman Show delusion” is named for the 1998 movie about a man who discovers that his life has been stage-managed from birth on an enormous set and broadcast to a fascinated and devoted worldwide TV audience. Sufferers of this syndrome are convinced they are stars of an imaginary reality show. Researcher Joey Goold says, “The ‘Truman Show delusion’ encompasses a patient’s entire life. They believe their family, friends and co-workers are all reading from scripts and their home, workplace and hospital are all sets. They believe they are being filmed for the whole world to see.”
This diagnosis has been made as the spending habits of these 4 New Brunswick senators has come under scrutiny by the Auditor General of Canada. The New Brunswick senators cited in the report are Sen. Sandra Lovelace-Nicholas, who is under scrutiny for $75,227, and Sen. Joseph Day for expenses totalling $19,634. Retired past speaker of the Senate Noel Kinsella is being questioned related to $9,000 in expenses as well as retired senator Rose-Marie Losier-Cool for expenses totalling $110,051.
Some manifestations of this behaviour include:
- Retired senator Rose-Marie Losier-Cool believed that she was in a long-running edition of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, where her home in Moncton was under renovation for 448 days. This unusually long renovation explains why she could only stay there 16 days between April 2011 and June 2012, even though she claimed it was her primary residence;
- Retired senator Noel Kinsella believed himself to be in a reality show similar to Undercover Boss where he would only attend his brother-in-law’s funeral in Sault Ste. Marie covertly as a senator and speaker of the Senate, rather than as a family member. This disassociation was his justification for billing taxpayers $5,663 for the trip;
- Sen. Sandra Lovelace-Nicholas stayed at hotels in Fredericton for 2 or more consecutive nights 40 times despite having no specific Senate business. Lovelace-Nicholas explained her extended stays as an opportunity to informally meet with her many constituents. Deeper investigation revealed that she actually believed herself to be a star on Big Brother Canada, and was incapable of leaving the hotel until she was evicted by the other hotel patrons; and
- Sen. Joseph Day believed himself to be a central character in a Dance Moms-type show, responsible for showing “the young people how to jump and jive” when he billed taxpayers over $12,000 for attending the Canadian Branch of the Duke of Edinburgh International Awards 4 times.
The senators’ reality show delusions unfortunately did not end there. Day also believes that he is a contestant in an American Idol-type singing competition, and frequently raves at people, “You haven’t seen the last of me!” when they don’t praise his acapella singing. Lovelace-Nicholas frequently complains about “being thrown under the bus” by her peers, but at the same time dismisses any criticism saying, “I didn’t come here to make friends!”
Losier-Cool seems to think the people surrounding her on her “show” are “all haters,” who are plotting against her, because they are jealous of her swagger and style. Kinsella agreed, saying, “Haters gonna hate. Don’t hate the playa; hate the game.”
The senators are now receiving treatment at a rehabilitation resort in Malibu, Calif. at taxpayers’ expense.