'I can assure you nobody is getting their moat paid for' - Macleans.ca

‘I can assure you nobody is getting their moat paid for’


Stephen Maher asks and both Michael Ignatieff and Gilles Duceppe say they’re open to allowing Sheila Fraser to audit MP expenses. Peter Stoffer says he’ll release details of his expenses, but then says he can’t.

Last week, Stoffer, the NDP MP for Sackville-Eastern Shore, said he believes Fraser should be allowed to examine Parliament’s books and promised to check to see if he could reveal at least the details of his own expenses. On Monday, he said he checked with Davies and was forbidden from doing so, since the board of internal economy handles all such questions.

Whatever the authority of the Board, it hasn’t prevented Liberal backbencher Michelle Simson from publishing a breakdown of her expenses.


‘I can assure you nobody is getting their moat paid for’

  1. I see an easy solution here: Board of Internal Economy to Sheila Fraser: "yeah, sure, that's one less thing that we have to worry about."

  2. Good for Ms. Simson. May she set an example for all.

    • IIRC, she's been publishing her books since before it was cool, too.

  3. I'd like to see Sheila Fraser's expenses. Fairwell junkets around the world are hardly "value for money".

    • Who audits the auditors? Coastguard?

      • Other auditors.

        • Except Auditor General decides what the other auditors get to audit. I have always been impressed by all the gadgets people from the AG's office get. Those shiny trinkets they got from Henry Birks a couple of years ago were also tax payers money well spent.

    • Richard's comment above proves that it is now too late to stop this. Everyone's petty cash drawers are about to be minutely inspected in the Coming Grand Inquisition. Coverage will be colourful, Canadians will be aghast, someone will have invoiced for 2 bananas, they will feel worse betrayed than ever, their hitherto not-undying support for democracy will erode even further, as will their belief that their role in this drama is limited to personifying innocence violated.

      Looking back, I think once UK MPs allowed Westminster to be declared a financial crime scene, it was inevitable it would happen here. A Canadian Parliamentary consensus now might delay it a bit, but it will happen, eventually. It's already happened in Nova Scotia and may have caused considerable mayhem in the public sector. It's a great boost for people hostile to social initiatives, programs, etc. that are otherwise supported by a vast majority of Canadians.

      Anyway, looks like we are sentenced to an indeterminate period of MP expense account hysteria. I'm not sure what everyone should do to get ready.

      • Continue to do what they always have: tune out until they hear the word "billion" then whine and complain that governments are inefficient.

  4. We need more MPs who are willing to tell their leaders to go fly a kite, and who will then post their expenses online themselves.

    Dare your party leaders and the Board of Internal Economy to try to punish you for releasing to the public how you spent our money. Don't let any of the party leaders hide behind the Board of Internal Economy and act as though their hands are tied.

    Call me overly skeptical, but I'll believe the assurances that no one's having their moat paid for when you show me a list of just what they ARE having paid for. The NDP and the Tories had better move swiftly towards where the Liberals and the Bloc seem to be, imho, and the Liberals and the Bloc had better not be posturing (only to later hide behind the BIE). Telling the public that there's nothing to worry about and that their money is being well spent, while simultaneously denying the public access to the evidence that would prove that their money is being well spent just can't last.

    Let the sunshine in.

    • I'm all for MP's revealing their expenses fully. However, where I have problem is auditors (number crunchers) trying to determine whether the taxpayer got value for the money spent. We are asking for a bureaucratic nightmare with little to show for it. As I said the other day if Harper spends money on going to Copenhagen and nothing concrete comes from the meeting does the auditor then say that there was no value for money. That can be applied to every MP's expenses. So while its great to see the expenses and most of us would question the need having number crunchers trying to determine value for money will cause most of us to dig out our eyeballs. Just reporting expenses does nothing. There are many other expenditures which amount to greater costs to the taxpayers than MPs expenses. Lets focus on those that will have a meaningful impact on government expenditures.

      • You wrote: There are many other expenditures which amount to greater costs to the taxpayers than MPs expenses. Lets focus on those that will have a meaningful impact on government expenditures.

        I feat that line of reasoning won't even slow the oncoming train, let alone stop it.

  5. Just reporting expenses does nothing.

    I definitely take your larger point, and it's a good one, however, "just reporting expenses" does do a bit more than nothing. For example, it lets us know when an MLA in Nova Scotia expenses a 42 inch T.V. (plus installation) or when a UK MP expenses the draining of his castle's moat.

    It may not be world-changing, but it sure ain't nothing. Stopping someone from misusing their taxpayer funded expense allowance may not have a measurable impact on government expenditures, but I still want to make certain no one's getting a big screen T.V. installed in their living room on my dime.

    • First of all I would not expect you would ever get the kind of detail that would expose the 42 inch TV. However, if the TV was used for an MPs office what could you say about it. I know perhaps just the knowledge that their expenses are being scrutinized may cause MPs to be more cautious but after a while I don't think so.
      I go to my point we are a very petty society when we focus on plane flights or lunches. Those are easy pickings. There are much bigger fish to fry and we need to focus on much more serious issues. We need to start reducing the size of government. Lets get rid of these quasi government agencies. Lets get rid of corporate welfare. Lets stop picking winners and losers in the economy. We could save billions of dollars if we focus on the big stuff.

      • When nobody cares about the little stuff, more and more people lose interest in the big stuff, too.