Members of Parliament spent a combined $123.6 million in overall expenses for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2013, up $2.3 million over the previous year, according to a yearly Commons report published on Monday.
MPs spent more than $67 million in employees salaries and service contracts, $25 million in travel expenses, and $15 million in office expenses including cellphones and postage.
Members of the House of Commons also spent more than $6 million in printing expenses, including mailings to constituents in their ridings and partisan flyers known as "10-percenters" to addresses outside their own ridings, more than $5 million in advertising costs and more than $1.6 million in hospitality and other events.
Each MP receives an annual office budget of $284,700. MPs who live in remote ridings or who represent larger ridings receive more money on top of the basic office budget.
The annual office budget is intended for MPs to put toward employee salaries, service contracts, advertising, constituency office leases, office operating costs, some travel expenses and other expenses.
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MPs receive an annual travel budget of $26,238 plus daily allowances for food and other costs while they are in Ottawa on parliamentary business. MPs whose primary residence is located more than 100 kilometres from the capital can also claim housing expenses.
The House of Commons also provides MPs with additional financial resources to cover the costs of their parliamentary functions.
The MPs expenditure report is presented in six categories:
- Employees' salaries and service contracts.
- Hospitality and events.
- Office expenses.
Seven Conservative MPs made the list of the top 10 biggest spenders for the last year, led by Manitoba MP Steven Fletcher. The second highest spender was NDP Leader Tom Mulcair. Liberal MP from Vancouver-Centre Hedy Fry came in fourth.
Fletcher's expenses are inflated by the $259,486.16 paid by the House of Commons for "employees' salaries and service contracts" budget to accommodate his special needs. Fletcher was the first quadriplegic person elected to the House of Commons. Without this added expense, Fletcher's expenditures would be lower than average at $352,773.22.
Quebec NDP MP Manon Perreault is the only other MP who uses a wheelchair and receives $64,825.38 for salaries and services from the House.
Five of the 10 lowest spending MPs, who served the full year as elected officials, were also Conservatives, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper ranking second on that list. Harper benefits from a separate budget as prime minister which the leader of the Opposition does not. Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae spent $465,552.50, and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May's total expenses were $407,403.26.
Justin Trudeau, who was elected Liberal leader two weeks after the end of the period covered by the report, spent a total of $386,713.99. Trudeau has said all Liberal MPs have committed to proactively disclosing the details of their travel and hospitality expenses incurred by them or their staff beginning this fall.
10 highest MP expenses
- Steven Fletcher (Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia Conservative), $612,259.38
- Tom Mulcair (Outremont, NDP), $550,830.72
- Blake Richards (Wild Rose, Conservative), $547,510.07
- Niki Ashton (Churchill, NDP), $528,637.83
- Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre, Liberal), $516,429.74
- Richard Harris (Cariboo-Prince George, Conservative), $515,243.90
- Peter Penashue (Labrador, Conservative), $513,713.99
- Brian Storseth (Westlock-St. Paul, Conservative), $502,858.26
- Leona Aglukkaq (Nunavut, Conservative), $501,867.71
- Gerry Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville, Conservative), $501,493.95
10 lowest MP expenses
- Claude Patry (Jonquière-Alma, Bloc Quebecois), $269,908.21
- Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest, Conservative), $284,681.96
- Roxanne James (Scarborough Centre, Conservative), $303,249.61
- John Baird (Ottawa West-Nepean, Conservative), $304,923.58
- Massimo Pacetti (Saint-Léonard-Saint-Michel, Liberal), $305,524.26
- Guy Lauzon (Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, Conservative), $306,338.88
- Julian Fantino (Vaughan, Conservative), $314,479.69
- Françoise Boivin (Gatineau, NDP), $316,000.89
- Lise St-Denis (Saint-Maurice-Champlain, Liberal), $318,594.56
- Jose Nunez-Melo (Laval, NDP), $319,817.91