We cannot be trusted with this information - Macleans.ca

We cannot be trusted with this information

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Conservative Gerald Keddy explains why details of MP expenses shouldn’t be made public.

South Shore-St. Margarets MP Gerald Keddy, a Conservative, points out that federal MPs need to follow much tougher rules than MLAs did, with strict oversight by officials who review their spending, so he sees no reason to make it public. “No,” he said. “No way. No way. All we’re doing is opening it up, giving the media an opportunity to find fault. What we have is an overall budget. We are absolutely 100 per cent responsible for that budget. If we go over that budget, we pay out of our own pocket, and we have very, very good scrutiny.”

On the one hand, he’s absolutely correct. The full publication of MP expenses would inevitably result in various outlets and individuals placing unreasonable significance on the expensing of, say, a pack of gum, or some cabinet minister’s decision to dine at some establishment more rarefied than Kelsey’s.

On the other hand, the potential for embarrassment and the frequent tawdriness of the Parliamentary press gallery are likely not legally recognized excuses for public officials to avoid accountability and transparency.