The 2011 campaign of Conservative MP Eve Adams is trying to claim $2,777 in personal expenses, including salon visits and dry-cleaning costs, as her campaign works more than two years after the election to close the file.
There are also multiple entries for costs incurred after the May 2, 2011, election, including a purchase three weeks later at Glitz Cupcakes for $2.63 and several restaurant charges as late as July 11, 2011.
Adams's file is still open, records filed with Elections Canada indicate, with her former official agent writing the agency that he will repay $6,003.34 in expenses the agency didn't accept.
But it seems correspondence explaining those expenses is missing from the file: The file includes an itemized list of charges to be repaid, titled "Appendix to letter of April 9, 2013," and no letter is to be found.
A separate list of expenses, filed following the campaign, covers $2,777.48 in personal expenses for Adams, including:
- $260.71 for Shoppers Drug Mart.
- $166.11 for dry cleaning.
- $424.80 for the Davinci Salon and Spa.
- 67.28 for personal items.
Adams, who represents Mississauga-Brampton South in Ontario, took to Twitter to explain the costs. Some of it covered hand soap, mouthwash and toothpaste for volunteers, who work 16-hour days, she said.
Campaigned 15 hours every day
In question period, Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett asked the government whether the expenses conform to election law.
"Canadians have had enough paying for the Conservative Pretty Department," Bennett said.
"The parliamentary secretary for veterans affairs [Adams] is trying to get a taxpayer rebate for beauty products and services during the last election."
Adams said more than two-thirds of the personal expenses were for child care, arguing she campaigned from 7 a.m. until after 10 p.m. every day.
"And while voters can tell you that my five-year-old son came to many doorsteps, he also had to eat and play and go to sleep at a reasonable hour. I had to keep campaigning," Adams said.
"Elections Canada has very clear-cut rules and definitions of what can and cannot constitute a personal campaign expense. All campaigns including my campaign need to follow those definitions."
Payments to the child-care provider accounted for $1,857 of the personal expenses, Adams said on Twitter.
$200 limit on personal expenses
Peter Adams, who ran Eve Adams's campaign, says the initial return was filed almost a year ago and that Elections Canada has since requested clarification on some items, including the backs of cheques.
"All requests for additional information have been provided to Elections Canada and we are awaiting on them to finalize and approve the return," said Adams, who was married to Eve Adams during the campaign.
"As the official agent I am required to disclose ALL personal expenses fully knowing of a cap of $200," he wrote in an email to CBC News.
Elections Canada provides for some expenses to be 60 per cent reimbursed. The candidate's guidebook specifically lists dry cleaning, personal grooming and the candidate's cellphone use as examples of "other personal expenses" that may be reported. But there is a $200 limit on those expenses.
"All the items reported must be for expenses that the candidate would not normally incur if there was no election," according to the rules.
"They have to be reported and may be eligible for reimbursement if the conditions for reimbursement are met."
Other expenses claimed
Eve Adams's campaign also tried to claim a May 18, 2011, dinner at Hy's Steakhouse in Ottawa as a "victory party expense." The dinner, including a half bottle of champagne, cost $201.95, with a $26 tip. That expense is among the $6,003.34 in corrections that Peter Adams said in April he will repay, as it is "not an election expense."
The list of victory party expenses includes $250.05 (including the $28 tip) at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, and $344.73 at Bristol Bar and Grill on May 3, 2011. The Ruth's Chris Steak House dinner is also to be repaid.
The expenses also included $327.50 in traffic tickets incurred by Peter Adams.
Elections Canada wasn't immediately able to explain why some of the correspondence seems to be missing from the file.
Eve and Peter Adams have split since the campaign. Eve Adams is now engaged to Dimitri Soudas, a former director of communications for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, according to Soudas's Facebook page.