Liberals, Tories agree: MP expenses aren’t for the public to see
After months of stories about what the public should and shouldn’t know, we were surprised to come across a small item in the Toronto Sun about how the Liberal and Conservative parties are committed to making sure that MPs’ expenses—and everything else in the budget for Parliament—stays in a black box.
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff both seem to agree: There is no need to make MPs’ expenses public.
In separate interviews on Sunday, both politicians were asked whether the $500-million budget for the House of Commons and the Senate, that includes MPs’ and senators’ expenses, should be reviewed by the auditor general.
Not the biggest matter in the world this week, but a half-billion dollars being spent without the withering scrutiny of Sheila Fraser (a.k.a. the Woman Who Brought Down Paul Martin) sounds like a recipe for a scandal.
Our party leaders seem to have learned well the lessons of the British Parliament, which spent most of last year embroiled in a spending scandal when MPs’ and Lords’ expenses were made public after years of legal challenges, leading to some pretty shocking and hilarious revelations. Wikipedia, as always, has a pretty extensive list, but the gold medal in absurdity goes to (and we’re not making this up) the Third Viscount Hailsham, Douglas Martin Hogg, for allegedly claiming more than £2,000 to have his moat cleaned.
Of course, this being Canada, if the expenses are ever made public, it’s a sure bet that none of the claims will be nearly as interesting.
• No need to make MPs’ expenses public: Iggy [Toronto Sun]
• United Kingdom Parliamentary expenses scandal [Wikipedia]
One thought on “Liberals, Tories agree: MP expenses aren’t for the public to see”
I would strongly suggest that the taxpaying citizen voters and their Press continue to drag the expenses claims of their politicians into the bright light of public scrutiny.
We, in the UK, were repeatedly told by the MPs in what has become known as ‘The Fraudsters’ Parliament’ that there was no need for such scrutiny of the ‘honourable members’.
This august body, then tried by underhand means, to exclude themselves from the UK Freedom of Information laws to hide the fraudulent claims of upto 250 MPs.
As a UK taxpaying citizen, I believe that the ‘small fish’ have been charged under the UK Theft Act because the full deployment of The Fraud Act would have ensnared a much larger number of those MPs who have misappropriated taxpayers’ monies.
I would suggest that the more your MPs try to hide their ‘financial arrangements’, the more they have to hide!
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