Information wants to be free

by Aaron Wherry

Liberals Siobhan Coady and Martha Hall Findlay and New Democrat Peter Stoffer say the auditor general should be invited to review MP expenses—joining Gilles Duceppe and the aforementioned Michelle Simson on that side of the debate.

Independent Andre Arthur, harbouring some general mistrust of accountants, says all details should simply be made public.




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Information wants to be free

  1. Ignatieff should get in front of the crowd on this, like he should on electoral reform. Both are coming, look like you're leading the charge.

    • Agree. Unfortunately, there are probably neanderthals in his caucus who have a lot to hide.

    • Could other people thumb up WDM on this? I only have the one vote and I'd like to thumb way up.

      • I agree with what WDM wrote.
        But I'm afraid that Mr Ignatieff has been too busy muddying his feet with things like the Michaelle Jean continuance press conference, the failed wording of the Maternal health challenge and other little matters of poorly thought out tunnel vision to take the lead on this.
        I cannot support the Conservatives under Stephen Harper, but Mr Ignatieff is doing little to persuade me that he offers much of a choice beyond anyone but Harper

  2. I think we forgot the Freddie Mercury tag.

    Or, am I the only one singing Queen right now?

    • …am I the only one singing Queen right now?

      You were until you put it in my head. Thanks for that.

      (The odd thing is, I keep hearing "I Want It All" instead. Maybe because I was just reading a bit on the Global Vision Infomercial.)

    • (Whoops. If an admin can close the link tag, that would be appreciated.)

      • ID bugged out on a href tags sometime yesterday; happened to me too.

  3. I'm with Arthur. It would be cheaper, more efficient, and more effective. It would even be more appropriate: it's our money, not the Auditor General's.

    • I'd also prefer to just make the expenses public. But they should still be audited periodically so that we know that what they are claiming is accurate.

      • Yeah, I vote for just public, too. I mean, I have no problem with a regular audit (one that ensures the expenses were spent on what they said the expenses were spent on) but I'm not sure that's the kind of audit the AG was thinking about.

        • Without 3rd party oversight wouldn't we then have to rely on the MP not to hide any expenses they don't want to make public? Not good enough.

          • Oh. Right. Good point. See, right here is why I would never make it as a bookkeeping fraudster. Which I guess pleases my bosses and my clients, since I am a bookkeeper.

            I just can't figure out how you can change the reports and still come up with the same amount the cheque was written for. Of course, if you dredge a moat and write "Postage" on the line I can figure that out, but wouldn't the amount for postage be backed up with receipts? Yes, putting the line items on the website wouldn't show the receipts so even at that your point is valid.

  4. A fair conclusion to be drawn from this "debate" is that there are two groups – those that have nothing to hide are supportive of the AG's audit. And those that do are no doubt against it.

    So, have an open vote in parliament. Those that oppose get their expenses audited, and those that support it, don't.

  5. Open your books, MPs!

  6. t's mid-May and the fiscal year 2009-2010 ended a month-and-a-half ago, but we won't get to see the report on how MPs spent our tax dollars until 6-8 months after March 31st. Here is a list of the dates on which MP expense reports have been made public:

    Tuesday, November 4, 2003 (218 days after March 31)
    Thursday, October 21, 2004 (204 days after March 31)
    Thursday, September 29, 2005 (182 days after March 31)
    Thursday, September 28, 2006 (181 days after March 31)
    Wednesday, October 17, 2007 (200 days after March 31)
    Wednesday, December 3, 2008 (247 days after March 31)
    Wednesday, November 4, 2009 (218 days after March 31)

    Yet if you look at the reports you will see the statement 'PREPARED MAY 200…' on the cover page of each report, with the exception of the 2008-2009 report.

    Why are MPs making the public wait until the fall to see reports that are prepared in the spring?

    Transparency delayed is transparency denied.

  7. Martha Hall Findlay sounds like good leadership material

  8. I am more than a little disappointed not to see a single Conservative MP calling for this as well. Or has there been one and I've just missed it?

    Come on. You're supposed to be the accountability party. Open the freaking books.

    • Regardless of their stripes, they are all guarding the trough

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