OTTAWA – Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong had expenses of $450,757 in 2010-11 – a figure that’s in the middle of the pack among Nova Scotia’s 10 elected members of Parliament.
Members of the House of Commons spent $63 million on offices, travel, accommodations, staff salaries and other expenses, according to the latest data available from Parliament.
Armstrong’s biggest expense was on employee salaries, totaling $206,108, while he spent another $98,389 on travel. The MP also spent $25,692 on accommodations , $29,865 on the 10 percenters sent to constituents and $12,892 on householder mailouts to residents of the riding.
“We all do what we can to be as frugal as you can with the taxpayers’ dollars, you aim to spend it as wisely as possible,” Armstrong said Monday. “The vast majority of your budget goes to staff.”
Armstrong has four full-time employees and two part-timers.
Other expenses included $22,296 for constituency office leases, insurance and utilities and $11,907 for advertising.
Armstrong, who was first elected in a 2009 byelection and re-elected last spring, also claimed $8,411 in employee travel.
“With the size of my riding I have to have two offices and there’s a lot of travel within the riding,” Armstrong said. “The expenses I face are a little different than other ridings in Nova Scotia. Other ridings in the city may not be as big but have a lot more constituents. It’s pretty hard to compare riding to riding, it’s not exactly comparing apples to apples.
“When you look at the MPs in Nova Scotia you’ll see that our expenses are all pretty close.”
The biggest spender among Nova Scotia MPs was Liberal Rodger Cuzner, who spent $495,557, while fellow Liberal Geoff Regan was the most frugal at $376,947. Conservative cabinet minister Peter MacKay spent $394,334.
The MP with the highest expenses was Manitoba Conservative cabinet minister Steven Fletcher, who claimed expenses of $803,109.