For weeks, the Conservatives and Liberals have been hammering Thomas Mulcair over taxpayer funded satellite offices, and one of Mulcair’s major justifications for his actions was that the Speaker of the House, Andrew Scheer, had give him permission. Now, the Speaker claims that he never approved the arrangement. Uh oh.
In Montreal offices bought and paid for by the NDP, supposedly non-partisan civil servants worked side by side with party staffers. To avoid the possibility of the federal government errantly bankrolling a political campaign with taxpayer dollars, the civil servants responsible for constituency work normally only operate from Ottawa. For them to be working from an NDP regional office raises concerns about the partiality of government, and the ethics of the New Democratic Party.
Through his hearings, affairs, and public statements, Mulcair has insisted that he specifically asked Andrew Scheer, the Speaker of the House and Conservative MP, for permission to have the constituency staff working from these satellite offices. He also clearly claimed that Scheer had given him that permission.
After weeks of silence, Speaker Scheer now says that the NDP never actually asked him. They sent a message to his office asking about whether they could forward partisan mailings to constituents, which his office forwarded to the Office of Internal Economy – but the Speaker was never directly consulted. Hard to explain why it took this long for Scheer to figure out that the NDP had never asked him, but all his statements check out. In light of this revelation, deputy NDP leader Megan Leslie now claims that the party consulted House Administration before paying the staff; a backtrack and a change of story.
This marks what seems like the 300th spending scandal to come out of Ottawa in the past year and a half, but that doesn’t make it any less indicative of a culture of reckless spending in Ottawa that should quickly be put to an end. They’re not even recklessly spending money on fun things (other than Patrick Brazeau), so what’s the point?