Expose those who broke the rules

Staff ~ The Amherst News
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Now that the cat is out of the bag and the province's auditor general has exposed "excessive or inappropriate" spending by MLAs, let's hope those same MLAs will act quickly to fix it before Nova Scotians lose more confidence in their elected officials.
In a report released Wednesday, the province's auditor general Jacques Lapointe concluded that inappropriate claims were made by some politicians for personal items, including nearly $8,000 for a generator installed at the residence of an MLA and $1,260 for parking lot sanding from a company owned by a member's brother.
Lapointe also identified excessive expenditures including $13,445 for custom-made office furniture, $5,501 for a laptop computer and $790 for a model boat office display.
While the auditor general points out what's wrong and says it's a result of a lack of rules governing the spending habits of Nova Scotia's 52 MLAs, he stops short of naming the worst offenders.
As much as he says it was a difficult decision not to identify those MLAs who abused the public purse, Nova Scotians should know which of their elected officials took advantage of a system that has rules that are so ambiguous and applied so badly that it's so easy to abuse.
Lapointe doesn't want to focus on those MLAs who misspent, but instead wants to focus on a system that's broken. Still, something similar to this happened four years ago in Newfoundland and Labrador and led to the conviction of four former politicians and a former bureaucrat on fraud-related charges.
We hope Lapointe's actions will lead to a quick reaction by the NDP government that closes these loopholes, tightens and formalizes spending rules and ensures we get the most bang for our buck.
Being elected to represent Nova Scotians in the legislature should not lead to an attitude of entitlement, but as long as there is spending that is not accountable, the confidence many Nova Scotians have in their system of government - and its system of checks and balances - will suffer.

Geographic location: Nova Scotians, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • jason
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    First: no rules were broken. this is why the auditor general did not name names. he has gone on to say that the rules need to be changed or clarified.
    Second: this pales in comparison to the NL scandal, where MLA's where claiming hundreds of thousands of dollars over their limits. (Ed Bryne was over by $326000 himself) All told the NS overages do not come close.

    I agree that they have been able to get away with some seedy politics but it seems that it has been all parties (not just the NDP, Jack) and as long as they pay it back (which Tory MLA Richard Hurlburt says he will not, for his $8000 generator) and then they rewrite the rules to cut this out, i am okay with it.

  • Jack on the rocks
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Hey Jason,we are talking about Nova Scotia.Do ya think anybody gives a rats a$$ about what they did in NFLD.Oh yeah,I know it's not just the NDP,I just made a point about the Cumberland North leader(not)that will soon be made public.Then we'll see what the NDP'ers have to say.$$$$$$ down the drain,and for what???

  • Dan
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Yes, The names SHOULD DEFINATELY be released. THey knew they were doing wrong. And they should know better because they know how hard it is here in NS. We pay the highest taxes in Canada - now I know why: our greedy, useless politicians. I agree with Peter above, only by releasing the names will confidence in our system be able to be restored. How about some accountability in the Nova Scotia political system - that would be nice.

  • peter
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    give names, names, and names. By doing so would help restore some confidence. By not releasing names will result in even more mistrust of government. This news is so disheartening especially when so many go without and others are taxed to death.

  • Genghis
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Typical left-wing politicians.
    They think taxes are collected to make sure we all live in the lap of luxury and when they realize they can't collect enough money to make sure each and every Nova Scotian lives in the lap of luxury, they then decide to make sure that they, the politicians, are living high on the hog.
    Isn't that special?

    Isn't this the same sort of scandal that forced the speaker of the house to resign in Britain?

  • Jim
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I don't care who did it, they should have their names in the paper just like anyone else caught stealing. And I certainly do consider it stealing!

    I'm sure all parties have been doing it, let's let them reap their rewards - give the people of Nova Scotia their names!

  • Greg
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    $5,500 for a laptop? Are you serious? Was is platinum plated?

    I agree, details will increase accountability, not only for those who have abused the privilege and should now be taken to task, but also for all MLAs going forward who will understand that we are watching how they spend OUR money!

  • Jack on the rocks
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    If they release the names,I will garantee there will be some NDP voters from Cumberland Co. that won't have much to say and will have egg on their face.

  • bill
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    i think all political members take ouths to be honest . if this was a normal person out of goverment they would be charged and name posted in papers where is the outh clause at. they were at wrong so make them pay for it dont let them off with just paying the money back o i forgot some people can do any thing .and get away with it