MLAs' expenses to be made public, says B.C. finance minister
Mike de Jong says itemized expense records and receipts should be accessible to the public
B.C. taxpayers are going to have access to a lot more information about how their MLAs are spending their money, according to Finance Minister Mike de Jong.
An all-party committee of the Legislature is looking at options for making the precise details of MLAs' expense accounts public.
De Jong says what is needed is a system that lets the public see itemized expenses, including receipts.
"Alberta, the City of Toronto does it. In circumstances where politicians are receiving reimbursement for certain receipted items, the idea is the public should have access to those receipts."
The move has long been called for by critics like Jordan Bateman, the B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation.
"Right now we get quarterly and sometimes monthly reports from certain MLAs, basically with lump sum figures. So you'll see how much they spent on airfare, on hotels things like that but we don't get any context for it," says Bateman.
Also on the table is another report into the perks given to MLAs, like housing allowances, although there's no word on whether changes to those benefits are planned.
Concerns about the transparency of MLA expense claims were raised by B.C.'s Auditor General, who said the all-party Legislative Management Committee was not keeping any useful financial statements or maintaining even the most basic accounting records.
Other concerns have included questions about MLA travel expenses in recent months.
With files from Stephen Smart