Time to make MP expenses public: Canadian Taxpayers Federation
Almost daily it seems someone is squawking about how elected officials squander taxpayers’ hard-earned money.
Witness the scandal in the UK where MP Eric Illsley is the latest politician to be charged in an expense-padding scheme. Illsley is alleged to have falsely claimed more than £20,000 in expenses on his second home in London.
Here at home, social media crusades have sprung up demanding the Board of Internal Economy (nine MPs from the four major parties) which oversees parliamentary spending, allow the public to review House of Commons expense accounts.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation's Facebook page, for instance, is the most popular gathering place where thousands have signed a petition urging Auditor General Sheila Fraser to throw open MPs’ books – something she’s been trying to do for over a year now.
"I don't think MPs have anything to fear,” Fraser told CBC recently. “They've certainly indicated that they have strong systems and practices in place. If that's the case, I would be very happy to report that."
After hearing from constituents in their ridings over the past few days, there seems to be a greater interest among some members to at least have further discussions with Fraser about just what areas she sees as being at issue.
That should please more than a few voters. A recent survey suggests that 88% of Canadians think detailed expense accounts of elected officials should be open for deeper scrutiny.
Sound off : If federal politicians have nothing to hide, do you think they should submit to an audit of their expenses?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
Posted by: Wray Burrows | May 26, 2021 9:46:33 AM
Absolutely, MPs expense accounts should be made public! After all, whose money are they spending?
Posted by: Lisa | May 26, 2021 9:53:34 AM
I'll take it one step further Wray. Anyone at all that is hired by our tax dollars should have their accounting books made public. That means not only their expenses, but their salaries too. That would make them accountable and would slow down all the people taking the position for the $$$.
Posted by: ivan | May 26, 2021 10:10:00 AM
come on why whould anyone expect a mp to do the right thing. its time to clean house make your mp work don t vote him in again have each mp show how they vote on matters so we can see if we want to vote for them
Posted by: alison | May 26, 2021 10:56:11 AM
totally!! because i'm taking money out of my pockets to provide these people with salaries and other "related" expenses, i would like to KNOW that my money is being spent on what it is SUPPOSED to be spent on! most salaries are made known to the public, it's a matter of taking a look at the appropriate pages. msn actually had it listed not too long ago... but it's the expenses that worry me seeing as a lot of these expenses end up costing us almost double these salaries! i'd like to add, as well, that i'm 100% okay with over paying a political figure, IF he can prove that he's worthy of the pay. but again, it's that expense over-ride that i'm tired of.
Posted by: Tim Woffenden | May 26, 2021 10:56:44 AM
As far as I recall they are ELECTED officials and work for us (Joe Public). We pay their wages. They have no right to refuse us reviewing their expense patterns and we will decide if they are in line what the public is willing to accept as reasonable.
This elitist crap has been going on for too long. Taxes keep going up and they the elected ones take for granted that we will roll over everytime they want a raise. They are not above reproach.
We should fire the lot of them and start over with people who have no predefined agenda.
Posted by: camoi maa | May 26, 2021 11:13:57 AM
sign me up,,,I really don't like the arrogance they present when asked about their freewheeling expense accounts,,,
Posted by: Vic from Ontario | May 26, 2021 11:20:05 AM
MPs should definately submit to an audit. Their refusal validates voters' apathy and the terrible reputation MPs have. Maybe it's time for voters to show their disapproval by voting for any but the four major parties who apparently support refusing to have an audit. We elected them and can remove them in the next election.
Posted by: Guy | May 26, 2021 11:20:14 AM
I agree the current system should be made public to ensure accountability. Whenever someone travels, you are entitled to a reasonable expense such as meals. The problem arises when you decide that your dinner that night should be a steak and a bottle of wine which comes to $100. Most Canadians would think that is not considered reasonable. But what if this same person had McDonald's the past few dinners and splurged on a good meal on the 3rd night. The average dinner over the 3 days is considered reasonable. They would then be subjected on what they eat every meal.
I suggest they follow the same system from many other corporate companies where they are allocated a Per Diem each day. They would be entitled to let's say - $60 per day for food. That would cover $10 for Breakfast, $15 lunch and $35 for Dinner. This amount would more than cover a reasonable cost and we would not need to see receipts. If they skip a meal, they pocket the money. It would also alleviate having to review how each MP personally decide where they spend their food money or how they eat.
The biggest culprits are Managers who decide to treat their office workers to a dinner where excess is the norm. Lots of Appetizers, expensive Steak & Seafood, dessert and lots of wine makes the dinner much more costly than normal. This happens everywhere. This has to stop. Simple rules like not allowing Dry Cleaning, in-room movies...... would cut back expenses. Other expenses such as Flights back to their riding and housing allowance is pretty well established. No real cheating can be done. I have managed to set these simple guidelines with my staff in the real world so the government can do the same. Oh yeah, the rules are based on Government Auditors anyways.
Posted by: shar | May 26, 2021 11:25:08 AM
For certain!! It is the common peoples' (yours and mine) money that pays their way, so why should we not know where the money is going? They just vote themselves a raise whenever they feel the need and take, take, take from the taxpayer more and more. They get to live on high salaries and fat expense accounts on our dollars while a lot of us just scrape by in our daily lives. It is only fair that they should be accountable for where our money is being spent by them.
Posted by: RL | May 26, 2021 11:40:39 AM
Elected officials need the right to spend a certain amount without the fear of scrutiny. The same goes for a salesman on the road. If you try to over manage these individuals or take away their autonomy you risk making them ineffective. At that point you are not getting your value out of them.
There need to be limits and a sense of appropriateness, these need to be detailed and pre-agreed. When these are breached the issue then becomes personal and an adjustment to a salary or paycheque is warranted. If the grey area is removed from the issue of spending public money, we all win.
Posted by: Vina Saunders | May 26, 2021 11:41:11 AM
ANYONE USING TAXPAYERS MONEY MUST BE ACCOUNTABLE, OR BE PUT OUT
Posted by: Pat D. | May 26, 2021 11:59:19 AM
If they have nothing to hide, they should have no problem -- if they do have something to hide, it's time we heard about it!!
Posted by: John McCollum | May 26, 2021 12:03:13 PM
Is this really going to matter? don't get me wrong, I agree with the transparencies and accountability for every member of parliament. without going into past incidents which caused the Canadian tax payers millions of dollars I'm sorry, I meant to say billions of dollars like the gun registry, the sponsorship scandal forgiven loans etc. I'm dygressing here I know but these things come to light and what happens? It's news today and gone tomorrow like the people involved. The only differenc is they just move themselves around into other positions with our Government. Lets not forget about their unbelieveable pensions which aren't affected by the economy like yours and mine. I'd love to work for eight to twelve years and retire on a full pension. I'm just saying, while the average joe working the night shift, for the woman working two jobs just to support her family and the high rate of umemployment, lets quit giving ourselves raises, quit raising taxes and quit making more seats in the house for your pals. Canadians can take only so much. My father once told me as a young man which I will share with you. "Don't spit too high son"
Posted by: Theresa M | May 26, 2021 12:10:22 PM
Well as a person who previously worked for an MP I can tell you that the books should be opened. Our office was actually run well below the budget, but that was a rarity. Most offices spent, spent, spent, as did there bosses.
Posted by: Ken | May 26, 2021 12:25:50 PM
All this controversy about MP's being reluctant to reveal their expenses if proof that we need a change to our Constitution that gives us, WE THE PEOPLE, the power to recall these no-account clowns and put them out of their job! Tow the line! Do as you are told by your constituents! You know, your constituents, the people who are your boss! And be held fully accountable for your actions! Step out of line, don't vote the way your constituents want you to vote, or hide anything, you are out! In fact, if an MP, MPP, or local Municaple representative is recalled, they should suffer a severe penalty to send the message that any future screw-ups by any elected representative with be punished by WE THE PEOPLE!
Posted by: Mark | May 26, 2021 12:44:05 PM
Yes I do, and also I believe it should be public record, all the time. We pay their salaries. So, doesn`t that make us the boss? That`s how it works in any other business. Or, maybe we should all go on welfare, so that the government can have a taste of poverty. I don`t think that all politicians are crooks, but I don`t doubt for one second that atleast 50% of them are.
Posted by: Sampaguita | May 26, 2021 1:22:35 PM
Definitely! MP's expenses should be audited. We, the taxpayers, should know where our money is being spent on. There is the TENDENCY for anyone to ABUSE THE SYSTEM if accountability is not in place. There are CHECKS and BALANCES for other ministries in the government. There is no reason why MP's are not obliged to divulge their expenses, if they have nothing to hide.
Posted by: Marg | May 26, 2021 1:31:15 PM
Why can't we simply insist that any one MP or MPP's monthly expenses be no more than say $1500 00 max? Any other expenses that they deem necessary can come out of their own pockets. That would cut down on overspending. Necessary trips would have a preset limit also.
Posted by: r bryan | May 26, 2021 1:35:50 PM
Without a doubt their expenses should be public.........it's public money he or she is earning and spending.
The part that really, really bothers me is the guy from south surrey with the biggest expenses.
He sees absolutely nothing wrong with flying his wife and kids back and forth, to and from Ottawa.........how arrogant is this guy!!!!!
REALITY CHECK>>>>>>> what other jobs would pay for your wife and kids to come see you at work? I know mine sure wouldn't!
Clip all their wings and give them a slap back to the real world!!!!
Oh i forgot.............i'm talking about arrogant politicians!
Posted by: Rasesh | May 26, 2021 1:36:33 PM
MPS should have ehical courage to come out and give all their expenses for audit.If you have not done wrong why fear.We as citizen stand together on the issue and make them responsible.It was so surprising that not a single MP have come in favour ,meaning all are not clear.It is shameful we send them in house to represent.