Calgary

Opposition MLA calls for provincial inquiry into Calgary councillor's expenses

A Calgary MLA is calling for a provincial inquiry into a city councillor who publicly apologized for what he said were mistakes he made while filing expenses from a trip.

But a spokesperson for the minister of municipal affairs says its up to the city to pursue sanctions

Coun. Joe Magliocca apologized last week for what he said were mistakes in filing his expenses from a 2019 trip. An MLA is now calling for a provincial inquiry. (CBC)

A Calgary MLA is calling for a provincial inquiry into a city councillor who publicly apologized for what he said were mistakes he made while filing expenses from a trip.

Coun. Joe Magliocca expensed $6,400 — about double that of his colleagues — during a trip to the annual Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Quebec City last spring, the Calgary Herald first reported.

His expense claims include meals and alcohol he said were purchased for politicians he said he met with, but some of those politicians deny those meetings ever took place. 

NDP MLA Joe Ceci said in light of what he referred to as "serious misuse of taxpayer funds," it's time for a provincial inquiry into Magliocca's spending.

"He's given a variety of evolving excuses in his own defence including, you know, he's 51-years-old and he said, 'I just got confused,'" Ceci said. "Frankly, that just doesn't cut muster for people."

"There's a number of people in this city who have serious concerns about whether he's actually working on city business when he expenses food and alcohol … I think it's more than just honest mistakes that have been made. Actually, I think there's serious questions about accountability and transparency there."

Ceci detailed his concerns in a letter dated Monday and addressed to Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu. He also pointed out that Magliocca is an outspoken supporter of the United Conservative Party, who attended the party's AGM last year.

'We trust that Calgary can manage itself'

Timothy Gerwing, a spokesperson for Madu, said that  the office had yet to receive a hard copy of the letter as of late Monday evening.

"As per the MGA [Municipal Government Act], municipalities are required to develop their own council codes of conduct," he said in an emailed statement. "If a councillor is found to be in violation of his or her local code, it is up to the municipality to pursue sanctions. We trust that Calgary can manage itself on these issues."

CBC News has reached out to Magliocca for comment. 

Last week, Magliocca apologized for the expense claims and said going forward he would no longer be expensing any alcohol, adding that it would be his last public statement on the subject. 

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said at the time if councillors follow the city's updated code of conduct there should not be need for additional oversight on expense disclosures.

Coun. Jeromy Farkas tweeted that on Tuesday he plans to bring forward an urgent notice of motion, calling for spending restrictions on Federation of Canadian Municipalities trips and fuller disclosures of costs. 

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