“Here here!” for more transparency on MPs’ spending

20May10

Canadians want more transparency from the House of Commons.

A recent poll showed 88 per cent of Canadians questioned would like to see MP’s books opened to the public.

And why not? Abuses of parliamentary expense accounts have been going on since the dawn of Confederation itself.

But it’s a new era we live in. Canadians are more restless and intolerant of our leaders’ pork-barreling than at any time in this country’s history.

And we have good reason to question them. According to the Winnipeg Free Press, prior to leaving for summer recess, Parliament killed a report by Auditor-General Sheila Fraser that brought some startling figures to light. It cost $503.5 million to run the House of Commons in 2009. MPs expenses totaled $133 million.

$133 million dollars in expenses? Divide that by the current 307 sitting MPs and you get a very unflattering $433,224.76 per member.

So, hats off to both Sheila Fraser and the poll respondents. Canadians deserve to know how much our MPs are spending and what they are spending it on.

It’s a new era in Canadian politics. The abuses of privilege that have characterized our system for over 140 years are not so easily tolerated anymore.

Now if only Michael Ignatieff and Jack Layton could make some use of these figures.

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