Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

NDP owes ‘significant’ sum for improper salaries, committee says

John Duncan, Chief Government Whip and member of the Board of Internal Economy holds a news conference to discuss sanctions for NDP satellite offices controversy in Ottawa, Tuesday August 12, 2014.

FRED CHARTRAND/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The committee that oversees House of Commons spending says the Opposition New Democrats owe a "significant" sum for salaries improperly paid to aides who worked out of satellite party offices in Quebec.

That sum will be on top of the $1.17-million in free mailing privileges the board ruled in June was wrongly used by NDP MPs to send almost two million mass partisan mailings to households in 26 ridings.

John Duncan, a Conservative MP and spokesman for the multi-party committee, says the latest dollar figure has yet to be determined, but he expects it to be a "significant number" since the wrongdoing dates back to 2011.

Story continues below advertisement

"The rules are clear and it is clear, once again, that the NDP has broken the rules," Duncan told a news conference on Parliament Hill.

The NDP used parliamentary resources to pay for offices that were not properly authorized, he said, adding Commons administrators are being asked to prepare various options to ensure the recovery of the funds.

NDP whip Nycole Turmel said earlier Tuesday that her colleagues have done nothing wrong. She blames Conservatives and Liberals on the board of internal economy for indulging in a partisan witch hunt against the NDP.

In April, the board changed the rules governing the work of parliamentary staff, deciding that taxpayer-paid employees must not work from offices paid for by political parties. Since then, NDP staff members working for MPs in Quebec have been moved out of party offices and now work either in the constituency office of NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair or from home.

The New Democrats contend that the fact the rules were altered at all is a clear indication that nothing prevented staff from working in satellite offices prior to the change.

The NDP have said the House of Commons administration knew the satellite offices' staff were based outside Ottawa because it had their home addresses and provided them with cellphones with local numbers. The party said the satellite offices in Montreal and Quebec City helped Quebec MPs – who pooled their budgets to pay for the staff – communicate with the public and organize news conferences on parliamentary files.

The Speaker of the Commons, Andrew Scheer, and House administration have contradicted NDP claims that they approved the mailings or the use of MPs' office budgets to pay staffers in satellite offices. Conservatives and Liberals have pointed to internal correspondence that suggests the NDP told House of Commons officials the staff would be working in Ottawa.

Story continues below advertisement

In June, the board ordered $36,000 paid to the House of Commons and $1.13-million to Canada Post for the partisan mailouts. The NDP vowed to challenge the board's verdict in court.

With reports from Daniel Leblanc and The Canadian Press

Report an error
Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.