Nova Scotia

MLA expense claims to be audited yearly

The province's auditor general will now scrutinize MLA expense accounts every year, an all-party legislative committee agreed Wednesday.

The province's auditor general will now scrutinize MLA expense accounts every year, an all-party legislative committee agreed Wednesday.

Until now, the auditor general's office only conducted sporadic audits.

House Speaker Gordie Gosse said having the auditor general go over the book regularly sends taxpayers a strong message.

"The message is that we're open and transparent and looking at everything that falls under the operation of the House of Assembly and will continue to do so in the future," he said Wednesday.

Gosse said the auditor general is the right person to oversee House operations.

Jacques Lapointe's last examination of MLA expenses created a political firestorm and led to a police investigation.

Three former and a current MLA face charges of submitting false claims.

Ex-Liberal MLA Dave Wilson pleaded guilty earlier this month to one count each of uttering forged documents, fraud and breach of trust. His sentencing hearing is set for Jan. 25. He remains free until then.

Former MLAs Richard Hurlburt and Russell MacKinnon and sitting Independent MLA Trevor Zinck were also charged. Their cases are still making their way through the court system.

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