Premier supports bill to make all MLA expenses public
Comments come in wake of review of Tory MLA Greg Davis's expense claims
Premier David Alward is promising to throw his support behind a Liberal Opposition bill that would require all New Brunswick MLAs to publicly post their expense claims.
"I would hope that we would see it completed," Alward said on Wednesday.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that Davis, who represents Campbellton-Restigouche Centre, failed to pay the rent on his constituency office, despite claiming the maximum amount of $40,000 a year for expenses.
A bailiff's notice posted on his office door stated he owed $6,665 in rent, dating back more than six months.
A report on Davis's expense claims was expected on Tuesday, but has been delayed by at least a week after the legislative clerk's office received new details on Monday.
The nature of the information is unclear.
Bill Fraser, Liberal MLA for Miramichi-Bay du Vin, says it's a situation that could have been avoided.
"There's legislation on the floor of the house right now that our leader Brian Gallant brought forward that would require all MLAs to report their expenses, online on a regular basis. And in fact, had that been in place, we probably wouldn't be in the situation we're in now," he said.
"What I'm afraid of is [the Progressive Conservatives are] going to let that bill die in the order of paper, just like they've done with many other bills we've brought forward."
But the premier himself said he wants to see the bill become legislation this spring.
Asked about the delay, he said: "We believe that there are some changes that need to be brought to the bill because of the way it's written. It's not a very sound bill."
As it stands, all the public sees is the total amount of expenses claimed by the 55 MLAs, not the individual receipts. Only legislature staff get to review the breakdown of expenses.
The Liberals introduced the bill in November, months before questions were raised about Davis's expense claims.
Davis has announced he will not be seeking re-election in September, citing health reasons.
In Nova Scotia, all MLA expenses are available online, following an expense scandal in 2010.