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: Dave | May 26, 2021 2:10:36 PM
When it's necessary for people in say, IBM, to travel then there are limits on expenses that those travelers responsibly respect. The public doesn't need to know since we choose or don't choose to buy that product. There's a lot of checks and balances in what makes a company profitable enough to survive.
However, politicians are not subject to market-force checks and balances but they are subject to the media thirst for a big enough story for todays show!
I would suggest that expense limitations give MPs the guidelines they need to be responsible and expenses are revealed only when those guidelines are exceeded. The public has the right to know excesses by our public servants but not practices or costs that fall within acceptable limits. I am still waiting for the media to want to research and reveal the dastardly public servant who falls way way below his cost allowances! Why isn't that newsworthy? Oh right, it's good news! Stupid me.
Posted by: Victoria | May 26, 2021 2:14:05 PM
The voters and the taxpayers have the right to know .The voters voted them in and the taxpayers
are paying their salaries.Al Capone got Audited
Posted by: Peter Marshall | May 26, 2021 2:18:17 PM
My local (New Westminster) MP, Fin Donnelly (NDP) came out supporting the refusal to allow Sheila Fraser access...He opined there are sufficient measures in place to protect the taxpayers from abuses. if such is so - and I feel it is not - then what harm in letting the very capable and competant Auditor General have a looksee? Shades of the Sponsorship scandal - abuse is there; why not in expense claims too then? Open the books, let the light of honest investigation show the truth.
Posted by: Ab Cairns | May 26, 2021 2:28:30 PM
Since these MP's work for me and all other Canadians, I demand to see all expenses, including meal tickets. This money belongs to the taxpayer. These MP's need to give themselves a shake or we will do it for them.
Posted by: Victoria | May 26, 2021 2:28:53 PM
There is a few other companies that shoud be audited as well.The long term care homes the
government gave money for staff to bath the seniors follow that paper trail
Posted by: trottingfeetir | May 26, 2021 2:43:14 PM
It is just about time we Canadians started to see the 'LIGHT' - everyone talks about how croocked American politicians are - look in your own back yard! We have been fleeced for too long and have had our heads in the sand. Its time we woke up and made our politicians accountable. I have worked all my life and each job was accountable to my company for my actions and the money I spent - because I was being paid a salary by those companies and expected to save the company money and be honest in my job. Its time we made the politicians accountable - would you or I be able to see something coming our way we didn't like so we changed the rules before anything could happen - maybe to us to make us responsible for our actions. - well that is what the Conservatives have been doing since they went in to power. The Liberals were no better so it is time we took over "the reins" for a while and let them know what we want - and is not what we have now!
Write your MPs and MLAs and let them know how you feel. It only takes a few minutes - RANT LIKE HELL - IT CANT HURT!
Posted by: Peter McCrory | May 26, 2021 2:53:16 PM
That should be a no brainer. Absolutely they should be audited. I work for a publicly traded company and we have very strict guidelines re expenses. Why should the government be different ? As many have said before, it is OUR MONEY they are spending. They should not feel 'entitled' as I am sure some do.
Nothing to hide - open the books & let the abusers be known. And let the non abusers be known as well.
Posted by: dibly | May 26, 2021 2:54:37 PM
All elected officials should have to publicly report their expenditures every year. Cause you know, and Im sure Im not the only one who believes this, is that even if they somehow do have to make their spending public they will hide behind the Access to Information Act. The act has time and again restricted canadians from learning about their governments actions all under the false disguise of prudence or national security. Also a little off topic but wouldnt it make sense to have a law where no person who wishes to become an elected official can have made more than a set amount of moeny at any point in their lives, an amount reflected on wat an average citizen would make with some variations. Ensuring that people with vested interests in cross border trading can alter our laws to their benefit, and the benefit of other countries(does the name Paul Martin ring a bell?)
Posted by: Balihar Dhillon | May 26, 2021 3:05:16 PM
Leaders of all political parties should ask their elected represented to come up clean and be accountable for their spending of public money. There should be a zero tolerance for this kind of arrogance. We as a good citizens of Canada should stand up and ask our leaders to legislate this .
If they are not listening, do not vote them in next time.
Posted by: MF | May 26, 2021 3:06:17 PM
We as Canadians have to show our own income and expenses every single year. All MP's that are getting paid by the rest of us (working people) should get the same treatment, after all we are all in the same country with the same law for everyone. If it is democracy, we all should follow it with the same principles.
Posted by: kerry ten eyck | May 26, 2021 3:21:55 PM
Well, I am a Reserve soldier (formerly Regular Force) deployed overseas supporting our troops coming back from Afghanistan. As a Canadian citizen, I am entitled to my opinion as long as it falls within certain military lines of thinking. I don't disrespect my superiors, subordinates or the elected official who is serving at the time. In order for me to come over here to my present deployment, I had to take paid holidays or leave without pay. I opted for the former as I would lose too much salary while over here. While deployed with the military or in my civilian job, I am accountable for all my expenses and time at or away from my job. I believe that any, any elected official should not consider themselves above the civilians that they represent or, as well, the troops who support this fine country. If there is nothing to hide, don't fret it, do what you said you would. Be accountable.
Posted by: michael | May 26, 2021 3:49:13 PM
I think that those MP's are our servants and do not have the right to refuse an audit conducted on behalf of the people. I believe that any resistance to such an audit may be seen by the people as a breach of the public trust. I do believe that that is a criminal offense. So how long, Canada, will you allow criminals to run OUR government? GET UP AND TAKE BACK WHAT IS YOURS. For the love of god and all life, take back what these criminals have stolen from our children.
Viator Ab Veritas
Posted by: Gary D | May 26, 2021 3:58:40 PM
Yes! We elect them so their expenses should be public. There should also be a cap on their spending. I would love to spend money and not have to worry about the bills but someone has to pay them, and that someone in this case is the taxpayer. It's time we put a leash on our elected representatives and pull them away from the public trough.
Posted by: John | May 26, 2021 4:02:37 PM
I am confused and concerned when the answer to a simple and legitimate question is stalled and not just answered with a yes. In my mind there is obviously some concern by the MPs that they may be "found out" and called to answer for their spending.
As tax paying Canadians we have every RIGHT to know what politicians do with OUR money and their response so far is making me very very suspicious. Of course my opinion may be tainted already as, in my mind, the only time I count to them is at election time anyway.
Posted by: John Gentile | May 26, 2021 4:45:22 PM
You better believe their expense account should be open to the public. It is our money they are spending not theirs. I had to account for my expenses when I was selling and I see no reason why they should to. If that one politian feels his family should fly with him to Ottawa then let him pay out of his pocket. He knew when he choseto run for politics he would be away from his family otherwise step down.
Posted by: Wyatt | May 26, 2021 5:40:22 PM
I am curious why the committee is against Fraser conducting a performance audit of the system that all these MPs claim is so great. The audit simply reinforces to the Canadian people, the ones that get to PAY for the salaries and expenses of these elected officials, that the system is actually performing as it should. Anyone can claim to have the best system in the world, that all the regulations and rules are in place, and say that they are followed. However, until that is proven by a independent (or in this case quasi-independent) review or audit all those claims are meaningless. Personally, us Canadians have heard the 'you can trust us' line from our government far too often for it to hold any merit.
IF our elected officials actually beleive in accountability, and have full confidence in their systems, why are they so afraid of a mere audit to show the citizens of this country that things do work.
Posted by: Warren | May 26, 2021 5:44:27 PM
MP's are making the same arguement that then premier Brian Tobin made when access to MLA's expenses by the Auditor General was denied. When he was given access to the MLA's expenses after many years, a number were convicted and jailed for fraud. Are we expected to believe an audit of MP's expenses would have a different outcome?
Posted by: Allan McDonald | May 26, 2021 5:49:02 PM
Every dollar of public funds should be open for audit and accountability.
Including Police services and the huge taxpayers dollars that are used to pay for incompetence by the public/government held positions. Expecially when they use tax dollars to defend themselves and walk away without any liability.
Posted by: Steph | May 26, 2021 5:57:15 PM
If the MP's are using their expenses as they're meant to be used then this shouldn't even be an issue. The fact that they are unwilling to share already proves there's a problem. As a tax paying people, we are too forgiving and too detached from what happens in our government. This is just one of so many issues that will be at the water cooler for weeks only to disappear and be forgotten about once the next scandal starts brewing. No one is satisfied with our government and yet voter apathy is at an all time high. When are people going to stand up and take notice that the tax payers lost control of the Canadian government a long time ago? So many of the rules and laws and social programs of this country need complete overhauls, but who can find the money when it's being spent on fat expense accounts, ridiculous pensions and who knows what else. The only people that govern this government IS the government.
Posted by: luckylucy905 | May 26, 2021 5:57:40 PM
All politicians should have their expenses audited annually. Every time you turn around in this country we are getting nailed with new taxes. Instead of cutting back their expenses and perks, they'd rather increase the taxes. Are we getting good value for our money??? I think not!... Open the books Mr/MS Politician!, the citizens of this country want to know how your spending their money. The people who voted you into office want to know where is their money going.