Expensing alcohol should not be banned, says city councillor

A policy banning city councillors from expensing alcohol is not necessary, says one councillor.

Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart reportedly called for ban after council expenses were made public

Coun. Ray Jones says Calgary city councillors just need to use common sense when it comes to expensing alcohol during meetings. (CBC)

A policy banning city councillors from expensing alcohol is not necessary, says Ward 5 Coun. Ray Jones.

He made the statement after Ward 13 Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart reportedly called for an end to the practice after the city released councillor expenses for the first half of the year. 

Among the expense was a bottle of wine on one councillor's restaurant tab.

"Nobody's abusing anything and the way this is sounding — from what Coun. Colley-Urquhart is saying — is that things are running rampant and people are getting drunk and that isn't happening," Jones said. "People are having the odd drink with a meal."

Jones says he sometimes buys drinks for volunteers at a community cleanup in his ward and doesn't want that to end.

He says there is no need for a ban as long as people use common sense.

'Alcohol is not an evil thing'

Jones isn't the only one opposed to the proposal.

The Canadian Taxpayers' Federation also says a policy is not needed so long as people are reasonable with what they are expensing and why.

"I agree with Diane on a lot of things but not on this one. Having a beer with a legitimate business dinner is often the cost of doing business," said Derek Fildebrandt, the Alberta director of the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation. 

"Alcohol is not an evil thing and if Mayor Nenshi was meeting with the mayor of Vancouver and they didn't have a glass of wine over it, frankly they would probably think we're being a little cheap."

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