Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia cabinet ministers' expenses now available online

For the first time since Nova Scotia started releasing the details of expenses incurred by cabinet ministers, 20 years ago, those expenses are now available online.

MLA expense claims have been available online since the fall of 2010

The smallest single expense by a cabinet minister was a $0.89 mileage charge filed by Immigration Minister Lena Diab. (CBC)

For the first time since Nova Scotia started releasing the details of expenses incurred by cabinet ministers, 20 years ago, those expenses are now available online.

MLA expense claims have been available online since the fall of 2010, but what cabinet ministers were spending their money on, was only available in paper copies.

Those copies were filed monthly, in binders kept at the library at the Nova Scotia legislature.

Those monthly reports are now posted here.

Each minister files a summary of their expense for travel, meals and incidentals. Those expenses are recorded by individual departments.

For example, Premier Stephen McNeil can charge his expenses to five different accounts. That's because he is responsible for the following portfolios:

  • Premier
  • Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
  • Minister of Planning and Priorities
  • Minister of Aboriginal Affairs
  • Minister responsible for Military Relations

Under the old system, anyone looking for a total, would have to search through five binders to collate that information.

Reports are still filed by portfolio, but those claims can now be accessed by anyone though the internet.

$256 for vaccines

Among the first online postings, include trips taken by Premier Stephen McNeil to New York, Ottawa, as well as a five-city trip to Europe at the first week in June.

McNeil filed expenses worth a total of $4,688.98 for that European Trade Mission.

The Premier also attended two Council of the Federation meetings this summer, one in Charlottetown, the other in St. John's.

McNeil filed expenses worth $2,157.41 for both those trips.

Fisheries Minister Keith Colwell racked up $5,900.62 in expenses during a nine day trip to China in June. That includes $183.52 to pay for a travel visa and $256 in vaccines ahead of the trip.

The smallest single expense by a cabinet minister was a $0.89 mileage charge filed by Immigration Minister Lena Diab.

It was for the two kilometres it took her to drive to the Cunard Centre on April 23 to attend The Grand Tastings of Wine and Food from Italy.

She filed two similar charges later that month for a tribute to former Saint Mary's University president Colin Dodds and a Halifax Chamber of Commerce event.

About the Author

Jean Laroche

Reporter

Jean Laroche has been a CBC reporter for 32 years. He's been covering Nova Scotia politics since 1995 and has been at Province House longer than any sitting member.

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