How much should we have paid to help Andrew Leslie move?

The meaning of $72,000

So here’s something to hash out with your loved ones during the traditional Family Day dinner (note: might not apply in your province).

On Saturday night, CTV reported that the retired general (now pledged to the Liberals and likely to run as a Liberal candidate in the next election) had had $72,000 of moving expenses covered in 2012 after he finished with the Canadian Forces.

The next day, Defence Minister Rob Nicholson declared that these expenses appeared “grossly excessive” and that he would be “asking the Department of National Defence to examine how an in-city move could possibly total over $72,000.”

Glen McGregor has the email Mr. Leslie sent to CTV and here is the statement the retired general later posted online. The program in question is the Integrated Relocation Program. In his email to CTV, Gen. Leslie says National Defence “handles and pays all the costs for the packing, shipping, real estate negotiations and fees, legal fees etc etc. DND pays these people directly, so I don’t know what the overall number is. We are not told.”

Mr. Leslie blames the Conservatives for the story and he now tells CTV that this is a “smear campaign.” Whatever the source of the story, the Defence Minister’s statement refers to Mr. Leslie as a “Liberal Defence Advisor” and the Prime Minister’s deputy chief of staff has criticized Mr. Leslie via Twitter (New Democrat apparatchiks seem to have taken an interest in the issue on Twitter as well) and the Liberals have sent out a note to supporters seeking money to help fight “Conservative attacks.”

So is $72,000 a lot to spend assisting a retired general through the IRP? Probably that’s more than most of us have incurred to move, but how much does the program usually cover? Did his expenses violate any of the program’s rules? And what does the coverage include? (In his email to CTV, Mr. Leslie says, “the overwhelming majority of the expense is certainly the real estate fees.” CTV reported that he sold his house for “more than a million dollars.” A five or six percent commission on a $1-million sale would account for most of that $72,000—but at this point we don’t have any details of that sum.)

To those questions you can add some philosophical ones: To what degree should we assist departing members of the Canadian Forces with making a move?

Update. My colleague John Geddes puts the focus on the Defence Minister.




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How much should we have paid to help Andrew Leslie move?

  1. The DND seems to quote its own numbers on everything including $640 toilet seats.

    • I’d be OK as much as Mike Duffy stole from us considering these guys earned it – also why are we flying MP wives around and how many politicians have we moved around start digging media…….I’m OK with Veterans getting their entitlements as they are much deserved in service to the country.

  2. The General has moved 18 times in his career. Many people in the military have done so….including Gen Rick Hillier….and they all get the same benefits.

    • Curious if the General ever had to sell at a loss, as some of our military have had to.

      • No idea, but it’s likely….given some of the places you’re posted.

  3. My in-laws retired from the RCMP a decade ago, and were given $60,000.00 to relocate. Granted they moved across the country, but my point is that the military is not the only organization that does this, and I do not know what the RCMP pay now for a move.

    • All the major networks are reporting that the military and the RCMP all have the benefit of a final retirement move…but hold on…not to move 4 minutes away.
      Apparently the RCMP administers that benefit differently than the retired Generals did. The RCMP only receive that benefit if they actually relocate and it must be a distance of over 40KM.
      Actually, the original intent was to allow members to return to their home provinces at the end of a career. It was never meant to pay all fees to move within the same city!

  4. Any move in the same city that cost 72,000$ is some kind of a scam. The taxpayers should not have to pay for any retired employees move. For the love of God, I could move everything I have here in Newfoundland to Vancouver for less than that ! Its about time the average taxpayer stopped paying for Fat Cats like him and the Senators outragous expense claims!

    • If it was just a move.
      How much would you have to pay to real estate agents and lawyers.. not just here but in Vancouver where prices are insane.. in order to finish that move?

    • Mingas, You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about, comparing a general to a senator.
      He is not an appointed senator that was handed a cushy job. He worked his way there from the ground up and earned that position. Every military person that is moved numerous times in their career has all of their moving expenses covered – do you complain about all the other soldiers’ moving fees (while you benefit from their service)?
      His home was expensive, which is why the costs were high. The distance to move is only a small factor. Whether he moved from NFLD to BC, the real estate fees would have been the same. He earned more than you and had a house fitting his position and salary. You’re simply jealous.

    • Conservatives venerate the military…until Harper tells them not to.

    • “National Defence “handles and pays all the costs for the packing,
      shipping, real estate negotiations and fees, legal fees etc etc.”

      The real estate fees probably eat up most of that. I believe Ontario RE commissions are currently 7%, so if you do the math on a million dollar house. The actual “moving ” charges, like the truck and the men who do the physical work,is probably less than 10% of the overall cost.

      • Real estate commissions should be nowhere near 7% on a $1M house. It typically starts at 5% and drops to 1% or less on the balance once the price gets over a threshold.

        Of course we are talking about the military here, who routinely pay $100 for a $3 pair of scissors.

        • No, real estate commission is typically 7/3 (7% on first $100,000 and 3% on the balance) and moving to 8/4 split. So it’s pretty easy to see that $72,000 is spent.

          This is a guy who spent his life with the military moving from location to location – under his contract the DND picks up the moving fees. This is typical in any industry where the company (or government department) need you to move.

          It is a shame that something as minor as this is becoming headline news – it is a smear campaign. And the sham of Canadian Federation of Taxpayers saying that he has shamed his ancestors is even more disgraceful – masters of propagating mis-information with their poor research.

          We should be focusing on the non-contractually binding wastes of money (Redford and her crew spending $20,000 on two flights back from Mandela’s funeral instead of waiting for Harpers jet) or other super wasteful items (ie Senate expenses, levels of approvals in government orgs).

          • 7/3 real estate fees for a million dollar home would only add up to $7.000 plus 9×3 = @27,000 which is a combined cost of $34,000 for real estate commission.

            But commission fees are negotiable. And besides, it is only on the house which the General sold that he pays real estate commission on.. Any house he bought the commission will be paid for by the seller.

            So let us find out what those costs were really for, eh.

          • Can You educate us more on this topic since it has to do with the DND run by Minister Nicholson spending that kind of money to relocate a retired General or service men. Is this the standard proceedure of DND presided over by Nicholson? Have they done this to other retired service people in the past? This issue is coming out directly from the most secretive Govt. in Canadian history to smear Gen. Leslie because he is running for the Liberals. This is a Govt. that does not like to release documents unless it favors them and their agenda. Minister Nicholson if he has any shame, should apologise for trying to smear someone who has dedicated his life to making a difference in peoples life around the world while bearing Canadian flag. These Cons. Govt are just plain evil and will stoop to any level. They and their rabid nonentities of supporters wonder why, majority of Canadians cannot stand what they are doing to Canadians and the Country. Is incompetent for Minister Nicholson to have known about this DND policy since his Govt. came to power. I wonder how many other service men have used this truly deserving privilege to a group of people Canadians should really be proud off. I would rather my money tax money is spent taking care of people like General Leslie, other Veterans than on building Gazebos, propaganda on fake jobs, $1B fake lake, giving Corporations incentives to flood our Country with TEMP. FOREIGN WORKERS, appoint crooks, ex. convicts, to public positions just to name a few. This Govt. has no moral authority to question anyone’s morals, since they have lost the moral high ground among majority Canadians.

          • Unless things have changed recently (I bought just over two years ago) standard real estate fees in Ontario (or the GTA at least) are a flat 5%. Some realtors will take less to get your business. Probably not the ones dealing with the government though.

            5% of $1,000,000 is $50,000. Add in lawyers fees etc and the fact that this is a government procurement (i.e. likely not the most penny-pinching approach) and that $72,000 doesn’t seem too out of whack.

          • somebody buy Francien a calculator, 7% of 100,000 is 7,000, 7% of a million is 70,000, etc

        • The buyer does not pay real estate fees anyways.

          Real estate commissions are paid for by the seller and therefore if the General has real estate commission costs it would have been in relation to the house he sold and not the one he bought.

          • .” CTV reported that he sold his house for “more than a million
            dollars.” A five or six percent commission on a $1-million sale would
            account for most of that $72,000—but at this point we don’t have any
            details of that sum.)

            Now for goodness sake change the record.You’re an embarrassment to all sentient life forms.

  5. We should extend the thank you for service deserved after 20yrs. Those thanks extend beyond the member to the families that made the sacrifice along with the military member.

    If anyone is asking me at this point, all of our military personnel deserve much better than the status quo, and I believe this to be an organized and bitter attack, which in itself glarifies the Harper goverments disregard for our people in uniform.

    I have no issue saying that I believe Mr Leslie 100% when he states he knew nothing of the cost, if that is the case there is no story here, and until someone comes up with a document with his signature indicating otherwise, I will stand by my statement.

    If anyone as well, would ask me to whom I would give the most credibility, It could be a no brainer for anyone but the mentally impaired. My vote goes to them man who lived integrity for 20 yrs and defended our borders against all invaders. Mr Harper hasn’t anywhere near the integrity required to meet the military standards and rank achieved by Mr Leslie, and he would be hard pressed to find even a handful in his entire ranks, commons, senate or staff.

    The conservative may have really stepped in it this time.

    • Thanks for putting it succintly. Harper and his Cons. Govt. and supporters have lost the moral high ground and because of this Govt. actions since coming to power, Canadians now rank politicians as the lowest vocation; even worst than used car salesmen.

    • our borders haven’t seen a single invader since 1814. Obviously someone who had to move for 20 years at the governments say soshould have their expenses paid for a final move, but let’s not lose perspective here.

  6. His claim was likely allowable under the current policy and therefore legal. The bigger question is whether or not it was necessary. When a CF member retires, s/he needs to sell the house they owned at their last posting to move to their retirement home of choice. That is fair as the military ordered them to move throughout their career. If the person is not changing cities, is it ethical to sell one house to buy another, in the same location, and claim the expenses just because you can? That’s a judgment call.

    • No, it’s a standard benefit. And the Gen was downsizing.

      • I agree it was a standard benefit and he was entitled to it under the policy. The issue is that he did not HAVE to sell his house as he wasn’t leaving the city. Is that ethical?

        • Of course it’s ethical….he earned it.

          PS He was downsizing.

          • You don’t “earn” benefits, you are entitled to them if your circumstances qualify you. And in Leslie’s case, they probably did under the current parameters of the policy.

          • How would you like to be notified that after 20 years of service, putting your life on the line multiple times – that you are a prisoner of your house and that you can’t move, because of the optics of people you have been sworn to protect have an issue with your contract.

            What if he hated his house, but had to move there during his service? Now he sees a house that his family would much rather live in, or other circumstances that aren’t covered in this article (schools, kids, health, etc). Would you rather force him to live the rest of his days there?

          • Get a grip.

          • Tokyo Rose is now the final judge of what constitutes reasonable discourse.

          • get a calculator

          • It’s all part of the compensation package….earnings

        • The honorific “Lt. General” made Andrew Leslie a chief executive officer – effectively a ‘CEO’ – the big difference being his decisions took responsibility for the lives & deaths of the service-people he commanded. Another huge difference is pay-scale. As a General he received take-home pay a tiny fraction of a civilian executive – with no ‘performance bonuses’ nor many perks. After 20 years of rising through the ranks (distinguishing himself sufficiently to make that rise almost meteoric) he retired. And retiring, he, exactly like all his brothers in arms, received small token of thankful respect.

          As agreed only correct by governments of both blue & red stripe.

          Until the Harper Government which repeatedly ‘nickel & dime’s both serving soldiers and retired veterans – in a ugly, pathetic scramble to scrimp coins to buy big shiny toys. No body armor is too obsolete for our troops – and no armored vehicles.

          If a one-time pay-out to disabled vets shifts desperately needed money from the tattered pockets of demoralized suicidal former soldiers into the fighter-bomber fund … ‘too bad so sad eh?’ A Harper Government policy threatening to put our military death toll from ‘friendly fire’ – from disillusionment and abandonment by the same people who sent them into harm’s way.

          Those who so served deserve our best in return. Including they who agonized over balance-sheets with columns for KIA, MIA or wounded. Generations of Canadians and Canadian government have agreed “but of course” – until this government.

          Lt. General Andrew Leslie, on retirement was wooed by CGI – a Canadian corporation and giant among international information gathering, organizing and logistical analysis organizations – both corporations and governments enlist their help. They sought out
          Lt. General Andrew Leslie to head their defense, public safety, and intelligence unit. A position where he’d likely earn as much each year as he did in a decade – if not more. But instead he’s apparently inclined to continue a career in our nation’s service.

          And when a conservative hack like Gregory Thomas slurs and smuts not only Lt. General Leslie but suggests he shames the memory of his grandfathers – both Minister of National Defense
          (both war-time Ministers of National Defense) the conservative machine shows its callowness by not immediately repudiating such vile defamation.

          Lt. General Andrew Leslie receiving the same benefit as any other soldier is all he’d ask – far less than any of them deserve.

          • As a CF veteran, whose service was honourable, if not exactly distinguished, let me thank you for this note.

          • Thank you.

    • I dunno. Should you be forced to stay in (and make payments on) the house you purchased at the peak of your income when you retire?

      • No, but that would be the case in any career. The military put him in that town, but not in that house. I must agree that it is questionable to have a same-town move covered.

        • No, in any other career you get to decide when you’re moving. You’re of the mind that any member of the military should always be buying their retirement house?

          Because it makes no sense with me that you’d be good with this if he was moving out of town to his chosen retirement home, but because he chose a house in a location close to where he already was, then it’s no longer legit.

        • There is normally a 40km minimum move to get reimbursed, but moving to your IPR is an exception, there is no minumum. I can understand that exception, as when you leave the service you may often be at a point where you are an empty nester and want to stay where you are, you just might want to downsize.

          To me the only question outstanding is how did the costs rise to $72K when real estate commissions were capped at $5,250.

          • “…real estate commissions were capped at $5,250.”

            Can you please enlighten us as to where you got that number? I haven’t seen anyone else mentioning it – and it seems impossibly low given the general market.

          • Keith and john g:
            Here’s the weblink with the IRP guidelines:
            http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/about-policies-standards-benefits-relocation/2011-2012-directive-ch1.page?
            There appears to be three different funding calculations:
            Core benefits
            Custom benefits
            Personalized benefits
            Although the guidelines seem somewhat vague in places, my interpretation is core benefits would potentially cover 100% of real estate fees for a relocation. The $5250 applies only to the custom benefits formula.

            My other thoughts reading through this is that the relocation process and associated costs appear to be entirely handled by Brookfield. To the extent that the $72,000 cost may be inappropriate, I’d point fingers at 1) Brookfield, and 2) DND (and the minister).

          • Thanks! Yes, from the thread on Geddes’ article, I gleaned from others that the $5250 is essentially a “top up” in the event that the area where the person chooses to retire does not have a realtor under contract to DND and locals aren’t willing to work at DND rates. This would seem to only be necessary for the final move, as postings would be to a limited number of areas with contracted realtors (whereas the final move could be to anywhere).

            As the $5250 equals 35% of the commission, and as standard commissions in real estate tend to be around 5%, it would seem the top-up is good for a house with a maximum value of about $300,000. Which sounds like it is intended more for enlisted personnel than generals ;-)

  7. Audit!

    • And if it shows that Leslie did nothing wrong, will you insist that Nicholson resign for so obviously playing politics and trying to smear Leslie?

  8. OK, it makes a good sound bite, and gives the impression that some wrong is happening, but in all likelihood there is no story here. He simpy was a retiring service member getting what he was entitled to, under and existing government approved program, and no I am not a Liberal. In fact most of the money likely did not even go to him, it most likely went to cover actual expenses, paid directly to those companies, likely mostly real estate expenses. It is just a ‘political story’ because he is becoming a ‘politician’ as a second career. If only the government (whom yes I voted for) would simply apply the same degree of oversight to Parliament, and not attack where there is no issue, why think of the cost savings!

  9. Sounds like Senator Leslie to me.

    • And when a Senator is involved you automatically know Harper is behind the screw-up, if there even is one.

    • If he is actually found guilty of wrongdoing, then yes that will likely mean he meets Harper’s requirements for appointment.

  10. Paul Wells
    ‏@InklessPW

    In Afghanistan in 2010 I saw
    Gen. Leslie sleep on a cot on land the Taliban had controlled weeks
    earlier. I didn’t see Jenni Byrne there.

  11. Clearly the intent of this policy is to assist retiring members, currently living where DND requires, to relocate to another town, city, province, etc., of the retiree’s choosing. I’m sure the intent is not to support moves in the same city. According to the policy he did nothing wrong – but in terms of ethically spending tax dollars, that’s a different issue.

    • If that is not the intent, the policy should not have included same city moves. Since it did, clearly it was intended to do so.

      • Or perhaps it was an oversight … that’s why policies are periodically reviewed – perhaps it’s time for a review.

        • If so, that does not mean he did anything wrong.

          In any event, I believe the policy was reviewed about 5 years ago.

        • It was reviewed by the CPC since they took power. If there is a problem with the policy, then it is the CPC, not Leslie, who are at fault.

    • He did something wrong. You have to move at least 40 km for the policy to be valid

      • For postings yes. Not for the final move after retirement.

  12. Why are we not talking about the closing of the government libraries and the destruction of billions of dollars of taxpayer funded scientific and health research materials and studies instead of focusing on various people’s abuse of their expense accounts? We focus on the pennies and are oblivious to the billions – and why is the media so complicit in setting our gaze on the incidental and the inconsequential sins of individual officials?

  13. This scandal has zero to do with whether the expense was “allowed” by law. It almost assuredly (and shamefully) was. It has nothing to do with the general’s service in Afghanistan, which Paul Wells (again, showing his colours) has generously offered on Twitter in the general’s defense. Everyone knows his military record. It has nothing to do with the propriety of paying moving expenses for the military while in the service of their country, another desperate media attempt to deflect the issue.

    No, this is much more fundamental, and the media and opposition have nobody to blame but themselves for this. It has everything to do with the Liberal Party of Canada’s strategy to make Justin Trudeau the next Prime Minister of Canada on a pledge to defend the interests of the middle class – most of whom earn far less than $72,000 a year. This is the amount the general reportedly received from the taxpayers to pay (among other moving costs) the commission on selling his (capital gains tax-free) house in one of Canada’s most privileged neighbourhoods (Rockcliffe Park) for a lifestyle choice to move just a few blocks away. It has everything to do with Justin Trudeau’s splashy “bold”/desperate (take your pick) move to divest himself of some embarrassing Liberal senators’ expenses (also entitled) prior to the Auditor General’s report on senators’ spending, as he seeks to hang all things “senate” around the neck of the “duplicitous” Stephen Harper. It has everything to do with the Liberal Party of Canada’s “I’m entitled to my entitlements” decades-old genome – a stench that still lingers from the Chretien-era Sponsorship Scandal, and from which the party is desperately trying to protect an untested Trudeau as the shiny new, young, transparent, fresh face of the Liberals in Canada. It has everything to do with a hopelessly-biased media elite, who have been beating the “Mike Duffy” drum as shameless shills for the Liberals and NDP for almost a full year over a pitiful $95,000, just $23,000 more than the general has taken from those very same hard-pressed middle class taxpayers as his “entitlement”. It has EVERYTHING to do with the politics of a party’s election strategy that hinges on “the middle class” and “entitled fat cats”, and then appoints, proudly, a very public figure who uses his position to screw that very same middle class out of $72,000 that he could easily afford to pay himself, and which almost everyone in the middle class has to pay themselves, because he’s “entitled” to it.

    To those who are upset at how political this has become, for heaven’s sake, grow up. The dripping irony of this predicament for Justin Trudeau, is how spectacular this has become in its predictable outcome (really – you didn’t see this coming??). Given the opposition and media’s zombie-like cacophonous fascination with a purposely over-hyped senate “scandal” over the past year, the stunning hypocrisy of the general’s defenders and deflectors on this issue is so stark as to conclusively remove any shred of credibility they might still hope to claim.

    In short, this is a gift to Trudeau’s detractors that is going to linger on his lapel like a bad gravy stain. And the best part of all – he bought the jacket himself.

    • Of course! It is Trudeau’s fault.

      You are ridiculous.

      And desperate. So very very desperate.

      • 2015 will be an easy win for the CPC. Don’t come crying here afterwards that you weren’t warned. :)

        Canadians are not going to hand over the management of this country to a manboy from Quebec.

        • Thanks for proving my point.

          ha ha ha ha ha

          • So you won’t cry then when yet another Liberal leader will be defeated in the next election? Hey, good on you!

            Will Justin Trudeau go back to teaching drama just like Ignatieff went back to the US as predicted?

          • Thanks for the editorial, Pyongyang Pearl.

          • lol

          • Thanks for the laugh FV. What will you do when your beloved helmet-head gets turfed?

          • Ignatieff went to the University of Toronto.

        • Keep shrieking, Tokyo Rose.

    • This isn’t a scandal..

    • I’m confused…is there more than one Charles out there? The CPC must have a secret facility where they churn these guys out. This one seems a more recent model than Kody, who had a bad habit of getting stuck on the phrase…today’s progressive left …and the media party.

    • Trudeau did this? Does he have to pay back the $72,000 ? If so,Can he keep $10 to get the gravy dry cleaned off of his lapel?

      Oh – one last thing – we took the liberty of calling CRA on your behalf and told them to cancel your income tax refund because you are a person of principle and refuse to take any “entitlements”.

  14. My brother worked for a multinational corporation and every time they needed him to move and to retain him they would sweeten the pot by paying off his current housing and paid the shot to find a new one. He retired owning three mansions and received a two million dollar payout when he retired. His job was nowhere as important as the generals his job as far as I could tell was to ruin peoples lives by shutting down their factories and moving the jobs too third world countries. Something the Conservatives would approve of no doubt.

    • Thank Gawd… I’ve been waiting for someone to haul out that
      tired old .. ” this would never happen in the private sector” ..
      when anything and everything happens in the private sector.
      Thanks for heading that off at the pass.

    • Seeing as Canada could probably get by with six mounties carrying rifles for its actual defence, and our overseas missions haven’t been necessary (or recently, good ideas), it’s debatable how necessary our military actually is.

      But your comparison is certainly interesting.

  15. So the Conservatives launch another attack on a vet and the angry scared sheep follow up with horrible attacks of their own.

    • You can’t even stay coherent for 15 minutes. Make up your f**king mind. Are they attacking a vet, or investigating their own screw up?

      • They should investigate the screw up but won’t.They would rather attack an honored vet.

      • Are they attacking a vet, or investigating their own screw up?

        I don’t see why they can’t do both. Investigate the Department’s screw up while publicly accusing Leslie of poor judgement for not catching the screw up himself. It’s easy really. The important thing is to accuse Leslie of lacking judgement BEFORE investigating what actually happened.

  16. This is the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program.

    As General Leslie was leaving the service for this move, I believe Chapter 14, Move to Intended Place of Residence on Release, is the relevant chapter.

    Anyone out there, please correct me if I’m mistaken on this.

    In that Chapter, specifically section 14.7.03, the benefits are outlined. They indicate that real estate commissions are covered…to a maximum of $5,250.

    If that’s the major item, how did we get to $72K for a move 5 minutes away???

    Wherry, do they block Google at your work or something? It only took me a couple of minutes to find that.

    • So the Conservative managed DND screwed up. Good to know.

    • Good question!

      Since the general had nothing to do with setting the fees, and actually did no know what the costs were, you should ask this government who they are contracting these services to, and whether they should review that.

      • Perhaps the members of the media could have done a bit more research before posting false allegations.

        The media doing a bit more research would be good.

        • This begs the question as to why did DND run by Minister Nicholson pay $72,000.00 to relocate General Leslie? unless of of course, it was paid to Cons.donor company to thank them for donating to the Cons. Govt. General Leslie as known so far has no say as to how the money was paid since DND handles all paper work and payment. So, Minister Nicholson, can you tell us Canadians how you can allow this to happen under your watch since you think is was not deserved by General Leslie of any retiring Veteran.

        • Perhaps the Minister could have, as well.

    • Thanks for posting some of the real facts. Someone has to do that, right. :)

    • Are you certain that these are the amounts that applied at the time the General retired? I note the document indicates

      “Date modified:

      2013-12-04″
      so you need to be sure you have the version that was applicable at the time.

      • Somebody already spanked his arse for him upthread.

  17. Soldiers are awesome. I get that they put their lives on the line for us every day.

    But they aren’t the only ones. So do police officers. Shall we grant Julian Fantino license to do whatever he wants after a lifetime of public service to the police?

    No?

    Carry on.

    • Construction workers put there lives on the line every day too. But we don’t have a parade every time a construction worker dies on the job, do we? Must be the uniform. Everyone loves a guy in a uniform, right?

      • In fact, a construction worker is slightly more likely to die on the job, and soldiers are very very rarely in the situations we think of when we consider them “putting their life on the line.”

        Although soldiers can die from the intent of the enemy, and construction workers generally die through inadvertance and not following safety procedures.

    • That is a very very good point John. Here is what I suggest you do – write Stephen Harper and express your outrage that when they reviewed this program in 2005, they did not stop it. For some crazy messed up reason, the Harper government allowed this program to continue.

      Absolutely outrageous. You really should write him.

      • Really? Was Harper PM in 2005?

        #Fail

        • Sorry – 2006.

          So when can Harper expect your letter?

          • When can we expect an investigation into your mistakes?

            Your mistakes should be investigated immediately.

            Or are you human and capable of making mistakes?

          • How much money did my mistake cost you?

            (Why do you make it so easy???)

          • The outcome of an investigation will be able to tell us.

          • Why not make it 2014? Heck, it was probably reviewed 2 weeks ago, for all we know!

          • The website john g pointed us to was updated not long ago:

            Date modified:

            2013-12-04

            So it may well have been reviewed quite recently.

            The question is: What was the policy at the time Gen. Leslie retired, and did he follow that policy? If the policy was not followed properly, were the rules deliberately overlooked, and if so did Leslie know it?

            These are the kinds of questions that need answering. Nicholson should not be casting aspersions unless he has evidence of wrongdoing.

          • Er, what, splutter, er do you mean sir? Are you casting aspersions on my competence, er, um, integrity? Cuz i was the minister of um, er Justice once upon a time you know. I know all kinds of difficult to remember stuff and, er, um how to do difficult stuff…hear hear!

          • in 2005

          • Reviewed in 2005, report produced and delivered to the Harper government in the fall of 2006. Apparently they even read it as they implemented a number of the recommendations.

            But I get John’s point – apparently this became a problem because a retired general and hopeful liberal candidate made use of the program. When it was non future liberal candidates who made use of the program it was totally acceptable.

          • my little joke…look for his letter in 2005.

          • D’oh!

    • I am sure serving members of the armed forces will be comforted that you find them ‘awesome’. Are you accusing General Leslie of ‘doing whatever the hell he wants’? As for Fantino, I have no idea what benefits he received at retirement, but the RCMP have a benefit similar to the armed forces – also for 20 years of service.

    • Somehow I think there is only one soldier getting a 72k payout on retirement. The rest of them get much less of course.

      • So, the DND under the Tories conspired to pay for services that General Leslie wasn’t entitled to? That IS news!!!

      • Another general got above $50K, so its about standard. probably the higher ranks, with more money, buy more expensive houses which generate higher fees when sold.

        You really seem to be an idiot on this file, scf.

        • Not everyone in the armed forces is a general. You seem to be about as clueless as usual.

    • RCMP also get these benefits. It is because they are regularly uprooted and moved.

      Carry on.

  18. You know what stories like this are?

    The death of the “abuse of expenses is a CPC problem” narrative.

    No wonder Wherry and every other journalist out there is working so hard to contain this.

    • Nope.

      But while we are on the whole bias thing, how do you explain the fact the media published this story in the first place? I am so disappointed you haven’t addressed that. I expected more from you.

      (that’s OK – I really didn’t expect more from you)

      • It was a mistake…wont happen again. Just happenstance.

  19. Look, john g is right. I want our present govt to audit all vets. And , maybe Fantino can do a national tour going from legion to legion chastising vets for costing Canada too much money.

    • Ha ha

  20. If you do a search for “Relocation Directive – APS 2012/2013
    - Chapter 8” you will find the National Defence directive regarding moving
    costs reimbursement. This is the standard expenses that eligible Canadian
    Forces employee can claim. One item that will climb with the price of the house
    = the real estate commission.

    • Chapter 8 covers soldiers who are being asked to move from A to B to
      assume new duties at B. It is a regular move for someone who remains in
      the service, and would not apply to somebody moving less than 40km as General Leslie did. For that kind of move, by my read of the document your entire real estate commission would be covered.

      If this is your “final move” to leave the service, it is covered under
      Chapter 14. The 40km limit does not apply, but the commission fees are
      capped at $5,250.

      • You are right, it is Chapter 14 that applies here.

        Relocation Directive – APS 2012/2013 – Chapter 14
        This chapter describes relocation benefits and expenses applicable to a move from the last place of duty to an Intended Place of Residence (IPR) on release.

        • Except (face-palm) the pertinent section is 14.3.08. Where there’s no such cap. Reading comprehension fail on John G’s part. Since he’d need to read Sect. 14.3.08 to get waaay down to the bit he’s cited one must wonder about the cause of his failure. Hmm?

          • That section makes no mention of real estate commissions at all. This is what is covered under 14.3.08.

            *Administrative fees and/or mortgage disbursement fees as per applicable provincial laws

            * Attending fees and power of attorney;

            * Temporary Dual Residence Assistance (TDRA);

            * Reverse Temporary Dual Residence Assistance (RTDRA);

            and

            *Long Term Storage (LTS).

          • Good that you’ve read it. Now, if you look at that first bullet-point and give the words a little think (or search them) you’ll learn that they tersely cover “administrative” fees (ie: process fees) and all mortgage disbursement fees. The second bullet-point tells us as tersely that legal fees are also covered. And NO limits are put on those costs. Nor for that matter are there any limits placed on the cost of housing while waiting to take possession of the new home. Nor are there limits placed on the cost of long term storage. The regs place no ceilings on coverage of these defined costs. Ever bought a house? If you had you’d know what is meant by admin. fees et al. One would also want to believe a Minister of Defense would also share such mundane common knowledge.

          • Not to worry, JG has also discovered “by my read” that global warming is a crock…he’s a genius don’cha know!
            The internet has a lot to answer for.

  21. Relocation Directive – APS 2012/2013 – Chapter 8, Section
    8.2 – Sale of principal residence – The purpose of Sale of Principal Residence
    benefits are to assist in the disposal of a principal residence. Reimbursed
    costs include:
    Real estate commission, Legal fees and disbursements, Appraisal fees, Mortgage early repayment penalties, Temporary Dual Residence Assistance (TDRA), Return trip to finalize sale, Building/ structural inspection, Capital improvements, Home staging, Marketing incentives, Home Equity Assistance (HEA), Real Estate Incentive.

    • john g is right, it is Chapter 14 that applies here, not section 8.
      Relocation Directive – APS 2012/2013 – Chapter 14
      This chapter describes relocation benefits and expenses applicable to a move from the last place of duty to an Intended Place of Residence (IPR) on release.

  22. IPR Regs (Section 14.3.08) lists in clear concise point form the allowable expenses. That Rob Nicholson didn’t bother to do the same 5 minute fact-check and 1 minute of business math I did speaks volumes about the low intellectual caliber of top echelon Conservatives (which helps make sense of the dearth of facts and numbers coming from the rank & file).

    Beginning with that total moving stipend of $72,000 it is easy to establish a price for that retirement property. $850,000. We know this because in Ontario realtor’s fees are 6% – and property transfer taxes 2%. $850,000 X 8% = $68,000. Add conveyancing costs of around $1000 and the transaction costs alone are $69,000.

    Leaving a mere $3000 for all those moving costs (incl. wrapping/crating, transporting, storing, transporting yet again, and assistance in unpacking).

    So the Harper government is attacking a decorated war veteran for accepting the same benefits as any other retiring career officer? And attacking him for decisions he wasn’t privy to nor in control of (unless they mean to suggest that unless they vote ‘Harper’ all military personnel should wave earned benefits? THAT would be petty AND pathetic.). Harrying him like a pack of small dogs for a decision ownership of which lands squarely on the desk long occupied by Peter Mackay. (Are poor math skills requisite for cabinet posting in the Harper Government? Or just a sad part of being Harper conservative?)

    Hard to say what is more troubling – the Harper Government’s moral failings vis a vis our military personnel – or their abysmal math skills.

    • “Hard to say what is more troubling”
      I’ll go with… the Harper Government’s moral failings!

      • Amazing how gullible people like you are.

        It is in fact safetynet2razorwire who is misleading the readers here since real estate commissions are not nearly 6% over the total price. The fees are much less after the first 100,000.

        It is safetynet2razorwire who needs to do some more research.

        • Tokyo Rose is now an expert on real estate commissions.

          • It’s tough to fip between wiki and macleans and keep the train on the tracks.

        • Not according to anything I can find; I know when I bought two years ago average commissions on a sale were 5% (2.5% to listing agent and 2.5% to the buyer’s agent). My searches all indicate that this is still typical. Please provide proof if you think I’m wrong.

    • Real estate fees may be 6% but only for the first 100.000, then the fee drops to 3 or even 2 or 1 % for the remainder.

      In the future, please do not try and mislead the readers.

      • I don’t know what planet you’ve been buying and selling real estate on but a quick check of policy province by province (even though the only one that counts in this case is Ontario) confirms that governing realty associations frown on such discounting.

        In future when trying to mislead the readers … do your homework. :)

        • In FV’s case the dog has eaten her homework …permanently.

      • Tokyo Rose will now determine what constitutes misleading statements.

      • As I’ve said above, it would appear that you are the one doing the misleading. Please provide your source, as it does not match my own experience; what my real estate agent friend tells me; or what I can find using Google.

  23. Bottom line,the tax payer gets screwed again,enjoy!

    • Greg, you are right. We need this govt.gone! Now, should we go to the socialists to take over?

  24. I’ve noted elsewhere that the more interesting story is how CTV got this and whether they were fed it by the Conservatives. Clearly, it’s a smear campaign by the Conservatives. But I want to know just how willing a partner was CTV? To me it sounds like CTV was suckered in by the Conservatives. CTV broke the Duffy scandal and I bet they were all excited about another one, this time DND and involving the Liberals. But they were scammed and it was well done (at least in the short term) by the Conservatives. Long term, I think this is going to blow back on Nicholson and to a degree on CTV (didn’t do their research). More importantly, who is going to get spanked at CTV for going live with this without all the facts? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • I have had all of those thoughts and i thought I was the only one thinking this. So, needless to say I agree with you,

  25. Has anyone noticed just how fast the conservative machine – including its media shills – have gone silent on this? Toronto Sun? Not a peep. Nat Post? Ditto (except for day-old articles) not a peep. It would appear that every conservative from Harper on down has realized that the mud they threw at Lt. General Andrew Leslie (retired) has only raised him in public esteem – has made him familiar to millions of us who hadn’t a clue there is
    a former high-ranking general poised to bring a military education and expertise to the future Trudeau cabinet. Imagine – a Minister of Defense with actual skill and intelligence.

    That the Harper machine did this while making Minister of Defense Nicholson as well as such rabid conservatives as Greg Thomas of the self-proclaimed ‘Canadian Taxpayers Federation’ look absolute pathetic cretins is just icing on fudge brownies. Delightful.

    • THis was a trial balloon for the new attack strategy as outlined in that leaked power point memo. True, it did not go well. But trust me, they will regroup and try something new. It’s all they have.

      • I think this just shows that Harper made a bad choice (again) in getting Soudas back into the fold.

        I have no idea why he is in any way considered an asset . . . he is certainly adept at mudslinging but that is about it. It would appear that they believe they won the previous elections because of some key role played by Soudas and his ilk, but I would think the truth is closer to the fact that the opposition parties, especially the Liberals, were just not as well organized.

        It is becoming increasingly clear that that is all the CPC have going for them, and they are slowly coming to that realization.

        • Like many who consider themselves more clever than they truly are, the Conservative brain trust confuses markers with causality. The success of the dirty tricks campaign in 2011 was a marker of the level of disarray in the Liberal party.

  26. Let’s not forget the lawyer fees and month’s pay a soldier gets. I’m surprised the amount wasn’t higher. Sounds quite reasonable according to my math.

  27. This is completely disgusting! Harper motley crew should be utterly ashamed of themselves. If T.M joins in he is backing the wrong horse. This man served 35 years people… 35 YEARS!! A lifetime to most and that was in the service of this country possibly in defence or peacekeeping or what ever – and he had the fortitude to serve us all regardless of political stripes. But because he is now aligning himself to the Liberals he has now done something wrong!! Even though he is not the first or last to move and have this expense taken care of. If this were a conservative general and the Liberals (although I would hope had more class then this) attacked him I would say the same thing. Shame! Regardless of your politics if you serve your country with a clean record and put your life at risk for all our sakes -then your service and what you are awarded or are allowed because of said service should not be fair game! Can you imagine if this was the states and a congressman tried this nonsense! At least they have the sense to stay away from this trash. Anyway since he didn’t even know the final number it is moot. He didn’t send the invoice in for payment- it was taken care of by the DND as a standard service.
    This is a new low for Harper’s Hacks and smells of desperation. A classic attempt at a pivot -your own failure to keep the reigns of power on your own party faithful. It seems a weekly occurrence these days. Interesting it was your old friends at Mike Duffy/ Wallen stomping grounds-to break this scandalous story. What a joke! How is that little alignment working out for you so far?? Let the unravelling of the emperors clothes continue. Respect should go to the elderly who served PERIOD! I am so ready for the young and vital with fresh ideas to run our country. Sorry Harperites your well orchestrated stay on point/lack of candid discussion is just tired. Maybe you should all consider retirement in the oil sands! After all attacking a general with a service record like this seems like you may be sniffing fumes or maybe just loosing your marbles! Let the natural ruling party of this country return!

  28. Smear, smear, smear… I get so tired of the Conservative/ Reform. I will vote for any political party that does not engage in this nonsense. This is the government benefit.. shame on them for such a mismanaged program. Leave Mr. Leslie alone and listen to your own auditor general who questioned this program.

    • What party doesnt jump on a spending scandal?
      Dippers are practically leading the charge on this Liberal scandal, Liberal entitled to there entitlements.
      Bev Oda’ $15 orange juice was within the rules too. All the Senators were ‘following the rules’ too. Doesnt make it the right thing to do.

  29. I am a card-carrying Liberal, but I do have issues with the whole Leslie thing. The first issue I have is that the IRP directive clearly states that you have to move over 40 km to the new location – so that means that he got that requirement waived. We have a saying in the military – RHIB (Rank Has Its Benefits) – and this seems to be the case here. The second issue I have
    how he can ETHICALLY recommend that the government sack 3,500 public
    servants, an additional 3,500 Reg Force members, and cut Class B
    contracts in half, then charge $74,000 to move from one street
    to another? So many people lost their livelihoods based on his
    recommendation, that if I were in his shoes I would never have even
    thought about making that claim. Its ridiculous
    that 3 years ago he went in front of Parliament and said that its not
    because a job exists that it should be preserved – likewise, its not because an entitlement
    exists that it should be used.

    • I retract the first issue – apparently that requirement is waived for last move upon retirement. Cool beans.

  30. Gen Leslie bought his house for $400 k sold for over $ million.
    He moved 4 minutes away with proceeds of $600k and stuck taxpayers with the hefty real estate fee.
    The rule should be taxpayers pick up the fees if the house is sold at a ‘loss’ , to a maximum of 2% . Due to competition, many realtors charge a flat 2% now.

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