No mystery in the program behind the general’s moving costs

John Geddes adds context to the debate about moving costs

(CP Photo)

(CP Photo)

From the shocked tone of Defence Minister Rob Nicholson’s prepared statement on the more than $72,000 his department spent moving Andrew Leslie from one Ottawa house to another when the former general retired from the Forces, you’d think this government had never before had cause to take a close look at their relocation program.

Having preemptively declared that Leslie’s moving costs “appear grossly excessive,” Nicholson went on to say that he “will be asking” his officials to explain. It’s hard to think of any good reason for the minister to offer his gut reaction first and only afterwards ask his department to brief him—aside, of course, from the fact that Leslie is now advising Justin Trudeau as a high-profile Liberal recruit.

Leslie responded by saying that he merely availed himself of a standard relocation benefit available to anyone retiring after long service in the military or the RCMP. That $72,000-plus figure looks large, of course, but the former commander of Canadian troops in Afghanistan noted that the whole process was managed by “a third party provider,” not directly by him, and the total includes not just the cost of moving his possessions, but also legal and real-estate fees.

Is it possible that Nicholson’s surprised reaction reflects the government’s unawareness, until the Leslie story surfaced over the weekend, with the way their own so-called Integrated Relocation Program works? I can’t imagine why. It’s not as if the program hasn’t been scrutinized closely since the Conservatives took office.

In the fall of 2006, the Auditor General presented a detailed report on the program, complete with a list of recommendations, which the government broadly accepted. It’s a significant file that you might expect a defence minister to have no trouble getting briefed up on: Back in 2005, the year the AG examined, it handled about 15,000 military and RCMP relocations and cost about $272 million. (I’ve asked for the most recent figures and will update this post when Defence gets back to me.)

The AG’s 2006 report dealt largely with the bidding process for real estate firms that compete to run the relocation service. Those details don’t have anything to do with the Leslie story. But the timing is relevant. This program was, after all, the subject of close attention in 2007, when the government committed to seriously review key elements of it as a result of the AG’s findings. That’s not the distant past. So Nicholson shouldn’t have any difficulty summoning senior officials to give him a very up-to-date appraisal.

What if they tell him the relocation program is running well and fulfilling its intended purpose? In that case, I guess there’s no policy debate to be had here, and it comes down to Nicholson’s assertion that what’s at issue is “a matter of judgement” on the the part of Leslie. The minister seems to be implying that Leslie should have asked the independent contractor overseeing his relocation how much it was costing, made a personal judgement that the amount was too high, and then voluntarily opted out of the program.

Or maybe Nicholson will conclude, after he gets around to listening to the explanation he’s requested from his own department, that it’s a bit much to put the onus on individual retiring soldiers to make that sort of ad hoc assessment. In that case, any problem with the design of the relocation program that results in excessive costs would be entirely the responsibility of the minister.

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No mystery in the program behind the general’s moving costs

  1. This is an entirely political attack. Thank you for pointing out the truth.

    • Clearly Leslie did not abuse the system, unlike many of Harper’s senate appointments who scammed taxpayers for lavish travel and housing expenses. Funny how Harper is trying to smear him by associating him with them.

      What did Leslie do to bring Harper’s wrath down on him? Decide to run as a Liberal candidate in the next election? How pathetic is that?

      • Liberal and Conservative senators live high on the hog. Abolish the senate.

        Seriously you’re using senators to define an ethical standard ? Following the rules to maximize your take of tax payer money is not what we should expect from people in government.

        Drop the ‘entitled to my entitlements’ attitude.

        • I definitely wouldn’t use senators to define any form of ethical standards. In fact, the Canadian senate is the most corrupt political institution in the developed world.

          I think abolishing the senate is the best option. Of course, we would need to ensure we have a democratic voting system in place first (like ranked ballot voting which the Liberals support) to put an end to the tyranny of the minority. It’s time to do like the rest of the developed world: ensure an actual majority of voters is represented in government.

          • how do you abolish the senate, because im sick of people like you who think you can wave a magic wand and its gone. do you want to see a government get involved with a constitutional debate for the next 5 to 10 years, because once you open pandora’s box while Quebec is in separation mode, that’s all Quebecois is waiting for, is for Tom to open the constitution. you must be a dipper.

          • We’d be better off on both counts, you can’t fix something until you start, you sound like you’re afraid to start. For the quebec issue we will tiptoe around this issue for years to come until a poitician with purpose takes the province to task and finally says go if you want to. They can’t afford to go, they are the loud spoiled child that needs to be dealt with once and for all. Senators are the same.

          • How do you abolish the senate ?

            Hold a national referendum. I’d expect voters in every province to say yes.

            Then have HOC and senate pass a constitutional amendment that abolishes the senate.

            Then have friendly premiers pass the amendment.
            Then get in the face of premiers who haven’t and remind them that they are ignoring the will of their own voters.

            No meetings. No conference. No discussion about other issues.

            Just our leaders implementing the will of the voters.

          • You can’t amend a segment of the Constitution by referendum. You can have a referendum as to whether to open the Constitution to amend it, but that’s a different thing, isn’t it? Who wants to vote to open the Constitution? Hands? Anyone?

          • You can ask the country any yes or no question you want.

            Hold a vote. Do you want the senate abolished yes or no ?

            Everyone will say yes. Premiers who don’t follow the wishes of their constituents will get the boot.

            Eventually enough provinces will come on side. No conference, no mess.

          • You’d be surprised at how many people would like to open the Constitution.

          • Yes, I would. If they lived in PEI, Nova Scotia or Quebec. Or Ontario, I’d be surpised there, too, but that might be home bias.

          • I am sure the government of PEI. NS and Quebec will jump at the chance to follow the will of Ontario and Alberta.

            So long as you can keep enough of your own supporters onside to keep you in office, what most people might want doesn’t matter. Nobody knows this better than Stephen Harper.

          • I’m sure the PEOPLE of PEI, NS and Quebec will jump at that same chance. So essentially RPoints is demanding the provinces’ leaders get the boot in spite of being onside with their citizens. Because some people in some other provinces say so.

            Hey, wouldn’t that be a good idea for, I don’t know, say a National Energy program?

        • This is the Army, not the Senate. Abolish the Army?

      • If he had been Con, or non-partisan, not a word would have been said…..but to be a Lib advisor, and to want to run as a candidate, well….that makes Leslie the anti-christ apparently!

        PS He retired in 2011….it’s only now the Cons are ‘upset’. LOL

        • Excellent point Emily One! Thanks.

  2. $72 thousand to move from one house to another in the same city?? How much stuff does he have? Most people don’t spend that much moving from one coast to the other.

    • Do you know what real estate fee’s on selling a million dollar house are? And then legal fees, and professional movers? It doesn’t matter how much stuff he has, he is entitled to this move, just as any RCMP member or other Canadian Forces member. This was a disgusting personal attack.

      • Another Lib entitled to his entitlements. $72,000 is ridiculous

        • It is The Defence Policy regardless to which party or no party any member of CANADIAN armed FORCES or RCMP belongs to.
          It is the Policy my friend that we taxpayers pay for regardless. Defence Minister should know it before he made personal attack for political reasons.

        • Actually more like a case of a conservative minister and government doing nothing but wasting taxpayers money while they claim to be doing something. Guess you missed the point..” In that case, any problem with the design of the relocation program that results in excessive costs would be entirely the responsibility of the minister.”

        • No. It’s simply another 35-year Canadian soldier, moved 18 times by the government over his career, garnering the exact same benefit as THOUSANDS of other retired Canadian soldiers and police officers have received.

          Methinks your politics doth protest too much…

          • Thousands have moved houses within the same city and claimed the move? I’ve never heard of it before this case.

          • Well I cannot say it happened thousands of times, but a little bit of research will tell you that it happens relatively routinely.

          • …So if you haven’t heard of it, than it must not be true… one of those guys, eh? The rules say nothing about where one is allowed to move to after a 35-year career, only that as a retirement benefit (promised 35 years ago), the government would pay the costs associated with a final move – to anywhere in Canada – and not just soldiers – many who work abroad, or move around on behalf of Canada are equally compensated (foreign affairs workers, RCMP, Immigration, CIDA, etc.)

          • Yes, and there are any number of circumstances where that might happen.

        • What is scary (apart from the government reaching into government records to smear political opponents) is this is exactly how we take away a benefit from ALL long-serving Canadian forces personnel.

          And now raise your hand if you have, or have ever had, say, Long-Term Disability benefit at work. Raise your hand if you’ve ever investigated the cost to the insurance company of long-term disability pay-outs. Raise your hand if you feel the first thing you’d do, upon needing to take advantage of that benefit, is research the cost to the insurance company for that long-term disability pay-out, and then decide it is an excessive cost to the insurance company. Raise your hand if you would then decline that benefit.

          • Jenn, do you have idea what salary the new troops are being paid? Maybe we should rethink some of these benefits that would give $72K to one person to move 4 blocks so that troops with less than 10 years in don’t have to go to the food bank.

          • Maybe we should! But surely that should be Minister Nicholson’s job, not the guy moving?

        • So only Cons are entitled to their entitlements?

          • Yes, that is democracy isn’t it?

      • Actually a buyer does not pay any real estate fees, the seller does. The origonal reason for this program was due to deployment and being stationed away from your origonal home. I do not agree with the entitlement of a paid move within the same city unless he is moving out of government housing in which case there are no realestate fees and we should not be rembursing his legal fees, just the movers.

        • So you would rather a paid relocation to some other destination that is farther away? Pretty irrelevant. Clearly you are not familiar with the policy, deployments, or government relocations. Google is your friend. Policy is pretty transparent.

          • Actually my family members have been in the forces since WW1, so apparently all you can do is Google, pretty sad for you but oh well. Now read my comments again except slowly, I said the origonal intent, this means that I am not referring to the policy of today. The Military puts you where they want to so at the end of your career they will take you to where you want to be. I agree whole heartedly with this. The INTENT was not to move you in the same city, you’re already there. Hence also my comment about the sense of Entitlement. The origonal intent also did not cover legal fees or realestate as this is paid by everyone. But as government always does, let’s keep dipping until our hand hits the bottom. And to answer your first question, yes to move them to another desination further away is why this policy exists, to move them locally is only irrevelent to other government employees, which department do you work in?

          • My two brothers both retired in the city they were last posted to. Hadn’t been the plan but by that time kids were on their own and grand kids in the picture. Both used their release move to their downsized homes. I used mine to move an hour away. Bear in mind that when members are posted they have only a matter of days to finalize the purchase of a new home. In some instances that is done while one of the couple is on deployment. The choices made are often not anywhere close to ideal. This program gives the retiring member an opportunity to finally take their time and get a home they want in the location they want. So that is the INTENT of the program. Legal fees and real estate fees were covered because of the wide disparity between geographical locations and swings in home prices/interest fees and such generally. There had to be a mechanism for compensating members equitably.

          • Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to the move, but real estate fees and legal fees don’t change geographically, they are pretty much standardized across Canada. The tax payer should also not be on the hook for the prices of houses and interest rates. Having read the policy there is all kinds of language for temporary rentals to give time to purchase homes while being transferred during serving, so sorry but the rush buy doesn’t fly here. I do agree with you that the move and travel costs should be covered, but disagree that the real estate and legal fees should be covered.

          • ” real estate fees and legal fees don’t change geographically”

            Real estate fees are a percentage of the value of the home. Not a lot of change in the percentage charged, but home values can vary quite a bit from place to place.

            Lawyer’s fees can vary as well. Things like competition, complexity of local laws, etc.

          • “All kinds of language for temporary rentals to give time to purchase homes…”

            How many times does a family need to move each time they’re posted?

            Ever been on a government house hunting trip? They’re fun. It’s like a high speed car chase in a strange city because if you want to meet your condition removed time lines you need an offer accepted by about 4pm on day two of the trip. In a major city that means you’re seeing 15-20 houses day one. The house you are going to buy will be one of those. Short list day 2. Offer and hopefully an easy negotiation and no problems and hope you like it.

            I get your point. First world problems. It’s a pretty fair relocation package. As far as the General goes. There is no smoke and no fire. Sorry guys.

          • You are correct and I’m sorry. It must really suck that he had to spend 12 years in his first rush purchase million dollar home! With regards to your experiences, sorry, but my comment was with regards to the policy you all so love to quote. I took the time to follow the links and read it. It was not as confining as your experiences with regards to the timing and even covers rentals while waiting to purchase.

          • House hunting trips are five days standard and 9 days extended which is exactly what the policy says. Yes, it is that confining. Sure, a member can rent but they only get one move so there is a certain incentive to get the plan right in the first few days as they would then only have what’s left of an HHT to find a rental or lease. From the time a move is authorised, selling then buying and closing a house. There isn’t too many days left over before reporting to the next job.

            Maybe the solution is to set a maximum for the amount of real estate a soldier is allowed to purchase. Say, $300,000. Or just keep them poor. Pay Generals 50,000 a year. That way no one will live in anything bigger than a 1 bedroom apartment. Or do what this is likely the preamble to, just turn off the benefit for a cost move on retirement.

            I’m not saying situations suck they just are not always ideal. The General’s house was probably worth significantly less 12 years ago and there are lots of people in the last 5 or 6 years that have been posted and as a result lost in excess of $100,000 in equity due to market corrections at no cost to the taxpayer. You win some you lose some. For that reason, if you are in the home ownership market without the choice of when to sell, you have to keep all your equity in your house or you may not be able to afford the next posting. After 35 years that equity clearly grows a bit.
            Is having a choice of quality of life and where to live an unfair entitlement? How about growing home equity over 35 years? Maybe the unfair entitlement is in retiring when the city you are posted to isn’t suffering a depression.

          • That’s really great your family members served in WW1. That must have been hard on you.

            We are talking about the policy of today but as I’m sure by virtue of your family’s Great War service you realise the original intent of the policy is to ensure that members who are required to move receive neither financial hardship nor benefit from a move. That has not changed since the Government took on the responsibility for relocation.

            The policy may also recognise that retirement is a fairly significant change in one’s financial situation which is quite likely why it exists whether members relocate in or out of the geographic region of their last posting.

            Real estate commission do not come from some magical pot of money. They come from the home owners equity which is a very real expense. You do not get them back when you buy your next house. Some people by virtue of luck, trade, career, appointment are moved more than others. Some may never be moved.Now, in pre-1920’s Canada I’m sure real estate fees were a minor expense on a $3,000 house. Not really the case since the 1970’s though. Take General Leslie for example. If all 18 moves involved selling a house he would over the course of a career at a rough average of $250,000 per house, be out of pocket on real estate commissions alone to the tune of $216,000. So, for the lucky guy who is never posted, he’s mortgage free and has been for ten years. For Leslie who hasn’t moved now in 12 years, he would still have about 10 years on his mortgage.

            That sir, is the intent of the policy. If the Treasury Board meant for some other intent, you can be sure they would re-write it.

            Back to my Google….

        • Do you know what real estate fee’s on selling a million dollar house are? (My emphasis) imonaboat didn’t mention the buyer.

          • To buy another million dollar home four minutes away, see my comment on entitlement.

          • Yep, 4 to 6% depending on what you negotiate! look back at the comment I replied to! they listed the commission as a second real estate cost! and once again! as you say! a million dollar house. As one of the people paying for this you will never rationalize this. Maybe they could take some of this money and put it into other budgets like assistance for the mental health issues of the enlisted instead of helping these poor cash strapped generals

          • I did read it; it is where the italicized sentence comes from. It is not listed as “a second real estate cost.” You need remedial reading lessons.

            As for the policy: If you don’t like it, take it up with the person actually responsible for it – Nicholson.

          • Assistance for the mental heath issues of the enlisted? What kind of military do you think you have here? Oh, and different budgets.

    • Includes real estate fees & commissions. That’s the real problem. Government should just hire a full-time real estate agent. Salary would be less than annual commissions on all these transactions.

      • You did not really think your comment through did you. How many real estate agents would you need or if you have one traveling from east to west, north to south, not familiar with any market and who gets top priority.

      • That’s who I want selling my house: The lowest bidder.

        • You get what you pay for.

    • So you see no problem spending $80,000 to move one family a few blocks? I always have to wonder at what point completely irresponsible spending by Liberals will become an issue to Liberals. Yes, he’s entitled to his entitlements, I understand that Liberals use that to justify all kinds of madness.

      • Rick you didn’t ask what his political leanings were when he was being shot at. Why now?

      • Interesting that the amount is suddenly rounded up to $80k from $72k is this how they teach math at the CPC? Or did the talking points already do that for you?

      • Are Conservatives still using the Liberal entitlement line, even after the past couple of years?

      • I think it’s pretty safe to assume that the people who ‘handled’ the move had pretty good CPC connections to get this contract.

        So before all the facts are disclosed Rick Omen, maybe it would be best to STFU you pathetic little troll.

      • I see it as irrelevant. A move to any other location would have cost more. It makes sense for someone retiring to downsize. If local moves were an issue the policy should have been written that way. Logically, it is not.

      • …but it would have been just fine if he’d been a Conservative? Or is there a box on the form where you check off “political affiliation” and the amount you get varies accordingly?

      • Rick Omen, the amount was $72K not 80 and it did not go to the General, (but was paid out on his behalf) to third parties. Check and see how many Conservative members got the same benefit (move on retirement) when they retired from the CF. This is NOT a Liberal screw-up; it is another case of Conservatives giving out privileged information to smear someone who does not agree with their doctrine and who they can not control.

    • Hi!

      Did you happen to actually read the article? You know, the part that says an independent contractor (one who was given the contract by Defence) managed all the details of this and that Leslie knew nothing about the cost?

      Try reading – it helps!

      (Unless, of course, your purpose in posting was not about the facts, but rather to continue this unwarranted smear…)

      • Even if Leslie didn’t have any clue about the cost, that just more evidence of how irresponsible he was with taxpayers money. Further evidence that Liberals are completely indifferent to costs when taxpayers are on the hook for it.

        • Uhmmm, ok there Ricky boy, whatever you say .

          • Rick: So you think anyone that gets any benefit from the government — even if spelled out by law — should scan the final bill closely. I’m glad you would have the time (course I know you have lots of time because of all the con posts you make). Get a life.

        • Desperation is fun!

          Ha ha ha ha ha

        • When you put a helmet on and get shot at come back an tell us all about it. This is a smear job as you well know. Cons are ruthless and back stabbing you fit in perfectly.

        • Even if Leslie didn’t have any clue about the cost, that just more evidence of how irresponsible he was with taxpayers money.

          Wait, what??? So, every Canadian who uses a government service is now responsible for demanding details of how much the government paid to provide said service, and maybe even to refuse to take advantage of the service if they find out that the government spent too much money on it???

          The next time I go to the Emergency room, is it incumbent upon me to demand a detailed accounting from the hospital of how much the government spent on my visit? And if I feel that the number is too high, am I obliged as a responsible citizen to refuse the healthcare, or offer to pay for it myself?

        • What? He didn’t know the cost because the policy prohibits from knowing it, but that somehow makes him more irresponsible for the cost he didn’t know about. Hmmm…. What?

        • Someone says “Like all retiring Forces members, you are entitled to the following costs being covered as a reward for your service to the country”. Do you sign, or do you break out the calculator, do the math, and say “No, that’s too much; think I’ll foot the bill myself, thanks.”

          Please show me one CPC member and former soldier who has done that.

          Yeah, that’s what I thought…

      • That is the argument used by Senators! My staff did it!

        • Totally different issue. But nice try.

        • Actually it was the Conservatives who did it, not the lowly newbie to Liberal Politics (Sorry General, but that is what you have become). So Western Guy, the Defense Minister will take your argument and use it as his defence for opening his mouth and shooting himself in the foot.

      • Now 98.54% certain that anyone who uses “Shiny Pony,” or a variant thereof, secretly wants to sleep with Justin Trudeau.

        • Who would dream of sleeping with Harper….hahaha.

      • If he signed the purchase agreement, then he at least knew how much their realtor was charging in commission fees.

        • Assuming he directly signed with the agent. But if the government looks after everything, odds are he just signed something allowing the government to locate an agent on his behalf. If the government is paying, he would not necessarily know the percentage agreed upon.

  3. Poor Mr. Soudas. His tactics are not working anymore.
    Is there a faint smell of desperation in the air?

    • No. It’s not faint.

      • let’s see who filed the ATI request…

        and who leaked the document to CTV.

    • You know what else smells of desperation? Dismissing all Liberal mis-spending as merely a “political attack”. This is the type of thing that’s directly responsible for the Liberals having zero credibility when it comes to criticizing other parties spending.

      • Except it is NOT “liberal misspending”.

        And when you falsely claim it is, you are making a political attack.

        • He’s a Liberal. He was spending taxpayers money. Hence, it’s Liberal spending. It’s not a “political attack” when everything being discussed is 100% true, not being disputed by anybody, and involves taxpayers funds.

          Just because irresponsible spending is done by the Liberals, doesn’t mean it can, or should, be simply dismissed as “political”. What other misdeads from Liberals would you disregard out of hand?

          • No. But that was a nice try anyway.

            Your desperation is amusing me. Carry on. :)

          • Wrong Rick! He served the Canadian Forces for 35 years. He exercised a benefit that every single retiring member of the Canadian Forces and RCMP access. Are you suggesting we examine the political leanings of every individual who has ever accessed this benefit? You have no problem letting the taxpayer pay their salaries when they are doing their jobs in situations that you would never dream of putting yourself in. You have no problem with the fact that for 35 years, Leslie had signed away rights you enjoy every day under our Charter. But just let him claim a benefit and then you howl. I am beyond disgusted at this and am right now regretting, for the first time ever, putting on a uniform, and serving you and this country.

          • Hoo boy, you win.

          • Eileen, you served the country and the country honours you for it. Don’t take the drivel posted by a partisan rube as reflecting anything close to public sentiment. Rick is a fake person posting partisan sludge on a full-time basis. He is just political sewage.

            Thank you for what you have done.

          • Con sewage

          • The cons are in charge, it’s Nicholson department, he is a con, the cheque was made under his watch, was he asleep at the switch?

          • General Leslie is the person Stephen Harper asked to write the Paper on the military. If he were a Liberal, do you think Harper would have done so? Bwahahahaaa. Sure, pal.
            Perhaps the general joined Team Trudeau because he, as many of us, are disgusted with the petty vindictiveness of Harper Nation.
            How many years did you serve, sir?
            Grow up.

          • I believe you’ll find that he didn’t spend a dime of taxpayers’ money, but rather followed the process overseen by the Conservative government. This is, in fact, Conservative spending.

          • And you don’t think there are Conservative Generals using the same generous system? You are naive, or willfully ignorant. This is nothing but disgusting politics from the most petty, childish government this country has ever seen.

          • You must be blinded when ever you see “liberal” or you did not read the article. For the past eight years the Reform/Conservative Government is in power. They are in charge of the Defence Department too which was responsible to arrange and pay for General’s moving. They approved the payment based on the Policy. That is all what happened.
            As a tax payer I am concerned about the high cost and I do not like it, regardless of political party affiliations.

          • Rick,
            You are aware that most people are able to logically differentiate between a soldier retiring in 2011 and a Liberal advisor in 2014? By repeatedly trumping this up as a liberal expense scandal you sound pretty thick. Obviously we would have preferred to not appoint a red to senior command but accidents happen. His recommendations of sweeping cost saving measures to DND prior to retirement was the height of fiscal mismanagement:

            Alas, three years later the cuts came anyway but without the plan;

            My growing issue with the Conservative government that I voted for is the assumption that the Canadian citizen is as stupid as they seem to have become. A better example of hubris would be hard to find.

          • No, he’s a retiring General who commanded the CF in Afghantistan, that’s who he is. He used the same service offered to other long term vets, and it was the government’s appointed contractors who handled the move and the money.

          • Actually, no, DND was spending taxpayer’s money.

          • It is political attacking a Canadian hero when the expenses where approved by the very department that now rakes him over the coals. At least he didn’t use helicopters for fishing trips.

          • Do you have any indication whatsoever that Leslie knew what the bill for this service was when he took advantage of it? It seem pretty clear that this was a cheque cut by the DND while the Tories were in charge of the DND, to a third party private business(s).

            Is spending in 2011 on services for a retiring General who would later become a Liberal policy advisory two years later still “Liberal spending” if it’s done by a Tory government with the General in question having no idea how much was spent?

          • Rick apparently thinks it is. Sane, less partisan people would think otherwise.

          • There is something extremely sad about slandering a 35-year member of our Armed Forces, whose father and father’s father were both Generals serving our country. How low can you go? This is coming from someone who voted for Mr Harper twice.

          • “This is coming from someone who voted for Mr Harper twice.”

            Hopefully not in the same election ;-)

          • He spent nothing; the government did. Last time I checked, the CPC were the ones running that. Or at least claiming to.

          • Rick Omen, as has been pointed out before, maybe you should just STFU and get the real story … It was the Canadian Government that did it, and the authority has been around for decades. The Government has allowed privileged information to be released (AGAIN) but this time they tried to point the finger at the General rather than at the government department that did this. The Liberals had nothing to do with the payout, and it sure as hell did not go to the General.

      • You are aware we have a Conservative government, right?

        • No, we do not. What we have is Reform/Alliance government pretending to be Conservatives.

      • What exactly did the Liberals misspend on? I read that the cheque was cut by the Conservative government to a third party approved by said Conservative government…

      • The Liberals didn’t spend anything; the government did. And as Nicholson is the Minister in charge, he or whichever Minister who was in charge at the relevant time would have been ultimately responsible for the policy and the payout.

        So why aren’t you asking which Cabinet Minister is going to fall on his sword for allowing such policies / payments?

  4. Well, no, there _is_ a policy issue here, and not only a policy issue, either. Here’s the relocation directive: Please note that real estate seller’s commission is capped at $5250. How can this Directive result in a $72K+ payout?

    And this isn’t a knock on Leslie, by the way. I’m quite prepared to believe this was all done in the bowels of DND, andf that he didn’t have a direct hand in it. But that doesn’t mean the amount to move across town isn’t wildly excessive, as well as seemingly unconnected to the Directive that’s supposed to cover such moves.

    • Here is the link to the policy that covers his move.

      The move is handled by Brookfield Relocation Services (company contracted by government). They establish a list of suppliers, including realtors, and pre-negotiate a corporate real estate commission rate. It varies province-to-province, but ranges from 4 to 6 per cent on the transaction. Ret’d. Gen. Leslie’s sale of a $1,000,000 house would therefore incur approximately $40,000 to $60,000 in real estate commission costs.

      • $40-60K commissions on the sale of a $1M home? I call bullshit.

        • 5%. Standard.

        • The bullshit I call is on your lack of knowledge. 4-6% is not at all out of line.

          • Which we the tax payer wouldn’t be on the hook for if he owned, say a four hundred thousand dollar home. My point being, we should not be paying the tax or commission. I don’t think the problem is this one individual, I do think the policy should be ammended to reflect common sense.

          • I defy you to find a decent home anywhere in Ottawa for 400K. You are living in a dream world. Again, this is a man who has served his country for 35 years, honourably. I find it repugnant that anyone would begrudge him the benefits as set out by the GOVERNMENT. What’s next – revoking benefits for injured soldiers?? Oh wait…

        • Not BS you just don’t know

    • Very good questions. Could it be that Leslie used his position and stature in the military to pressure others into giving him special treatment?

      • Not so, Look Up Always. The Directive plainly states that commission reimbursement is capped at $5250.

        • There are three funding formulas: Core, Custom, and Personalized. Your link discusses costs covered under Custom and Personalized. Core, which most CF members use, covers real estate fees at a pre-negotiated rate, normally somewhat less than a real estate brokerage’s standard fee, but not much (5% might be negotiated at 4.5%, for example).

        • That makes no sense and no where in the policy could I find a $5250 cap of anything. The policy reads: “8.02.03 Reimbursement of real estate commission is not to exceed the pre-negotiated corporate rates.”

          The incentive to the member for not claiming real-estate commission is 80% of the actual rate to a maximum of $12,000. So straight off, $5250 is obviously not referring to commissions.

          How many real estate agents would be willing to accept the commission on a $90,000 house for a 750K-1M sale? Members of the Federal Government, RCMP, and Military would be the biggest slum lords in the country because they would never even get a showing.

          The Treasury Board is pretty ok with fair market value for services and the policy is written exactly that way.

          • You are looking in the wrong chapter. That’s chapter 8, which covers the move of an active member of the forces from point A to point B to assume new duties at point B. They do get their full real estate commissions covered, but they also have to move at least 40 km to get it. This is not General Leslie’s case. He is moving to his Intended Place of Residence as he leaves the service. That is chapter 14. No 40 km limit, so it does allow someone to have their costs covered in a local move (which makes sense, as these might tend to happen at an age where you would be downsizing), but the cap on real estate commissions is there.

          • john g, Dr Dawg was looking in the right place. The problem was, he didn’t notice that the section he was referring to related to Custom Funding, above and beyond the Core funding at the start of the Relocation Directive. Dr Dawg, custom funding is additional funding that can be claimed above and beyond core funding which is handled by the department. So, if General Leslie wanted to claim an additional $5,250 than what was already available from Core funding, he could.

      • No it is all covered in the directive but I need to ask:

        could it be that you are asking many questions to further the interests of your friends in the party? You really don’t want to know the truth of this do you..

      • Oh…. so your argument is that your Conservative Majority Government can be that easily influenced by a retired General simply because he wants to?

        If your logic holds trues, it seems like your Conservative government has a lot more problems than they are letting on – and if so, is truly indicative that they are not in a position to lead.

      • Keep spinning your BS

      • You, sir, are a moron.

    • difference between relocation and final move after retirement, there is no cap.

      • That would certainly explain it if that’s the case. The laypeople who started looking into this 24 or so hours ago may very well have been barking up the wrong tree on this issue.

      • And note 14.7.03. Real estate commission capped at $5250.

        • 14.7.03 is not what you think it means. That number is just used to calculate how much money will be available to spend on Personalized Benefits.

          It in no way is the maximum rate to be paid of real estate commissions.

          • The language is very clear. It’s a cap.

          • If you are not familiar with the policy it is not clear and no it is not a cap on real estate commissions. Dr, you are looking in the wrong section of the policy. You can interpret it as a cap but you would be wrong. I’m not picking a fight here. I have been through this for real.

          • The language is clear, It is a Custom funding cap, above and beyond the Core funding amount, which is the full commision at rates negotiated by the DOD. Read the entire Relocation Directive and pay particular attention to Core funding.

          • If it’s covered under Core, how can it also be partially covered under Custom?

          • Because there are situations where the DOD’s negotiated rate would not be sufficient as they may not have contracted real estate services available in an area. So, for that instance, the retiring person would be able to claim up to 35% of the commission or a maximum of $5,250 of the additional amount.

  5. The issue is not whether he operated within the parameters of the policy when claiming the expenses; he likely did. The bigger issue is whether or not the policy is intended to fund house changes within the same geographic locale. If a CF member is retiring and moving “back home,” or to another retirement locale, over a certain distance from their last posting, then yes, it should be covered. Ret’d. Gen. Leslie did not have to sell his house, as he was staying in the area. He chose to sell, and the government funded it. Was it ethical? I don’t know.

    • Very good point. It seems even more unethical if he had turned a profit on his original home. Why should taxpayers be on the hook for $80k when he’s making several hundred thousand dollars on the transaction?

      • Are you suggesting that taxpayers should refund any capital losses that Soldiers incurr when they buy or sell a house? Because if soldiers are not entitled to a capital gain, then they should not be liable for any capital losses when the real estate market turns against them. If the taxpayer bears all the risks, then they can fairly recapture any gains, but the taxpayer does NOT bear that risk. Who bears the risks should earn the rewards

        • I don’t disagree entirely, accept for the fact that he isn’t bearing the entire cost of the home, which includes the expenses of moving.

          • You seem to be confused over the words “risk” and “cost”

            In addition to reading the policy I recommend a dictionary.

        • I don’t know about the Forces, but RCMP being forced to transfer can actually be reimbursed (to some degree at least) for a capital loss [or at least it used to be the policy]. Happened to my brother when a sharp market decline meant he could not get enough to cover what he owed on his mortgage. He would not have sold under those conditions if he were not being transferred, so the capital loss was directly due to government action. Can’t remember the actual terms of reimbursement (it was some years ago), but I believe he ended up getting back the equivalent of his initial down payment.

    • Actually, it looks like many of the benefits require the moving distance to be at least 40km, which I don’t think Leslie’s move would have met. Makes one wonder how he was able to receive special treatment that the rank-and-file wouldn’t receive.

      • Move upon release does not have geographic restrictions as it does with posting moves. The man downsized his home as many retirees do.

      • I was also wondering this. Leslie is correct when he states that this was all run through the relocation company (Brookfield). They may well have made a mistake. As administrators of the program, they will likely have to provide information as to how he qualified for certain reimbursements. If it checks out, then Leslie will be OK.

        • His file was audited a long time ago. For 15 years, Brookfield has done 15-20,000 relocations a year. Not their first rodeo. Yup, he’s good to go.

      • Wrong. You are quoting RCMP rules – this situation is laid out for Military only because of the many and rushed manner in which they have to relocate sometimes a dozen times in their careers. He followed the policy exactly as written.

        • I wasn’t quoting RCMP rules.

          • Sorry – my mistake – RCMP rules are different and include a distance limit as do some of the CF relocations. However the last move (upon retirement to a permanent home) is covered under a seperate and specific directive and it allows for a relocation without limits – you can move across the street if you wish.

          • Yes, and I think when the review is conducted his expense claims will be in order. Brookfield is quite precise about operating within government policy, and I would be surprised if there was an error or incorrectly claimed expenses.

          • Thanks. I found the directive and it is

            Relocation Directive – APS 2012/2013 – Chapter 14
            The section on IPR (intended place of residence) which covers the final move at retirement. It clearly shows that for this move only there are no limits or terms regarding distance – you can move across the country or across the street.

      • Good try. Understanding the policy takes a bit of practice. Leslie moved eighteen times and the Ottawa office probably handles a few thousand relocations a year between all the government branches. Both know more about the policy than your once over gave you.

        You should try a posting. They’re fun.

    • His house was a temporary house – most times you are required to pick a house very quickly and you have to decide on what is on the market at that time – usually within a week.

      That is what this retirement relocation policy addresses – you get one shot at retirement to pick a permanent home that you can take your time and pick out when the right one comes up for sale. This is standard practice and is available to all levels and all ranks in the military.

      It is not new and the Defense Minister would have to be pretty damn stupid to not know this.

      • “Defense Minister would have to be pretty damn stupid”

        Walks like a duck. Quacks like a duck…

    • The issue is the minister has picked a politically opportune time to launch retaliatory mudslinging against a man who has served his country well for over 20 years but now has indicated he does not buy into the minister’s flavour of politics. The side effect they are also hoping for is a little distraction from the senate scandal of the conservatives making. The only issue that should have any attention paid here is the minister’s childishness.

    • Would it have cost less to move outside of the geographic area? The policy doesn’t really care about the distance. Maybe it would have been more prudent for him to move to Vancouver.

  6. If this program is indeed costing up to $300M/yr then it seriously needs to be reviewed. I see no issue with paying for the movers, but having taxpayers on the hook for legal and real-estate fees seems grossly excessive.

    As for dismissing this as a “political attack”, as so many Liberals seem to want to do, it doesn’t matter if it was publicized for political reasons or not. What matter’s is that the information is true and nobody is disputing it. Billing taxpayers $80,000 to move a couple of blocks over is insanity, and this will call Leslie’s credibility into question any time he wants to speak about military matters. I doubt any rank-and-file members of the military can empathize with spending $80,000 of taxpayers money moving from one million dollar home to another million dollar home.

    • Sigh. I know I am wasting my time, but try reading the article again. See, he did not know the details of the costs. Do you grasp that?

    • It’s gone from 72k to 80k is just the time it took you to post. Sounds like your 2 pound fish is turning into a 300 pound tuna as you get further away from the lake. Of course you don’t have any pictures of the 300 pound tuna. Go back to fishing.

    • He
      Do you comprehend?

    • By the way Rick, do the conservatives pay you by the post, or are you on a retainer?

      • Retainer.

      • He is a TFW becasue we all know how much the cons love cheap labour

      • Unlike Trudeau’s speaking gigs, Leslie’s moving gigs, and the Liberal party’s advertisement gigs, …

    • Yes, review it! . As much fun as it is to uproot a family, I don’t know many people who relish postings.

      I am pretty sure if it is reviewed, the members being told to move are not going to be out of pocket tens of thousands of dollars in moving costs. Ever.

  7. I would ask who hired the real estate agent, the legal firm, the movers. If the DND hired these on behalf of Leslie and the DND knew of the relocation from one neighborhood to another in the same city, why should Leslie’s feet be held to the fire for these expenses? Wouldn’t there have been a bit of a bidding process done or were these already established partners for these moves?

    • Exactly!

    • I can tell you that that is exactly what happens – DND hires them, gets the quotes has people that make sure it happens and pays the service providers. The person who is relocating is not involved in dealing with any of these things and is not involved in any transactions whatsoever. The relocation of your last move (based on retirement) falls into a very specific category and the rules specifically allow you to move to a “permanent” home (unlike previous relocations where you were forced to pick a house in a very short period of time for operational reasons) and very clearly allows you to move across the country or across the street as you see fit.

    • Brookfield Relocation Services is contracted by the government to handle military moves. CF members register and all expense claims are processed through this company. So no, Leslie may reasonably not have been aware of the commission rate negotiated by Brookfield with real estate agents. Leslie himself would not have written a cheque to a mover, a real estate sales brokerage, etc. That would have come from Brookfield.

      • This is not strictly true. The seller picks the service providers. The rates however are pre-established by region. If my real estate agent wants a 6% commission and the Brookfield rate is 5% then the additional 1% comes out of my pocket or I renegotiate with my agent.

        All services are pretty much the same. I can pay $15,000 to my cousin for a home inspection and $500 for my sister to clean the house. Brookfield will disperse $365 or what ever the rate is for an inspector and $100 for the cleaner and I’m out of pocket for being stupid and not reading the policy. It’s a pretty fail safe system. Maybe not cheap, but fair.

        Brookfield cuts cheques direct for approved suppliers and reimburses for all others. In Ottawa, the list of approved suppliers is probably pretty deep considering the major industry in that town.

  8. This is an attack on a man who has given over 20 years, some of those in afghanistan, all because he chose to run for liberals, now the govt will over react and the current serving members will suffer. This govt has wasted way more money building their new dnd digs in former nortel building, i also know the clowns at hq paid for a lockheed trainer to train sailors on new equipement, but because they didn’t have their crap together, had to send him back, of course honoring full contract, and now we train last after all our allies cause we weren’t ready when our spot came up. There’s bigger mess at DND then the relocation program.

    • Yes, and let’s look back and see how much the screaming taxpayers spend every time Harper decides to use Canadian Forces assets to attend a hockey game with one of his kids. A hell of a lot more than the cost of this retirement benefit for a 35 year veteran of the Canadian Forces.

  9. How exactly is it that the Minister is publicly commenting on the Generals moving expenses? What’s next, will the Conservatives start publishing tax returns for any Liberals they can identify? The real question for me is how is it OK for a Minister to go on fishing trips through government databases every time he identifies a political enemy? Do ALL Federal Ministries routinely go to work to dig up dirt on all identifed Liberals in Canada? And is THIS the best they can come up with?

    • They do now.

    • It was reported by CTV through an ATI request, not from any Conservative. Likely the Minister was asked to comment on the news report, and said he’d have to look into it. It’s quite possible that it will all come out on the up and up. But the Minister is responsible for the department, so he needs to check it out.

      • Jesus, when you can get this anonymous leech to try the backstroke you know the idiots have blown it again.

      • CTV refused to say how they got the document. They said it was released through an Access to Information request, but CTV did not make that request. So the way I read it is that the Minister sent the boys out to dig up some dirt. When they found something, they sent an ATI to themselves so they could publicise whatever they can dig up. I would be very interested in an ATI request for the history of this particular ATI request. Somehow I suspect that this was one of the few requests that actually happened in a short time frame, and included every scrap of possible information.

        • this has PMO (a.k.a. “the kids in short pants”) written all over.

      • Did CTV file the ATI request?

      • CTV did not indicate how they came by said information. It has been misreported by you and others of your ilk. In other words, it likely came from a Conservative. Which would do nothing to diminish your zeal, I am sure.

  10. No matter how low your opinion of the Harper government, it is not low enough. This is the kind of corruption that they practice openly, imagine what they are doing in secrecy.

    • That is what scares me the most–that what we see is nothing compared to what we are (so far) unaware of.

  11. Relocation expenses within the same location should not be approved at all. Can hardly be the intent of original program. Ridiculous.

    • Except that the program is not limited to moves in different cities, so clearly it IS the intent of the program.

      • The intent is for RCMP/military to move back to their home city or intended retirement city after taking a job posting somewhere.

        Clearly the program needs to tighten its guidelines to prevent someone using it in this way.

        • Why don’t you open the link posted above and take a look at it yourself. It does not look like a policy that was written on the back of a paper napkin. It looks like the kind of policy that is thorough and complete. It does not limit this benefit to moves in different cities – because the government, THIS government, did not see a need to do so.

          • The intent of the program is clear. It is not a perk, its to address a specific need for people working in agencies that are national in scope and require frequent relocation.

            Either nobody felt the program would be abused in this way or its just another law with a loophole in it.

          • The intent of the program is clear – when you retire you can avail yourself of the program to cover these costs. He did.

          • Intent = intention. Its what policy makers had in mind when they developed the program.

            What you’re describing, the ability to avail yourself of a program, goes towards eligibility.

            Being technically eligible to use a program does not mean it was designed for you.

            Understand ?

          • I do.

            How do you know what they intended when they wrote the policy?

            The only way to determine this is to read the policy, and it is clear in the policy this is intended as a benefit and entitlement.

          • These policies aren’t designed in secret Gayle. A problem is identified and a solution is proposed.

            But let’s ask a retired navy officer and current Liberal MP for his explanation.

            Marc Garneau:

            “There is a very, very clear understanding when you join (the military) that the government of Canada is going to ask you to move around during the course of your career many times … Part of the agreement is that when you finish, that the government will relocate you … to the place where you finally decided to live”.

            Ottawa is a place, isn’t it ?

          • Cool!

            If only Marc Garneau was responsible for writing the policy.

            Wait, you mean he wasn’t? That he is only expressing his opinion?

            The policy very clearly states the last move can be to anywhere (which, because the other moves have a 40 km limit seems to be a pretty clear signal that they do mean “anywhere” and not a different city – you know, because in other parts of the policy, when they did not mean for it to be in the same city, they state that).

            You really need to bone up on your reading skills. The policy says what it says, and the fact that you resort to manufacturing something else means you are wrong. So very very wrong.

          • You seem to have argued your way to a complete 180-degree turn. You’re right; Ottawa is a place. So he is eligible to relocate there.

            For further elucidation on why relocating in the same city makes sense for final retirement, read any number of excellent posts on here by ex-military who explain that in-service postings don’t give you much time to locate the home you want and you are often stuck with what you could find in the short window available rather than the home you would have otherwise chosen. They say this policy was designed without distance restriction to help rectify this if you should choose to remain in the area of your last posting.

          • Dude, your version of what the intentions of the policy makers is worth about one third of what we paid for it, which is SFA.

            The wording of the policy matters and you and all your fellow shills can blow methane around until you all deflate, it changes nothing.

            He qualified for the program, he used the program, and all your blather about the ethics of the thing is like a blind man trying to describe the colour blue. You wouldn’t know an ethic if you tripped over one. Thankfully, there in the Con war room ,you are unlikely to ever find one to trip over…

        • Leslie joined the CF in Ottawa. His last cost move was 12 years before retirement. Retired. Downsized. Not a drama.

    • Exactly !

      The question is an ethical one. Geddes misses the point, nobody is saying he broke the law.

      RCMP/Military need to move around for job postings. It makes sense then when their posting ends they be allowed to move back to wherever they call home.

      What is disgustingly abusive is to plan a move from one house to another in the same city so you can get the government to cover your fees. Its not meant as a perk.

      But I guess Leslie is entitled to his entitlements.

      The obvious reform is to implement a minimum distance for the move.

      • Everyone who gets entitlements is entitled to them.

        It is not that hard.

        Hey! My employer pays my health insurance costs. But maybe I should not take them because I make enough money to pay for my own prescriptions. See, in RP’s world, if you can afford something yourself you have no right demanding your employer pay for it, even when that is part of your employment contract.

        Really, it is not that hard.

        • Up next, identified Liberals will be challenged on the cost of their health care…

          ATIP request reveals that cost to save Liberal soldier’s life tops $300,000… Minister orders investigations.

          • Ha ha!

        • He’s applying to be a policy maker. A policy maker should be able to go:

          ‘Hey! I found a loophole in a program. Instead of taking advantage of it I will advocate that it be closed’

          That is the standard I would expect from people in government. Always be looking at ways to save money.

          You want irony ? His last two years were spent attacking the bloated defence overhead budget.

          Capping the total cost covered and insisting that you’re actually being relocated to another city seems like a good a place as any to start.

          • It is NOT a loophole. It is the intent of the policy. It is a benefit to him and he has every right to enjoy that benefit.

            It is not that hard.

          • It is NOT designed to benefit him !

            For goodness sake its not a perk. Its a specific solution to a specific problem – the frequent relocation required by RCMP/Military in postings across the nation.

            If you’re ALREADY posted in your home city then its common sense that you wouldn’t qualify. The fact that there was a loophole in the program guidelines doesn’t make this ethical in the least.

            Illegal, no. Unethical, clearly.

          • Except he DID qualify. You keep claiming this is a loophole, which is a convenient characterization because it helps you make your point. The problem is you are making that up.

            Where is your evidence this is a loophole? Is someone in government saying “oops, we did not notice that the policy allows this”. If they are, please post the link. If not, please deal with the facts.

            You are creating the intent of the policy based on what you think the policy should say, but that is not how this works. The intent of the policy is based on what the policy actually does say. And the policy says he gets to do this.

          • Nobody is saying he didn’t qualify or broke the rules except perhaps Minister Nicholson who would be wrong in that regard.

            We are saying this is an ethical slip for taking advantage of a loophole.

            I am not creating the intent of the program. The intention is described in the documents people are linking to above.

            RCMP/Military are frequently required to move across the country to take postings to whatever base or city needs them. When they retire obviously they’ll move back to where they are from or where they want to retire to and the government pays the costs.

            Specific problem, specific solution.

            Moving a few blocks away is clearly not the intent of the program.

            Technically allowed at the time. Expect that to change soon. From a public policy perspective it is just obvious that it should. Do you agree ? Do the Liberals ? Does Leslie ? If not then why ?

          • Nope.

            Chapter 14 is the one that deals with these moves. No where in there does it say that this is intended to address the issue of moving from city to city. In fact, iit specifically says the move can be to “anywhere”. Further, it refers to this as an “entitlement” and a “benefit”.

            So, stop fabricating this notion this is a loophole, and stop fabricating the intent of the policy.

          • As I said to Rick above:

            Someone says “Like all retiring Forces members, you are entitled to the following costs being covered as a reward for your service to the country”. Do you sign, or do you break out the calculator, do the math, and say “No, that’s too much; think I’ll foot the bill myself, thanks.”

            Please show me one CPC member and former soldier who has done that.

          • No, genius, it is a final relocation; completely not the same as in-service moves our forces are subjected to constantly. I personally don’t give a damn what you think the people who serve this country are entitled to, and I’m pleased the government doesn’t either.

            He, and every other long time member of our armed forces are entitled to their perks. The next time you don’t think so, perhaps you’ll demonstrate that the perks are over-valued by standing between them and harm’s way and then coming back to tell us it’s no big deal.

          • We have civilian over sight of the military, blind deference is not a virtue.

            Are there no reasonable limits to their pay and compensation ? How about a million a year for everyone ? Or how about we just put the military in charge of the country.

            And while we’re at it police too ! And fire fighters ! Nurses are pretty important too. Teachers, don’t forget them.

            Nobody is diminishing General Leslie’s service. What is being diminished is his reputation through his own actions.

          • Not at all – but you and your con friends are trying your best to smear him. Too bad you have to fabricate “facts” in order to do so.

          • Give it up, you are arguing with a recipient. I agree with you and I’m sorry for all the military people here for not feeling sorry for a general who used his entitlement to help flip a million dollar home. Entitlement yes, he didn’t know the costs, yeah right, I’d stay and argue some more but have to start getting ready for the Easter bunny.

          • “Are there no reasonable limits to their pay and compensation ?”

            The reasonable limits are set out in QR&O’s and are a matter of public record so the answer is yes.

          • You’re right. It was NOT designed to benefit him. Not specifically. Rather, it was written to benefit ALL retiring military personnel – of which he was one. What disqualifies him in your eyes? His rank? His political affiliation post-retirement?

          • Where do you get loophole from? It’s a release benefit. The one and only opportunity in your entire career to take your time and spend more than five days searching for a house. I know so many members that retired to the town they were last posted to. The man and his family moved EIGHTEEN times. He is more than entitled to select his retirement home at his leisure, and if that happens to be down the block then so be it. To suggest that he should, as a final indignity, be forced to move to another city to avail himself of the benefit is mean spirited to the extreme. What the heck though. Pay to move him to Victoria.

          • Eileen, he moved many times because he was ambitious and on the way up the chain of command. My brother in for 20 years and was posted twice (both his requests). Yes, he retired in the town he raised his children in and stayed in the house in had purchased while in the military. Not everyone is using the entitlements. Lots of people asked to be stationed near to home for their last posting and they buy at home during their last posting.
            BTW. Yes, My brother is a veteran and he served overseas.

          • Well neither my two brothers or I ended up releasing and retiring to an area we would ever have predicted. Your brother was not a normal scenario. The longest anyone in my family was ever in one place was five years. Three years was the average, and believe me, some of those postings were not desired, To look at a posting history and say it was driven by ambition is unfair.

          • To look at a General’s posting history and say it was driven by ambition is unfair? What? Of course those in the upper echelon are posted often. Are you telling me that you and your brothers have been posted 19 times each? I know others with ambitions in the upper military and they too are posted often. How else can one garner the experiences needed to excel at that level? The fact that these people choose to become high level military leaders means they are okay with the frequent moving. Otherwise, they would chose a different career and wouldn’t seek to be a General in charge of a country’s military.

        • “Everyone who gets entitlements is entitled to them.”

          And there is the Liberal world view in a nutshell. Other people realize that entitlements don’t have to be used. Other people might notice that a policy intended to allow retiring soldiers to return home shouldn’t be used to move a few blocks no matter how “entitled” one might be to it.

          • ” Other people realize that entitlements don’t have to be used.”

            Apparently Theon refunds his employer whatever part of his paycheque he hasn’t spent at the end of the month.

            Hats off!

          • I’ve just learned that Generals are entitled to a salary of more than $200,000! Who needs that much to live?
            Hopefully the Conservatives are ensuring that only Conservatives are promoted to the rank, as any Liberals would likely accept the whole amount.

          • Maybe try reading comprehension.

            Do you get medical benefits at work? Do you use them, or do you say “oh no, even though I am entitled to this as part of my employment contract, I will say no”.

            While I am at it, I do hope you write Prime Minister Stephen Harper and ask if he is using all his benefits, like that free accommodation, free transport etc etc.

          • pc, have you ever been asked by your employer to use a drug store that has very low fees for filing prescriptions? Have you ever made sure that you always go to a physicians office instead of using the ER at a hospital unless completely necessary? These are ways that people might decrease the amount that they cost the medical benefit programs at their work so that the amounts that everyone pays into the program are less, including the employer. It is quite unfair to complain about wastage and cost if one is personally contributing to the wastage.

          • But here’s the thing: It seems only ex-generals who decide to become Liberal are expected to know in advance of entering politics that the entitlements are only to be used by CPC supporters or those wise enough not to reveal their affiliation t a later date.

            You don’t like the policy then ask the CPC to change it. But don’t blame someone who was 100% eligible to receive the benefit for utilizing it. That’s like blaming you for not paying your doctor for receiving health care.

  12. Dimitri’s back from exile…….and the panic is becoming rampant among the rats he’s trying to cover up for.

    Desperation’s in the air……and criminal charges on the way for all the King’s men…..

    • Just like the criminal charges for Coreveau (adscam) and Senator Harb.

      • Poor Rick,

        He is floundering so badly they had to bring in a back-up.

        • Isn’t ricks blog called I drink in the morning?

        • This coming from Mr. “imagine what they are doing in secrecy”.

          Setting puppies on fire and throwing babies off buildings, no doubt.

          No doubt this opinion of mine, “it is not low enough”.

  13. CF members, posting to the Army forum, are expressing concerns over the release of protected personnel files. No one, other than serving members, seems too concerned about it, and that is a damn shame.

    • I think we are all concerned about it. Others have mentioned it here…

      How long before medical records are leaked to discredit people? Already happened. The entire apparatus of government has been hijacked for the purposes of a vindictive, irresponsible, incompetent political party, The recognize no divisions between governing and attacking enemies.

      They will drag this country as low as we allow them to take it.

      • Straight down to the depths of hell. And then even lower. Right into hades. Right next to Hitler, Mao and Stalin.

        • Congratulations. Your guy isn’t as bad as Hitler, Mao, or Stalin. That’s quite a bar he’s stepped over.

  14. This policy must change. Moving in the same city should not be charged.

    • Look up. look way up. Read the part of the article where this government reviewed the policy. If they thought this was so awful they should have changed it.

      I suggest you write Harper expressing your outrage and their failure to do something about this.

      • AG looked at concerns of collusion with real estate agents. Government responded by capping the rate they’ll pay and requiring open bids.

        Nobody is psychic. Like many laws the gov’t plays catch up and only knows there is a loophole until its been shown somebody has exploited it.

        • Except it is not a loophole.

          When you have to make stuff up to make your point, it generally means you do not have one.

          • Program is brought in designed to off set the costs of moving back to your home town after being posted somewhere half way across the country.

            Somebody uses it to move four blocks away to new digs because they’re tired with their drab old house.

            That is clearly a loophole.

          • I read he moved to a smaller home – downsized in retirement after 20 moves. Sounds reasonable to me.

          • Almost everyone downsizes when they retire. No other profession has a downsizing perk in their contract because its not a perk. Specific problem with specific solution.

            Specific problem = being required to move around the country.
            Specific solution = we pay for your last move back home or wherever you want to go.

          • Lobby to change the rules then

          • “we pay for your last move back home ”

            Leslie is originally from Ottawa

          • No it is not. It is a benefit.

          • Where does the program say it is designed to move back to your home after release? I see it as the MAXIMUM benefit for those with under 10 years of service upon release. For those over 20 years of service, it is intended to pay the costs associated with the move to the home you select as your retirement residence, regardless of location. The man downsized his home for retirement as many do. Why aren’t you grasping this? Or do you even want to?

          • That is a truly novel interpretation. A person in their 20’s joins the military for 20 years and ‘retires’ somewhere between 40 and 50 ?

            It is and has always been about paying for you to go back home after a posting in another city.

            Leslie isn’t retiring by the way, he is running for parliament.

          • It is not my “interpretation” as you call it. My comments are taken directly from the policy. What on earth do you define as home? The city where you signed your enrolment docs? Where you were born? What? Home is in fact where you decide to live upon release. As for Lt-Gen Leslie, he did in fact retire. Several years ago. He is no longer a member of the Canadian Forces.

          • He is not interested in what the policy actually says. He prefers the version where he makes up what it actually says. It is much easier for him to make his argument by fabricating the “facts”.

          • What is it about plain English that has you so confused?

          • TFW who is paid to astroturf blogs perhaps…

          • He retired from the Forces. Many people retire from military or police or political service and choose a different career. Why is it a problem in Leslie’s case? Is it because you don’t like the party he decided to run for?

          • The regular moving benefit, yes. The retirement benefit is different. It is, and always has been about paying for you to choose the home you actually want rather than whatever happens to be available within the week that they move you.

          • Then your problem is rightfully with the negligent Minister in charge of the portfolio – NOT with someone who followed the rules as written.

      • Maybe Mr. Trudeau and General Leslie can change take that on. Leslie did express many opinions on financial waste in the military didn’t he?

  15. If anyone knows how real estate works, you’ll also know the seller also covers buyers real estate commission as well, common across country. no limits on final move. this is purely a cpc smear to cover up another cpc mp got hand smacked for cheating in elxn, and also that Racknine had another visit from CRTC for more misleading calls in sask trying to subvert an electoral process by an independent commission, one cpc stacked. so many questions here.

  16. While i find the attack on Leslie sickening, he would be well advised at some point to simply state the cost of the move is too high even if it isn’t anywhere near his fault.
    Meanwhile i’d be helpful if some folks focused on a decent fix, since it’s evident that the minister thinks it isn’t his responsibility to find one. One sensible comment i read suggested the DND train its own RE guys, and as for movers…really shortage of muscle in this case ought not to be an excuse.
    There is a story to be told here about bureaucratic inefficiency, just don’t expect to hear it from this govt unless it has a political upside for them.
    Some years ago i spent part of a winter helping a chimney sweep out who had health problems, so i did the roof work. Turns out the guy was a low level crook, charging the military for work that wasn’t needed. We’d regular pretend to sweep the PMQs, just running bare rods down the chimneys…no body noticed, no body checked. I’m not sure what the moral of this story is, similar stuff happens to lots of businesses or corps.[ and this guy also screwed the local mill too] But a little common sense goes a long way when you claim to be guarding the tps interests. Mr Nicholson seems to be yet another Harper minister missing in action here. So quit blaming the General.
    What else could they do? Cap RE fees? Eliminate them altogether if you’re moving into a million $ home? I don’t know. Neither it appears does the minister. Difference is it is his job to know, or want to know. Less playing political slime ball Harper govt; more just doing your freaking job for a change!

    • Minister is relatively new, I blame McKay for missing this since as Geddes said they already took a swing at reform.

      I fault Leslie for his ethics in this specific case. Being mindful of his excellent service I would not go so far as to call him ‘The Mike Duffy of the military’ as the taxpayers federation has done. But somebody who spent a great deal of time criticizing military over head and suggesting solutions to save the military money probably should have also known there was a problem here.

      Minimum distance requirements are a no brainer. A cap for homes worth more than $500,000 is an option, however, one does need to keep in mind that houses cost a lot more in certain locations so a provision may be needed around that issue.

      • Hard to say what he should have known really. But the guy is human too. I can hardly think of anyone i have come across in my life who hasn’t taken some form of entitlement, and rationalized it as their due. I’m not saying this happened here. I have no idea if the General’s skill set also included basic military housekeeping. I suspect you don’t either. Sans evidence maybe you shouldn’t point fingers just yet.

        • Okay Kcm, don’t point fingers BUT Leslie is in politics now and fingers get pointed. If Leslie is going to criticize the Cons, he must know that they will dig up dirt on him to show he is not as brilliant an adviser to Trudeau as he might appear to be. Claiming ignorance in the case of expenses is a bit of a poor excuse and claiming entitlement to your entitlement sounds even worse to the taxpaying public who resent when government officials charge taxpayers more for entitlements than many of them make in a year. People can be outraged at the actions of the Cons but the news of Leslie’s expenses plays to the disgust and distrust citizens have of political entities.

          • Then I take it you’ll have no objection to looking at the relocation settlements of all the military top brass and every single appointment to the CS that SH has made? Singling this guy out just because he joined the Trudeau camp is low ball scummy politics period.

          • No, of course I have no objection to looking at anybody’s relocation settlements. They should be looked at. This is taxpayer money that is being spent and while we are learning that troops in Cold Lake are literally begging in the streets because they can’t afford housing there, we should be scrutinizing what is being spent on moving generals and upper brass around and whether these moves are necessary.

          • Uhmmm. You should try asking the troops what they think of the Cold Lake Busker and his antics. He’s a pretty lonely fellow right now.

          • Hey I know all about Cold Lake. Whether the guys like him or not, it is a very, very expensive place to live. People are renting out bedrooms for $800.

          • Fair enough. But that isn’t what is happening here. One guy is getting the gears simply because he took a walk over to Trudeau’s team. If he had chosen Harper’s outfit we wouldn’t be hearing a peep from Jenni Byrnes.

          • Well…of course he is going to “get the gears.” He went after the Cons over military spending wastage. Then went after his records on what he spent while in the military. In their eyes he is fair game because he is Trudeau’s adviser. No one ever said they play fair. Maybe he didn’t have any political inclination when he retired but he was quite naive if he didn’t realize how strongly they would go after him once he spoke against them.

          • So you’re saying he should have been prepared for something like this?[ bearing in mind he apparently did not know what his move cost]
            Let’s extrapolate that shall we to every govt in office having the right to do this kind of thing to anyone that dares to offend or criticize them. Where does that leave us?
            I was under the impression that his criticism of the military being top heavy was directed at govt in general, including past Liberal ones. How does this get to be just a watch out, you must be naive if you cross SH story?

          • kcm, He should not be surprised by it. It happens everyday in politics. It isn’t only the Cons that do it either. The Bev Oda OJ went on for sometime and I don’t think it was Con generated hyperbole on that one was it?
            As for Leslie, he has aligned himself with Justin Trudeau. The Huffington Post says he is picking out a riding to run in.

          • What doesn’t, or shouldn’t happen every day is politically convenient leaks on opposition candidates appearing in the press when those candidates have previously worked for any branch of govt.. Oda’s situation was nowhere near the similar, unless you want to accuse the opposition of orchestrating some kind of release of govt records on her. Whether Leslie is running for the LPC is completely beside the point, and i think you know that.

          • You only have a problem with leaks on opposition candidates?
            You are okay with leaks of the CPC’s so-called election strategy, etc? You don’t have problems with people musing about the PM’s wife’s sexual orientation and her residence despite the fact that they have juvenile children? What about rumors about the PM’s personal relationships with his chief of staff. You find that okay? What about when Mulclair attacked Trudeau over stealing Jack Layton’s deathbed speech? In all of this stuff, you can only find the leaks on opposition candidates to be particularly egregious?

          • Where on earth is all that coming from? My point is perfectly clear. No govt should be leaking information on the background of anyone who works for it in any capacity, regardless of whether that person ends up working for anything from Greenpeace, to the Fraser Institute. Thx for the debate but you appear to be going off the rails here. What on earth has stuff about Harper’s kids or wife got to do with this?

          • And all these things are being discussed in the media and publicly speculated upon by opposition party members?

            I’ve seen the odd post on here making such insinuations – but that’s it. Hardly the same as an orchestrated attack by key members of the governing party via the MSM.

          • While you are at it, why not make the claim that all retired members that have elected IPR are also elitists who have no ethics, as they have followed the same process and gotten the same funds and authorizations as L Gen (ret) Leslie.

            I am saddened by the pettiness of reformists supporters.

          • Let’s see…..what makes General Leslie different from every other retired member who took IPR is that General Leslie publicly complained about financial spending wastage in the military. He was also the biggest spender when it came to IPR ($72K v. avg of $18K for others). He also only moved a few blocks v many how moved across the country. Leslie also is using his time in military to fuel his ambition as a politician. If he is wants to be in politics, he will have to get used to his actions and his words being scrutinized.

        • From what I’ve read, the move expenses are all authorized by an independent agency. It’s not even like Leslie signed off on anything personally. I suppose he could have said – “guys, I already live in Ottawa, so there’s no need to move me.” But bear in mind that the arrangement is that you end up in the house you want – as opposed to the one you took on due to posting requirements (i.e., he might have had no idea that Ottawa was going to be his final station). To me, this seems pretty much on par with private sector arrangements. To call it an “entitlement” is not fair, IMO.

          • “To call it an “entitlement” is not fair, IMO.”

            Please. Let’s stick with the accepted meaning of the word “entitlement”, not whatever Conservative hacks have reimagined it to be.

          • Entitlement or benefit….that is exactly what it is.

          • As Lenny says I’m not even sure if you can regard entitlement as a perjorative after 35 years of service. What irks me the most about this is why single this guy out? As if almost anyone in govt service for this length of time wouldn’t take the same course of action. It’s not like he applied for special consideration cuz he’s a General, not a lowly squaddie. It’s contemptible really. But that’s this govts brand by now. It’s a little disappointing to watch the NDP pile on. I get it if fits their Everyman brand ok. But some of them seem to be swallowing the CPC crap that the general ought to have known better.
            Welcome to politics in Canada General. Next time be aware there’s no bottom to how small minded and shallow politics can get in SHs Ottawa.

          • My understanding is that he is at the top of the list of the document given to CTV. Number 2 is a guy coming back from Italy.

            So I am guessing that simply by virtue of spending the most money he was the subject of the report.

          • I guess we’ll never get to know whether the DND shipped that list off because CTV simply asked for it, or wether Ctv was steered in that direction after someone in the DND tipped off the PMO.

          • But the final figures do not spell out the particulars of a situation. The guy coming back from Italy could well have been living in a home provided for him. Did he purchase a house upon return to Canada or was another home provided for him? Depending on the posting it might have been. Not all the figures provided in that document relate to release moves. I would suspect the majority do not. So there are many variables at play here when one is comparing figures on that list. Heck it is even possible that the member’s family had not accompanied him/her on that posting. Armchair speculators are making comparisons about matters they have next to zero information on.

          • Sort of like a cabinet minister ordering an orange juice from room service late at night while preparing a speech for the next day, no? Isn’t the horse out of the barn already?

          • Yes that’s exactly what it is like…how could i have missed something that obvious. Best check to see if Gen. Leslie ordered in some $16 a mug OJ to Afghanistan.

          • That will be coming out next. Stay tuned for his bill from Tim Hortons in Kandahar.

    • “and as for movers…really shortage of muscle in this case ought not to be an excuse.”

      Hell, you might as well train them in snow removal while you’re at it. Then DND can start a business to raise funding for military procurement. Or at least they could be available for emergencies in Toronto.

      • You mean Harper doesn’t personally send around his flunkies to shovel their drives for them – camera in tow? I’m shocked at the opportunity cost.

        They might want to learn how to sweep their own chimneys too, and run a car wash and window cleaning biz on the side.
        Sure, at some point it makes sense to simply contract out.

        • Yes, they can have those Saturday morning car washes in shopping mall parking lots . . . competition for the girls hockey teams and high schools, but we wouldn’t want that lot to feel entitled.

    • I think we (and you) simply don’t have enough information to go on. But to put things in perspective. “In 2011, there were 25 homes sold in Rockcliffe at an average price of $1,163,940.” (source: Average realtor fees for Ontario are 2.5% – to buy and to sell. Assuming that Brookfield, which runs the relocation program (see above) pays a flat 5%, the value of the houses bought and sold is clearly well below the Rockcliffe Park average. On top of this there is the LTT, legal fees, indeterminate closing costs and moving expenses. So it really remains to be seen whether there is an untold story about bureaucratic inefficiency (see the AG report from 2006 addressing this very program), or simply an untold story of high level Conservative party corruption and illegal behaviour in breaching a Canadian citizen’s privacy, which seems far more likely.

  17. How low will the Cons stoop in their relentlessly slimy campaign to get re-elected? This is just another rung on their way down.

  18. There is no question on whether Leslie was entitled to claim moving expenses to move only a few kilometers away. He was. Moving to your Intended Place of Residence when you leave the service as I read it is one of the few moves for which you are reimbursed if staying within 40km of your original location.

    But it is still hard to see how those costs climbed to $72K when measures are in that section to limit real estate commission (the main cost Leslie is claiming to have expensed) to $5250. I think we are owed an explanation with something of more substance.

    There used to be a day when demanding such an explanation was considered journalism, not a partisan attack against veterans.

    • You are right John because despite all of the partisan ranting and raving, what we do know is that the bottom line is that Canadians resent it when they feel government officials are ripping them off by wasting their tax dollars. That is apparently what was learned in the senate scandal. That is what has been learned by Alison Redford and her expensive trips overseas and it was learned by Bev Oda when she paid too much money for her drinks in hotels. Taxpayers get upset at wastage. Defending wastage and crying “partisan attack” by claiming you are entitled to your entitlements does not make one popular with taxpayers.

    • If that’s the case, then General Leslie’s name should never have come up, in first instance. The issue becomes one between DND, Treasury Board and Brookfield Relocation Services. But that’s not how it was framed, was it?

      If you want answers, I suggest you start throwing questions to Nicholson and Clement, whose departments signed off on the expenses.

      • But when Nicholson says he’s going to investigate, he’s accused by every journalist from coast to coast of launching a partisan attack against a veteran who’s running for the Liberals?

        So you tell me. What should he do? Investigate and be called a partisan hack? Or turn a blind eye and be on the hook for allowing abuse of the program to continue?

        How best should Rob Nicholson continue to disappoint you?

        • Pull the other one, john.

          Meanwhile, the minister of national defence said Sunday the government intends to examine the costs that appear to be “grossly excessive” and questioned Leslie’s judgement for billing taxpayers is a partisan attack.

        • Just a little disingenuous John.

          Nicholson questioned Leslie’s judgment – kind of sounds like a partisan attack.

          But maybe in your world that is just normal conversation.

          • Leslie’s name is at THE TOP of a list of a who’s who of expenses.

            The second? A general coming back from Italy.

            Something like this should always raise a red flag, for no other reason than perhaps the gov’t acting on behalf of Leslie had been ripped off.

          • But the final figures do not spell out the particulars of a situation. The guy coming back from Italy could well have been living in a home provided for him. Depending on the posting it might have been. Did he purchase a house upon return to Canada or was another home provided for him? Did those figures actually include the move of any household goods? Not all the figures provided in that document relate to release moves. I would suspect the majority do not. So there are many variables at play here when one is comparing figures on that list. We can’t make comparisons between end totals without a single clue on what those figures entailed.

          • Come on Eileen….one guy moves from overseas and the other guy moves a couple of blocks. The optics aren’t good. The guy who moved a couple of blocks is the leader of the opposition’s military adviser and he has slammed the Cons on spending waste in the military and then it is revealed that he himself has fed from the trough of military entitlement largesse. Yes, it is a political attack but I am shocked no one saw it coming, especially Leslie. He was a military strategist. Didn’t he learn to duck?

          • You have no idea what the overseas move entailed. Zero. I know someone who was posted to Norway with his family and they went with suitcases. Furnished accommodation was provided right down to the facecloths and paper towel holder. Upon their return they went directly in to a PMQ because they knew they were going to be posted again in a year. Outside of actual travel costs the only relocation costs were for storage and the taking it in and out of storage. Exactly the same scenario happened with another friend who was posted to Prague. On paper they look like very thrifty moves but there was not a single stick of furniture accompanying those families and there were zero rental liabilities or real estate fees involved.

          • Are you saying these people didn’t feel entitled to their entitlements? Shocking because I know people who went to Germany and took their Pontiac car!
            Then you should have seen the stuff they brought back from all over Europe including all kinds of furniture from the black forest!
            Despite our conjecture, this general’s move from Italy cost less than the $72K that Leslie billed and more than the next person on the list billed so obviously he moved more than a suitcase.

          • The Canadian Forces presence back in the day was a radically different situation than the two scenarios I outlined. Postings to Germany were handled in the same manner as postings within Canada. Not the case elsewhere in Europe by any stretch of the imagination. Once again, you DO NOT KNOW the specific’s of the move from Italy and what it involved so you cannot compare it against something you do know. All you can do is ASSume they were identical in all aspects except final cost. That is not an assumption you would be wise to make.

          • Oh wow. You have totally proven partisanship has nothing to do with it.

            You are not even trying to make a logical argument anymore…

        • He could start with an investigation on how a CF vet’s protected pers file was released to the media.

          • Its public info. CTV obtained a list through access to info.

            Leslie is at the top. Nobody made that up.

        • Since the RCN is still launching Sea Kings, which were critically obsolete when I joined in 1990, I’d say my capacity to be disappointed by a Minister of National Defence has reached capacity.

          • “capacity…reached capacity”

            FFS, pc, learn to write…

    • Nobody is suggesting that expecting an explanation is a “partisan attack against veterans”.
      The suggestion is that this is a partisan attack: Meanwhile, the minister of national defence said Sunday the government
      intends to examine the costs that appear to be “grossly excessive” and
      questioned Leslie’s judgement for billing taxpayers
      is a partisan attack.

      • Yes. But he’s a partisan. He is paid by the Liberal Party of Canada. He is scheduled to address their convention. Why is a partisan attack on a partisan unseemly?

        • So now it IS a partisan attack, but you have come up with a way to justify it.

          You guys are so desperate.

        • I see, and was he a partisan politician when this expense was incurred? No? Not fair game.

    • That’s helpful. I had assumed land transfer tax.

    • There used to be a day when demanding such an explanation was considered journalism, not a partisan attack against veterans.

      Do we actually know for certain that Leslie was aware of the cost of the relocation services he took advantage of? Because the Minister seems to have accused Leslie of poor judgement for billing the government for $72,000, whereas I’m not 100% sure that Leslie ever knew that the bill was $72,000. It’s not like Leslie paid the bill and then asked to be reimbursed. He took advantage of a government program, and the GOVERNMENT paid the private businesses involved in providing the services for that program.

      If the government spends $100,000 to have my tax refund hand-delivered to my door by Justin Beiber, should I be accused of exercising poor judgement if I sign for the refund cheque and cash it?

      • right. That was Allison Redford’s story. She wasn’t aware of what it cost. Unfortunately in Leslie’s case in took a job where he calls out the Cons for financial wastage in the military. Now it turns out he was part of the problem. Not good optics for him. Neither is it good to admit he took no interest in what his benefits (people don’t like the word entitlements) were costing taxpayers. Like with Allison Redford, it is a poor excuse that you didn’t bother to check.

      • Of course he was aware because he’d know what the house sold for and what real estate fees are in general.

        • Well then, if we stipulate that he was aware of the costs (which I will only do for the sake of argument), I’m still not sure why he shouldn’t be able to use a government service that he was eligible to use.

          I’m generally aware of how expensive healthcare is. Is it incumbent upon me to ask for a detailed bill every time I go to the ER? And if I think the bill seems awfully high, am I lacking in good judgement if I don’t decide that it’s too much for the government to spend on me, and offer to pay for the service myself?

          If someone digs up some day that my trip to the doctor for a kidney stone a few years back cost the government $100,000 that would arguably be an inappropriate use of the taxpayers’ money. In such a case, should I expect the Ontario Minister of Health to announce that I exercised poor judgement in going to the ER and “billing the taxpayer $100,000 for a kidney stone”?

          • Are you planning to go into politics and complain about the waste in healthcare spending? If you do, it might come out that you went to the hospital ER when you could have/should have gone to your family physician’s office. That is a more reasonable analogy.

          • Wow.

            Just, wow.

          • Hey it should be no surprise that when people go into politics and start pointing fingers and criticizing others, their own actions get scrutinized and flung back at them. It certainly isn’t pretty.

          • This comment was deleted.

          • ??? Are you saying that is your pic?

          • This comment was deleted.

          • The guest thing bothers you? But you are okay with the other anonymous posters?

          • This comment was deleted.

          • It is YOUR right to feel how you want. However, I would like you to point out one “partisan smear” I spewed that was somehow less partisan and less of a smear that one anyone else might have “spewed.”
            If one is honest with oneself, the only real ‘partisan smears” we despise our the ones that are aimed against the politicians we support.
            I would also like you to tell me, how calling myself “Nancy” or “Ceclia” would in anyone make me less of a “lowlife.”
            Your supposition that people who are paid “from professional funds to besmirch the names of decent people’ call themselves Guest, is foolish in the extreme. Admit it, you want to make sure you are supporting your friends no matter no foolish their comments and now can you do that if you can’t identify them by name. Maybe next time, I will call myself patchouli, will that help?

          • Nice rationalizations but all completely irrelevant. I am not a partisan except for the fact that I think the current government is an atrociously bad government that should be denounced and vilified by all decent people. They are horrifically bad at governing and despicable people into the bargain. The worst government in terms of ethics that we have ever had and that includes the Chretien and Mulroney governments both of which I criticized loudly during their administrations. All under my own name, too.

            The rest of your response is so much drivel. Do whatever you like because that is surely what you will do.

          • Wow. You and EmilyOne are running the Macleans Online site are you and deciding who can comment, what they can say and what moniker they should comment under? Do the editors and owners know this?
            Lucky for all of us, we live in a country with free speech…usually free of intimidation. Now if you wish to limit my ability to voice my opinion freely because you find them offensive then I suggest you take them up with the moderator and I will do the same.

          • Like all those of your ilk, you want to claim your right of free speech but hide from responsibility for the things you say.

            We both have free speech. You use yours to besmirch a retired soldier from your coward’s hole. And I use mine to call you a coward. If the moderators have a problem with that, they can let me know. If you have a problem with it, all the better.

          • There is a BIG difference between lgarvin and Emily. If you have a hard time
            differentiating between the two, then all your comments are suspect simply on the basis of that bit of stupidity.

            As for your use of Guest; anyone can sign on and use that name. So no one can be sure the person now calling him or herself guest is the same one from even a few minutes ago.

            I always post under the same name – and Keith is my real name. Don’t use my last name because the company I work for insists that if I post in a way that allows me to be identified as working for them (and my name is publicly available ad linkable to my employer) then I have to state with each post that the opinion is mine alone and does not represent the views of the company. I do that, and after a while no one reads my posts.

            But readers always know the posts are mine (assuming the name is in red; I always post using my account), even if they don’t know my full name.

          • You’re not a partisan? Wow. Such self awareness.

          • My point isn’t that Leslie was ineligible but that he shouldn’t have been eligble to downsize. The regs should preclude paying for moves in the same area.

          • But they don’t and they didn’t. This is not Con nirvana where you can just go back and change the rules retroactively to exonerate your own crooked people and criminalize the people who behave honestly but carry the wrong political flag.

          • You’re mixed up if you think I support the CPC. This event should lead to changes going forward. That’s what I hope happens. I don’t expect or really want Leslie to give back a dime if he followed the rules.

          • So, your point is that the services Leslie received were in keeping with DND policy, but that DND policy should be changed. That’s fair enough, but it’s not incumbent upon Leslie to accept services as you might wish them to be, in lieu of services as they currently exist. Or at least, it shouldn’t be.

          • I’m assuming he followed the rules. I don’t know if he did or not. My point has never been about Leslie’s eligibility. It is about federal spending and specifically DND that this outlay has been considered and found acceptable. It speaks volumes about the lack of respect the feds have for the tax payer.

          • Certainly whether this type of spending is appropriate in a larger sense is fair comment. What bothers me is the number of people (including the Minister of National Defence) accusing Leslie of a lack of judgement over the spending, despite the fact that he wouldn’t even have been told how much was spent by the government to pay for the services he used.

      • What we know is that he has said the main component of the cost was real estate commissions/fees. If he knows that much, then he should have known that he’s only entitled to $5,250 of real estate commissions reimbursed.

        So yes, there is a problem. Based on what we know about the program that reimbursed him, the explanation he has given does not hold water.

        • For every commenter who throws out that $5,250 number, there’s another commenter saying that they’re reading the wrong section of the policy. I’m not certain who’s right, but most of the people saying that there’s no $5,250 cap seem to be people who are claiming that they KNOW there’s no $5,250 cap because they’ve used this service themselves.

          • It depends. If you’re an active soldier being relocated to new duties while remaining active, then there is no cap so long as you are moving at least 40km. That’s in chapter 8.

            You’re a mostly reasonable guy. I’d suggest you read the policy & judge for yourself.

            Because as it stands, if the General was reimbursed for his entire real estate commission when the max allowable was only $5,250, then he’s probably got $40K-$50K of our money in his pocket. Money he should have known he’d have to pay. Houston, we have a problem.

          • Well, even if there was a cap, and the cap was exceeded, if the money went from DND to the real estate / moving/ legal companies, and Leslie was never told how much the bill was (because no one is ever told how much the bill is) how is this a controversy about LESLIE’s judgement, not DND’s?

          • See my update.

          • I’m not sure what update you’re referring to, but I also don’t see how, if the DND did indeed pay Brookfield Relocation Services for services that Leslie should have paid for himself, Leslie was supposed to know that?

            And even if we agree (I don’t, but for the sake of argument) that before using the Integrated Relocation Program, Leslie should have read the legislation establishing the program to make sure that he understood it, then demanded an itemized bill be sent to him from Brookfield, even though that’s not how the program works, and then, having compared the bill to the legislation, paid any money in error himself, well, isn’t Leslie then STILL third in line for responsibility behind DND and Brookfield? Brookfield provided the services, Brookfield billed the government, and the government paid the bill.

            This whole debate has me worried that if I ever decide to enter politics, someone’s going to dig up that my doctor once overcharged OHIP for helping me out with my kidney stone, and then the Minister of Health is going to accuse me of exercising poor judgement for billing the taxpayers $100,000 for a non-life-threatening condition, all because I was irresponsible enough not to demand an itemized bill from the doctor so that I could compare what he was charging against the relevant healthcare legislation to make sure that there weren’t any errors made.

          • I can guarantee you that if you go into politics and your doctor jumps the que for you because you are a special VIP and it gets out, you will be hooped.

          • Even if it happened before I entered politics and I didn’t KNOW that my doctor did that?

          • Yes. There was a whole enquiry into it in Alberta. Failure to do one’s due diligence when you have political aspirations is not an seen as an excuse….especially in the court of public opinion, which be it right or not is all that counts in the politics.

          • Come on. Now you’re being deliberately obtuse. If he didn’t pay $45K in real estate fees which he clearly should have known he’d have had to pay, “I didn’t see the costs” is good enough for you??


          • How was he supposed to know he was supposed to pay them (IF he was supposed to pay for them)?

            The Canadian Forces have a relocation service to help people relocate. Leslie went to the service, and got help relocating. If the relocation service deals directly with DND, and doesn’t tell service members what the services cost, then IF the service charged DND for services that Leslie should have paid for himself, how was Leslie supposed to know that? I mean, as I said, I get that he could have looked at the legislation establishing the Ingratiated Relocation Program, but are we really saying that he should have?

          • How was he supposed to know he was supposed to pay them

            Oh I don’t know…by reading the same policy document I read on the internet?

          • OK, so you’re saying that before using the service, he should have looked up the policy governing the service, rather than trusting that the service is run properly.

            This does, however, open us all up to a lot of extra homework if we’re all going to be responsible citizens using government services. Fill a prescription at a hospital pharmacy? Better look up whether or not the drug is covered first, don’t trust the doctor or the pharmacist. Have bypass surgery? Make sure to get an itemized bill so that you can be certain that the hospital isn’t overcharging the province. Pay a fee to camp at a National Park? Did you check the National Parks Act to make sure you were charged the proper amount?

          • Surely you can distinguish that a person in a very responsible job such as the leader of the entire military of a country might be a little more scrutinized than a normal Joe and therefore might want to do “a lot of extra homework” to ensure he is a “responsible citizen using government services.”

          • I can understand that such extra scrutiny is going to happen. That doesn’t mean I think it’s right.

            If the company that runs the Forces’ relocation service overcharged the government for Leslie’s relocation I don’t see how that’s any different than if the hospital that did a Cabinet Minister’s heart bypass overcharged the government for the Minister’s bypass. I don’t expect the cabinet minister to demand an itemized bill from the hospital, which no other patient gets, so that he or she can personally go over the costs for the services he or she received in order to verify that they are appropriate.

            If Leslie had submitted expenses himself, or been presented with a bill for services rendered so that he could see what the services he got cost, then it might be different. However, if a government-run service isn’t following the rules, I don’t see how it’s the responsibility of individual citizens to uncover that fact on their own and report it in relation to their own personal case.

          • Most such people are used to delegating the details to others.

          • In fairness, this limit does appear to exist in the policy. From everything else I am reading, however, this limit does not seem to be applied, at least to officers of a certain rank. There is another story on McLeans that says this:

            “Nicholson was silent, however, on five other moves within Ottawa
            involving flag officers, including the $59,600 spent to relocate the
            still-serving Maj.-Gen. Mike Day in 2013.”

            So I highly doubt that Leslie did anything wrong here, in any way. The policy has obviously been used and applied to other officers.

          • Maybe, like you, he misread the policy and thought the taxpayer would only be on the hook for $5250 of real estate fees. Until the CTV story revealed otherwise.

        • Yes and the patient is responsible for his health care costs. What did your last medical cost the government John? Answer immediately with a figure or an explanation of why you don’t know the figure.

          • And why, if it was excessive, he didn’t just go home rather than incur the expense…

      • I have to wonder how quickly this government would go strangely quiet, if attention was placed on Brookfield Relocation Services, rather than on General Leslie…

      • You have just posted one of the most thoughtful postings of the day. There it is – he received no money in his hands and the government contracted and paid for all services. So what do people do? They talk about the rich General who “claimed” a large expense as if he is gouging the taxpayers.

        If he is, the are several thousand troops who are also doing the same as they are all entitled to this benefit at all levels right down to the lowliest private.

        The ironic thing is thathe Harper government are wringing their hands in glee over this – and the timing for them is simply exquisit coming right before the Liberals convention.

        Just another re-election tactic – sort of an attack ad that is manipulated so that the general public does the attacking.

    • Because you are reading the policy wrong.

      • Explain.

        • Others already have. Several times. As they have actual experience with the policy, you should probably read their posts. But essentially as I understand them it comes down to your $5250 being a “custom” adjustment amount when there is no local real estate agent under contract to DND and those available aren’t willing to work at standard DND rates. In that instance the applicant can get a “top up” of up to $5250 to help defray the differential between standard DND rates and the local agent’s rate.

          • Don’t waste your time trying to explain things to john g. He’s just another Harper Muppet with an empty head and somebody’s hand up his rear end spouting the day’s talking points.

          • john is definitely Conservative and has his blind spots, but he’s generally far more reasoned and open than most conservatives who post here. Unlike, say, Rick, FV, or Billy Bob.

          • Which makes his faux outrage over media bias so…faux.

  19. A move after retirement would seem to me to be the kind of benefit that allows a private soldier stationed in Alberta to move back home to Newfoundland, something he might not otherwise be able to afford. I doubt it was intended to allow a freakin’ general to swap million dollar houses within walking distance in order to avoid what any other citizen would normally incur in expenses. Still, I’m sure it’s quite political, Liberals are entitled to their entitlements.

    • How about this instead:

      “People who have given their adult lives to the service of their country in uniform, surrendering many of their rights during that time, being sent in harm’s way, being told where to serve, where to live, and when to move are entitled to their legally mandated entitlements. One of those being an end of service final relocation in accordance with published regs.”

      How about that, “Theon”?

      • Yep even though it’s to a million dollar house four minutes away. I have to agree with Theon on this one, the policy as written needs to be changed. I have no problem with a lot of what you’re saying here and agree with you to a point. The clause missing from this one is the common sense one. Relocation to another city! If he was i a million dollar home as some have pointed out, how much did that one cost us as taxpayers, was there a housing allowance available? I would love to see the enlisted treated as well as the Generals.

        • On a percentage basis, they are (and I was one of of those wearing stripes on my sleeves, not fancy things on my collars). The bulk of this was not pack and move, it was fees having to do with the sale of the house they General’s family moved from. Does no one even bother to think these things through?

          • Yes we do think it through, I guess we just don’t agree with you that we as the tax payer should foot the bill for the rich, and living in a million dollar house he’s doing pretty good. For your Percentage comment, if you comparing him to the enlisted I would suggest doing some homework. They are not any where near the enlisted with regards to pay or benefits. I think you would be shocked to see the gaps and how ill treated the enslisted are compared to the officers. I do agree with you about the bulk not being related to the pack and move, and quite honestly I think the pack and move is all we should be paying for, as well as obviously the travel cost for the family involved.

          • The obvious thing to do would be to send an email off to your MP and express your concerns directly asking that it be brought up in the next Cabinet meeting. Copy it to Rob Nicholson, the Minister of National Defense responsible for overseeing and approving the relocation program.

          • Maybe cc Tony Clement, since it was Treasury Board that approved the payments.

          • Clearly you missed the part where I said, right up fornt there, that I was enlisted…and when they got paid a damn sight less than they do now…but carry on.

            The regs exist the way the regs exist. Lobby for changing them to be based on some needs test, but don’t expect people to forgoe benefits because they are getting more than you think they should.

          • Harrison, I have been up front saying the policy has to change and not attacking this individual. But with that said, with only a certain amount of money on the table for all of the military to dip into, I’m sorry but at some point in time a general of all people has to step up to the plate and quit using the politician’s answer of, it wasn’t me, it was some one else. How many enlisted could not access money due to his million dollar house flip?

          • None, unless you can point me to evidence to the contrary. This is a fully funded program with no reported shortfall unless you can show something otherwise. It would have been an easy attack line if that was the case, wouldn’t it?

          • I don’t think that we as the taxpayer should foot the bill for the rich.

            I *do* think that we as the citizens should damn well foot the bill for 20yrs of military service spent protecting this country — especially when it’s what we promised we’d do.

            Now, if there’s a difference between enlisted and officers, that’s another argument. But it’s not this one.

          • A dollar saved on real estate and legal fees is the same as a dollar in your pocket.

          • No, it’s actually some minute fraction of a cent. Further, I don’t begrudge the benefit being made available to long-serving vets.

          • Unfortunately, few do.

        • Well write your letter to Harper complaining about the fact he did not change it after his government reviewed the policy.

          You know – demand accountability!

        • The General bought that house 12 years ago. Housing costs everywhere have gone up significantly in that time.

          As to the policy needing to be rewritten – not the General’s fault or responsibility. That would be Nicholson’s – &/or his predecessor’s…

      • Ok since your take seems to be that veterans can do whatever they want then how about the simple fact that he is hurting other veterans here !

        This money comes out of the budget for troop compensation, there is only so much to go around.

        Big shot general swaps million dollar homes while small time soldiers fighting for our country get stiffed. Nice, real nice.

        • I’ll happily share your fake outrage; just as soon as you link me the articles describing enlisted vets not receiving this benefit because the money’s run out for the program. Take your time, I’ll wait.

          • Harrison, when we had a base in Baden Baden, the taxpayers were shipping in listed people’s North American vehicles to Germany and all of their household belongings. In the case of the vehicles, when they got there, there were no parts to fix them. Please tell me how these “entitlements” in anyway are a wise use of taxpayers’ money and why they should be continued because a General complained about wastage in the military out of one side of his mouth when all while he himself exemplified the wastage he complained of. It is of course his right to do so but once he entered the political arena, his actions became fodder for all.

          • Your grasp and command of language says a lot about the kind of credibility your comment deserves, so when you say something like “the taxpayers were shipping in listed people’s . . . .” when you really mean “enlisted”, your credibility on a scale of zero to ten goes to something like minus twelve.

        • RPoints, are you a veteran?

          • What about you Eileen, are you living in Cold Lake, where the Canadian Forces Personnel can’t afford decent housing and so are working at two jobs and in some case begging in the streets?

          • That’s something that needs to be dealt with, all across the country not just in Cold Lake AB. Again, express some outrage with your elected MP. He or she is there to represent your interests in Ottawa, right?

          • That needs to be fixed, yesterday. To me, a reasonable expense on behalf of our armed forces would be the government building and keeping adequate quality housing available for all the people stationed there…and appropriate on-base shopping offered to them as well, at reasonable non-Cold Lake prices. Cold Lake’s a travesty…and the government’s doing nothing about it.

            What that has to do with this is beyond me though.

        • Except

          All soldiers are entitled to this regardless of rank
          and the money does not come out of troop compensation. It is budgeted separately and is NON Salary – not salary.

        • Wrong: that move comes out of DND’s budgets; veteran compensation comes out of VAC budgets. Apple, meet orange!

      • Relocation normally means moving from one city or town to another. It’s doubtful the drafter envisaged the regs being used to downsize.

        • I would be shocked if the drafter did not envisage this. People’s lives undergo significant changes in 20, 30, 35 years. It’s not at all uncommon for people to retire in the same geographical area as their last posting. 3 out of 3 in my family. Is it fair to expect them to stay in the same home they were forced to select on very short notice and in a family situation that has radically changed?

          • Yes. It’s as fair as when the same things happen to civilians.

          • Truth be told: when I was in the military, a civilian employee in Montreal, where I was at the time, applied for a like job in Borden. The moving benefits he got as a civilian made those received by military members a pittance by comparison.

          • A civilian employee of DND. DND is the operative phrase.

    • God, I wish that that whole idiotic “entitled to my entitlements” line wouldn’t keep cropping up as though it was meaningful. OF COURSE people are entitled to their entitlements. It’s axiomatic. That’s why they’re called ENTITLEMENTS.

      If only it had been framed differently, people would see how idiotic it is to use that line as some sort of attack. What the line basically meant was “you can’t change the terms of my employment contract retroactively and unilaterally after I start working for you”. If I agree to work for you for salary X and benefits Y, you can’t just give me Z instead of Y later on because you’ve changed your mind. And you CERTAINLY can’t get me to pay back some of X because, in retrospect, you decide that maybe you paid me too much.

      I’d bet most Canadians would feel pretty damned entitled to their entitlements if the government decided to send us all bills for our 2013 healthcare costs this year, after changing the rules around public healthcare funding and making the changes retroactive to last year.

      • “entitled to my entitlements”….that is what people who don’t work in the public sector see that is wrong with unions and public sector workers. You should check out a site on Macleans that discuses what Firemen, Policemen, Teachers and Nurses make. People are outraged that public sector employees are paid well. Then there are the benefits…..and that makes people livid. It isn’t about healthcare because everyone in Canada gets free healthcare, although they resent it when people use the ER as a walk in doctors’ office and they want to charge people for that.

        • People are free to be envious of others, and to dislike the fact that other people have negotiated benefits from their employers that they don’t receive themselves. Jealousy is a fact of human nature. It’s when those people start arguing that maybe the government should just rip up the contracts that they’ve negotiated with their workers, or change the terms of those contracts unilaterally and retroactively that I have a problem.

        • The healthcare analogy is just to show how people would feel if the government unilaterally and retroactively changed the rules as they apply to everyone, the way people often argue that they should change the rules unilaterally and retroactively when it comes to public employees. Yes, everyone gets free healthcare, which is why you go get help when you need it. However, if the government decided to take your healthcare funding away, AFTER you’d already gone to the doctor, you’d be LIVID when the bill arrived. Yet many people seem to think that the government ought to unilaterally change the contracts of doctors, or nurses, or teachers, or unilaterally take away pension benefits that were negotiated in good faith and that people have based their retirement planning around, and figure that’s fine. Well, it’s not. Unilaterally changing a pension plan AFTER an employee spends decades paying in to it, and basing their retirement planning on it, is philosophically no different from presenting a bypass patient with a bill for their surgery AFTER they had the surgery under our current healthcare laws.

    • You’re entitled to your entitlements when you take any income tax deductions. Do YOU take all your deductions or do you refuse to take any you think might save you too much money?

  20. Just goes to show the Minister of Defence has no idea about his department, doesn’t it? Perhaps he should ‘get up to speed’.

    • Do you think the MND follows individual moves?

      • Perhaps not, but he should know the policies of the department he is leading.

        As much as I can say to his defence is that he was only recently appointed and therefore may not have known the details of the IPR policy, he should have gotten his ducks in a row before shooting from the hip and effectively tainting all retired military members who have elected to move to their intended place of residence on retirement.

        • Do you realize how many regulations etc DND has?

          • Do you realize leadership isn’t supposed to be easy?

          • Who said the MND was a leader? Management at best and usually not good management.

          • I’ll agree with you on the management issue. However, if you expect accountability from your subordinates, you’d best display it yourself.

            We had a saying, back in the day: “I’d rather eat shit with the Airborne, than steak with Collenette.”

            For a government to treat the CF and its veterans worse than the Chretien government takes effort.

          • And? Is it so hard to get at least a briefing from your staff before you make a public pronouncement? Especially from a government as secretive as this one?

            This was directed, and planned.

          • And the word is, is that he reiterated the same disgusting garbage today. So this is no longer by someone who ought to know better but by someone who is willingly slandering military retirees.

            Thanks MND, you really show your troops, present and past, your leadership qualities.

          • Perhaps he actually thinks the move was excessive. Lots of other Canadians do. Hopefully he’ll take action so this doesn’t happen in the future.

          • Then, prey tell, why is he attacking the man instead of the policy?

            No, this was planned, just like releasing what is considered to be protected B information on an “ATI” request.

      • Does he follow ANYthing??? It’s supposed to be his job to run his department, not spread gossip!

      • He certainly shouldn’t be commenting until he ascertains that he is up to speed and not putting his foot in his mouth.

  21. Based on the large dollar amount, I assume that the moving costs included one or more of: realtor commission, land transfer tax, or unusual moving steps. Leslie can therefore be expected to do math in his head or ask to figure out a rough total. Otherwise, politically, it’s like not knowing the price of milk. The larger political issue of whether it was good judgment to submit that large of a claim for an in-city move given the policy objective of the rules (irrespective of whether he was eligible under the rules) remains outstanding.

    • Yes. It all comes down to whether he had political inclinations prior to retirement and if he had an inkling that this might bite him once he went after the Cons for financial mismanagement in the military. In politics it is always the perception that is relevant.

  22. It’s not the dollar amount that’s the problem. It’s that DND paid for down sizing rather than actually moving from one city to another. The move itself served no function in allowing him to take up post military work or reunite with family. Of course knowing that your real estate and legal costs will be covered changes the calculation on whether to sell or not.

    The regs should be changed to prevent the public from being on the hook for this type of move.

    • And what exactly would the regulation say to make it fair for everyone? 1 km, 10km, 100km, what? I’m curious as to how you would write the regulation to insure fairness?

      • Some DND regs use 40km as a minimum. That sounds reasonable. “Commuting distance” sounds about right.

        • The problem with that restriction is that when you are moved within the context of the job, you generally have little notice and little choice of the residence you are moving to. So the home you are in when you retire is not likely the home you would want to retire in. It is only fair to allow the retiree their last move, regardless of distance as it is also most likely a downsizing of a home or different neighborhood, regardless of whether it is 5 km or 50 km.

          • Leslie is from Ottawa. He’s been posted there many times. He would have got a paid house hunting trip before he moved. He would have been allowed more time to find a home and of course his wife could help out. His non-investment income has probably gone up since retirement. I don’t know of anyone who has had as good a go of the military as Leslie. He’s not one to hold up as hard done by. He’s not a good case to support your argument.

            Lots of civilians find they need less room once the kids are gone. Is the government paying their downsizing costs as well? After all they have actually been doing the work needed to pay for DND. Surely everyone deserves the same break as Leslie.

          • The government hasn’t promised to pay civilians their expenses for one final move after they retire.

            Nor has the government been requiring them to move from city to city, or even internationally, on very short notice before that retirement.

            And personally, I find it really very odd that you’re upset the government would pay to move someone a short distance, which costs less, but wouldn’t be if he had moved a long distance.. which costs more. Which means you’re not upset with the idea behind paying for a final retirement move, and you’re not upset about the money this one cost, which leaves…

            .. that he’s someone who decided to run for the Liberals?

  23. Seems pretty simple….. How many other $72,000 of these post retirement moves took place?

    If this is with say 125% of the median or mean of all the DND post retirement moves then there is no problem.

    Maybe all ex military get around $50,000 to downsize after they retire.

  24. Interesting article. It states that a 2005 review of 15,000 moves concluded they averaged $18,000, whilst the General’s cost $72,000. Hmmmn. Well, true, it will cost more when you’re paying real estate fees on a million-dollar property….

    The real issue, which MAY not be the General’s fault, is that he was moving within the same city and only a four-minute drive away. I must say that smacks of the “I’m entitled to my entitlements.” school of public service.

    I spent 35 years in the BC public service, moving costs weren’t permitted for moves of less than 32 kilometres. Maybe the Feds need a similar policy revamp?

    By the way, has anyone determined where the leak came from? I don’t mean guessed or assumed. NDP? CPC? GPC? Snowden? Who?

    • Some of those moves were of young single soldiers who didn’t own homes.

      The regs should be changed to 40kms.

      • Agree. Also, putting a $500,000 limit on capital subject to real estate fees would limit reimbursement to generals and admirals, who don’t need this policy as much as the troops.

        • That makes sense. But it ought to be Nicholson’s problem – not Leslie’s.

      • Kinda makes you wonder why Nicholson’s department didn’t do that.

      • I don’t understand this. So after years of being moved about at the government’s whim, you’ve put in your service, you’re retiring, and you begrudge the guy the chance to get out of whatever home he last ended up in into a home that he might actually want… but only IF that home is nearby. If it’s further away and the move would cost even more, then you’re cool with it?

  25. Geddes, you’re trying to make the new Liberal recruit good and the current Minister of Defence bad. It may not work.

    • The Harper government made themselves look bad. They don’t need any help doing that. It’s the one thing they’re good at.

  26. Leslie made tons of enemies within the military with his reform proposals, a report commissioned by this Conservative government.

    It is not necessarily the Conservatives who leaked this, but people within the military opposed to Leslie’s reform proposals.

    • And they chose this moment to embarrass him, precisely when he’s due to speak at a LPC convention…pull the other one, it’s got bells on it.

  27. Bev Oda was roundly criticized for her $16 orange juice, which was also within the rules but looked bad. That was politics then and this is politics now.

    • Did the govt go through her personal records or leak stuff to the media about her in any way? There’s a clear distinction here. Unless it can be proven the media did this digging entirely off its own bat.

  28. What’s the difference between 4 blocks or half way across the province, a few hours and a little more fuel? If they move you 4 blocks they still have to pack your furniture on a truck and unpack it at the destination. They don’t just carry it down the street.

  29. A pox on both their houses. The government is obviously using this as a partisan attack. They don’t like seeing him lend credibility to the Liberals when the Conservatives have suffered on perception of support for the military. General Leslie apparently took advantage of an existing program for one final move because it was convenient to have the expenses paid. Yes, he was entitled, and the objective of the program makes sense. However, the optics of a short intra-city move aren’t great. Would he have moved if the expenses weren’t covered? Politics is a rough game, General.

    • Particularly when a sitting govt can bend or break all kinds of rules to make sure dirt on you gets out to a gullible and friendly media source.

    • He’s not the only one to take advantage.

  30. Based on what I’ve been reading on comment boards, I suspect some DND
    staff is collecting cash bribes under the table for inflated moving
    invoices… and/or Brookfield Relocation Services staff…. they should
    be audited. Is this gov. contract tendered out every year?

    repost: The costs associated with moving military members during their
    career and at retirement is insane, there is no question about that.

    , based on all the available information, followed the CF/IRP rules. He
    does not “submit” a claim for legal fees or real estate commissions,
    this is handled directly by —> Brookfield Relocation Services (aka
    bribe givers to gov. bus. man and/or politician).

    Should the government cut some of these relocation benefits, or at least put a cap on real estate commissions, yea probably.

    • It would appear there are deep problems over at Brookfield:

      Relocation Consultant (Former Employee)
      Winnipeg, MB (Canada)

      I worked at Brookfield Global Relocation Services! full-time for more than a year

      Pros – There are no pros to speak of, apart from being in misery with many other colleagues who felt the same way.

      Cons – 1. Continuous pressure and stress from management to reach daily unattainable goals.
      2. Constant “restructuring” causing lay-offs and firings, causing major job insecurity.
      Salaries way too low for what is expected from the employee (overtime
      is not granted, but many advisors work through lunch, and begin
      early/stay late with no recognition, in order to “stay within contract”.
      4.No work/life balance – the stress eats into your home life.

      Advice to Senior Management – 1. Get real, and begin to care for your employees, instead of treating them like minimum wage call centre employees.
      2. Bring salaries up to what they should be, considering the unattainable goals you expect them to achieve.
      3. More training for Advisers before being released onto the floor. The current training program is nowhere near enough.
      Begin addressing the reasons why so many advisors have left and
      continue to leave Brookfield’s employ. The attrition rate in the office I
      worked in was diabolical, with 34 employees leaving within a two year
      time period.
      5. Incorporate proper team building where employees can
      really connect as a team and reduce the stress levels – throwing out
      candies, cake and junk food every so often does not count and is not
      acceptable and a cheap, lame attempt to mimic a “team” environment. You
      are a corporate company and should incorporate acceptable and
      recognizable team building events for all your employees.
      6. Listen to your employees and be more humane; the current perception/view is that you do not care at all.

    • May 03, 2013, 19:15:05 »

      I’ve never had to use
      Brookfield. I don’t know if there’s any stories out there that show them
      in a good light. Co-operative, willing to work with the customer during
      special circumstances (deployment, course, etc.) and make things easy
      for the stressed out service family.

      What I do read, constantly
      here and other places, points me in the direction of a selfish, money
      grubbing company, that would seem to have friends on the inside of the
      bidding process. They treat service people with contempt and appear, as
      in the example above, to flat out lie in order to create an untenable
      situation for the customer. All for the service of their own needs and
      bottom line. The serviceman shall not get in the way of their paycheck
      seems to be their mantra.

      On the face, it seems scandalous and
      dollar wasteful. It would appear the whole process could use a good look
      at by an Ombudsman and perhaps a Ministerial Inquiry or an
      investigation by the Opposition MP’s.

    • A $62-million lawsuit against the
      government is at the heart of one of the most complex procurement
      disputes in Canadian history. As KATHRYN MAY reports, the fight is over
      the fairness in the awarding of the lucrative contract to relocate
      18,000 federal employees each year

      Kathryn May,
      Ottawa CitizenPublished: Saturday, January 26, 2013

      one of the most complicated, multi-layered and longest-running
      procurement disputes in Canadian history. It had its start in the late
      1990s, wound its way through channels of hearings, investigations and
      audits before unfolding in a dense and detailed courtroom battle a
      stone’s throw from Parliament Hill, where politicians have washed their
      hands of the fiasco.

      Ontario Superior Court Justice Peter Annis,
      who presided over the 15-month civil trial that ended last month, has
      called the case a “whodunit” and, as lawyers presented their final
      arguments, mused that he’s never seen anything like it. The bureaucratic
      paper trail unfurled at the trial even produced a proverbial “smoking

  31. DND, the government, MPs, etc don’t give a shit about how much money they spend…full stop. I’ve witnessed it with member of the DND staff and it just absolutely disgusts me. end of story.

  32. Let’s see the costs of moving other senior military officers after they retired, including ones who have joined the Conservative party since then, so that we can objectively assess the merits of Mr. Nicholson’s accusations in this case.

  33. i wouldnt call leslie your average solider, most cant afford to move from one million $$ mansion to another just a stones throw down the road

    • doesn’t matter soldier. The program that he relocated under is available to all levels – including yourself.

      • No, it’s not. While Leslie gets 70k, the average soldier gets a fraction of that. So no, it’s not available to all. Leslie gets benefits that go way beyond what is available to all levels.

        • wrong – THE PROGRAM under which he applied is available to all soldiers. The amount is based on the cost of the move – they do not hand out $100 bills you know, they contract real estate people, movers and packers. Every bit of the program that he was entitled to is available to you as long as you have been in active service for at least 20 years.

          • 20 years

          • d’oh. Thanks – my mistake – I’ll edit.

          • No problem Charlie.

      • i understand that and am grateful. but for someone who has made 10x my pacy check each year and wants to be a politician or at the very least someone very close to JT who is trying to become PM, does it not worry you that he would so quickly put his hand in the cookie jar for 72k? weather he was allowed to or not is irrelevant, just like duffy didnt have to pay back the 90k, he was pressure dinto it.

        • The $72K included legal and realtor fees. Realtor fees are usually % of the house’s selling price, so is they could easily be high for a million dollar property. The program was outsourced to an external contractor which would have added their own markups to the actual charges.

          I haven’t seen an explanation from Leslie explaining why he was moving from a expensive home in a upmarket area to a smaller home nearby. Perhaps the larger home was required to fulfill some of his military duties (‘business’ entertaining such as staff functions, lobbying politicians and bureaucrats.)

          Many companies which frequently move their employees have what might appear to be generous relocation programs because their employees incur the costs of moving and selling homes but don’t own them long enough for them to appreciate much in value.

  34. Did Leslie do something illegal? No! Does this minister of the crown know what he is doing? No! Is this another smear campaign by a government hell-bent on reelection within 20 months? Oh yeah! Weren’t these bozos the great supporters of the military since taking office? Closing VA offices, cancelling election and military promises for new and better equipment to protect our troops and an epidemic of suicides, and domestic violence involving these same vets who have given so much illustrates this gov’t really doesn’t care about anything but the ballot box.

  35. Its b******* either way you look at it the citizens end up paying for it that’s almost the cost of the bridge from Windsor to Detroit over half of that for the bridge 631 million dollars and you wonder why they want cutbacks budget plans where does it stop

  36. The government is trying to kill two birds with one stone; deflect attention from the Conservative Senators outrageous, and illegal, expense claims while at the same time trying to muddy the Liberal party by discrediting a highly respected retired General who is a leading Liberal candidate by calling into question his entirely legitimate realestate and moving expenses. Just another sign of the Government’s dirty political tactics and lack of respect for the military and veterans.

  37. Ahem… its called ministerial responsibilty…. Its not just a free heli ride Mr Nicholson.

  38. What’s funny is that realtors don’t get 100% of their commission when they sell through this program. It is a reduced military rate