Taxpayers on hook for $1.1M to move Liberal aides; top 10 expensed more than $50,000 each
One of Justin Trudeau’s top aides claimed $126,779.56 in moving expenses.
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a few members of his cabinet approved payment of outsized moving expenses for their top political aides, according to documents tabled this week in the House of Commons.
• $126,779.56 for one of Trudeau’s top aides;
• Nearly $120,000 to an aide to one of the three ministers in the Department of Global Affairs;
• $113,799.08 to a top aide to Navdeep Bains, minister for innovation, science and economic development;
• Nearly $76,000 for one of Environment Minister Catherine McKenna’s most senior political aides.
Overall, the cost to move 48 senior Liberal political aides to Ottawa was $1.1 million. In all cases, moving expense arrangements require approval of the minister.
The names of the people making the claims were not released.
The Liberals decided they were entitled to line their own pockets with so-called moving expenses for their own staff
Political aides live a different existence than those in the civil service. First, they are political partisans while the civil service is neutral. And while civil servants go through a hiring process against some pre-established criteria such as being able to speak both official languages, political staff can be hired by a politician for any reason and with any or no qualifications.
Political staff also have little job security and serve largely at the pleasure of the politician.
Finally, a political aide’s tenure ends when that politician quits or is voted out of office.
“We are proud of the diverse team of Canadians that we’ve recruited to Ontario,” said Finance Minister Bill Morneau.
“We will remain mindful of expenses in our government and prudent all the way through as we work on behalf of Canadians.”
None of the people recruited to work for Morneau and nine other ministers made any claims for moving expenses.
Only those political staffers coming to Ottawa to work in the most senior positions in a minister’s office, such as a chief of staff or a director of policy or a director of communications, are eligible.
Most — 35 of the 48 — filed a moving expense claim for less than $5,000. But 10 senior political aides filed moving expense claims of more than $50,000.
Meanwhile, hundreds of other political aides working for politicians from all parties would have had to move to Ottawa at their own expense.
“The Liberals decided they were entitled to line their own pockets with so-called moving expenses for their own political staff,” Conservative MP Blaine Calkins told the House of Commons Tuesday.
One Harper-era chief of staff said his minister approved just two moving expense claims during eight years in office and both claims were under $5,000 each.
Another former top Harper-era aide said there was an understanding that nothing more than $20,000 was ever to be paid to relocate a political aide to Ottawa.
Documentation to verify those claims could not be obtained Tuesday.
Sept 21st 2016