By Gregory Thomas, CTF. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is calling on the Harper government to take a leadership role on accountability and open the books on the expense accounts of politicians, in light of the latest allegations in the Senate spending/contract scandal.
“Canadians have waited too long for Senators and MPs to come clean about their own contracts and employment arrangements – friends, girlfriends, political operators all find their way onto the Parliamentary payroll, with no oversight from the Auditor General, no disclosure under the Access to Information Act, and in some cases, apparently little-to-no-work done,” said CTF Federal Director Gregory Thomas.
The CTF noted that all Government of Canada contracts over $10,000 are listed on department websites, but that the Parliament, MPs and Senators are excluded from this requirement.
“This is yet another example of one set of rules for politicians and another set of rules for everyone else,” continued Thomas.
The CTF is renewing its call for an Accountability Act 2.0, which would build on the accountability reforms implemented by the Conservatives in 2006. Among the needed reforms are mandatory online reporting of office, travel and hospitality expenses for all politicians, random audits of MPs and Senators by the Auditor-General, applying the Access to Information (ATI) Act to MPs and Senators, scrapping pension entitlements for those convicted of stealing from taxpayers and the ability to recall parliamentarians.
MPs spent over $67 million on employees and contractors in the 2012-13 fiscal year.
“It’s insulting to taxpayers that they have to hear of this sordid affair through an RCMP investigation. If politicians had to post expenses online and were subject to ATI laws, anyone who had broken the law would already be behind bars, where they belong,” said Thomas.
Equally disturbing is that if Senator Mike Duffy or any other politician is ultimately convicted of a crime, they would still hang on to their gold-plated MP pension, just like convicted fraudster and former Senator Raymond Lavigne.
“Thousands of Canadians have lost their all or part of their pensions through no fault of their own when the companies they work for went out of business. And most Canadians have no workplace pension at all,” continued Thomas. “Yet, they are still forced to fund the lavish pensions of convicted politicians who keep their snouts at the trough, even from behind bars.”
Gregory Thomas is the CTF Federal Director.
He can be reached at 1-800-265-0442