NDP staffers said to be working in Ottawa were actually in Quebec offices: documents
Published Monday, May 12, 2014 10:10PM EDT
Nine new NDP hires approved by the House of Commons to do constituency work in Ottawa were actually placed in the party’s Montreal and Quebec City offices, documents obtained by CTV News show.
Questions about those staffers, whose salaries are paid by taxpayers, were raised as early as 2011, when employment forms indicated they lived near Montreal.
When asked where the new employees would be working, the deputy chief of staff for the NDP leader at the time said “in Ottawa.”
Seven NDP MPs, including Guy Caron, even signed forms saying the staffers would work in Ottawa.
But the clerk of the House of Commons, Audrey O’Brien, said there was no indication the staffers “would be located in Montreal or that their work world be carried out in co-location with a political party's office.”
The NDP maintains it did nothing wrong.
NDP MP Peter Julian said the party stayed in contact with the House administration and was “obviously following the rules.”
“We had all the employment letters that indicated folks were working in Montreal,” he said. “Emails indicate that as well, cellphone numbers are for Montreal area codes as well.”
But the Conservatives say the NDP must pay back the money that was “improperly” spent on satellite offices in Quebec.
“The fact is, they spent House resources improperly and they need to pay it back,” said Conservative MP Randy Hoback. “It’s reported they spent some $3-million in House resources improperly.”
The Liberals also want to see the money paid back.
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair is scheduled to appear before a House procedure committee on Thursday, when the issue will be discussed.
Mulcair has said that the party’s satellite offices are designed to help MPs with constituent outreach and were approved by the Commons administration.
But critics questioned why the NDP was preparing to open a satellite office in Saskatchewan, where the party has no MPs.
Both the Conservatives and Liberals have complained about the NDP satellite offices, prompting the Board of Internal Economy to investigate.