Inside Politics

Government can't provide full cost of RCMP, prison-related legal fees

If you've ever wondered how much the government has shelled out on legal fees related to the RCMP, CSIS, border security or the federal prison system, well, you're out of luck, according to the just-tabled response to a written question filed by Liberal MP John McCallum.

Last December, McCallum asked for a detailed summary of all legal fees paid out by the government since January 1, 2006.

Most departments and agencies were willing and able to hand over the requested information, 

But according to the terse two-page reply filed by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, neither his department nor four of the five agencies for which he is responsible could provide a simple -- or even a complex -- answer to the question, a situation it attributed to inconsistent filing systems, insufficiently detailed records, overly tight timelines and, in the case of CSIS, the need to protect "operational security."

Only the National Parole Board, it seemed, had the organizational capacity to figure out how much was spent in legal fees and payments over the last five years.

(For the record, it ultimately determined that no claims or legal action had been received during the time period in question.)

In any case, behold the transparency as extracted from the full response, which was tabled in the House on Monday afternoon: 

Extract from response to Q1130 

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