The RCMP has spent almost a million dollars in the past six years renting empty office space at its Nova Scotia headquarters, according to a local MP.
Bill Casey, MP for Cumberland-Colchester, said the vacant space covers three suites on the first floor and one on the third floor, with more than 100 desks sitting empty.
But the cost to taxpayers could rocket even higher, according to Casey, with the RCMP intending to rent the building for 10 years more, which could cost another $1.5 million.
“It says it projects to spend that same money for ten more years to rent that vacant space; this is their report,” Casey told CTV News Atlantic, referring to documents he obtained through an access to information request.
Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau told CTV News the building may not be empty much longer.
“What I understand is the facility is going to be fully occupied by next year,” Morneau said.
“Some of these things take some time, but I do think that what he brings up, again, is that we need to be constantly diligent that we are spending the precious dollars that Canadians entrust us with in a way that makes sense.”
The new tenants could be RCMP emergency dispatch officers, relocated from their current office in Truro.
“When it comes to taxpayer-funded agencies such as the RCMP, there has to be that extra level of scrutiny to look at why have you wasted almost a million dollars on space that you just aren't using,” said Paige MacPherson of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
The RCMP did not respond to CTV News Atlantic’s requests for comment.