NDP avoids questions on satellite office spending, $2.75M owed
Published Wednesday, February 4, 2015 6:08PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 4, 2015 8:41PM EST
NDP MPs are dodging media questions after the Board of Internal Economy announced they will have to repay a total of $2.75 million used to staff the party’s satellite offices.
When reporters tried to ask NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair Wednesday about the board’s decision, he dismissed them by saying, “You have a great morning” and “Good to see ya.”
Other MPs refused to stop for reporters on Parliament Hill or ignored them altogether.
Irene Mathyssen, an Ontario MP who is not among the 68 New Democrats being asked to repay money, called the multi-party Board of Internal Economy a “kangaroo court.”
After ruling last year that the NDP inappropriately spent taxpayer dollars when it used its parliamentary budget to pay staffers for partisan work in the party’s Montreal and Quebec City satellite offices, the BOIE is now asking MPs to personally make repayments.
Some, including former Toronto MP Olivia Chow, are on the hook for around $1,000, while others will get six-figure bills.
Montreal MPs Alexandre Boulerice and Isabelle Morin, for example, will be asked to pay back $120,000 and $170,000, respectively.
The NDP leadership team, which includes Mulcair and party whip Nycole Turmel, owes more than $600,000.
The party has denied any wrongdoing and says it will fight the repayment orders in federal court.
But the Conservatives say the New Democrats have been caught “red-handed” and must pay back the money.
“They were operating offices in other cities that they were not entitled to operate,” Employment Minister Jason Kenney told reporters Wednesday. “The rule is black and white.”
Although other issues dominated question period Wednesday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper took an opportunity to take a shot at Mulcair over satellite office spending.
As Mulcair questioned him about new anti-terror legislation and oversight of Canada’s spy agency, Harper replied that the NDP leader has opposed “every single security measure” the government put forward.
“That’s not responsible. That’s the kind of approach we expect from a party that takes public funds and uses them for party offices,” Harper said.
With a report from CTV’s Deputy Ottawa Bureau Chief Laurie Graham