How tight should spending rules be?

Staff ~ The Amherst News
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In a perfect world, community groups and organizations would not have to rely on their MLAs as a source of funding.
But these are not ideal times and many groups across this province have come to rely on the support they get each year from their elected provincial representatives.
Earlier this week, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation suggested it's not appropriate for politicians to effectively act as an arm of government by funding their own programs and feels using constituency allowances for charitable donations or advertising is an inappropriate use of public funds.
The organization's national communications manager, Scott Henning, told The Canadian Press that it's a practice that is creating expectations among community groups that see those donations as a continuous source of funding.
Not surprisingly, some MLAs don't agree.
Bill Estabrooks was among the biggest spenders when it came to using constituency dollars on community programs and he believes it's part of his job to support schools, athletic teams and individuals within his riding.
In Cumberland County, both of our?MLAs have spent thousands supporting everything from church groups to minor sports teams. It's money these organizations have come to depend on.
In light of the spending scandal within this province, questions surrounding the disbursement of constituency money are to be expected. The fact some MLAs have allegedly spent public dollars as if they were their own is placing a cloud over almost everything an MLA does to support his or her riding.
Considering the level of public anger over the spending scandal, MLAs are going to have to do a better job accounting for their expenditures and it means past practices are going to have to be reviewed.
But if this means community groups and organizations will suffer, government is going to have to come up with another way to let elected officials support the people that put them in power.

Organizations: Canadian Press

Geographic location: Cumberland County

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  • Fuzzy Bear
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    HELLO THIS IS A NO BRAINER.....For most of us our check/bank book shows us what we spend every month. This is what is needed here. Every nickel *excluding their salary* our elected officials spend should be accounted for period. This is not an unrealistic proposition to set in place. Simply pass legislation that mandates each riding account for every taxpayers dollar they spend. Then have independent accountants review these statements yearly so nothing gets out of hand as has been the case here now. Secondly once reviewed by the auditors make MLA's expenditures available on line to the general public. That way I can find out just what/who my MLA is buying and or supporting with my hard earned tax dollars. He/she may be buying goods or supporting a program or organization that I really take exception to and I should be able to see that.

  • wheres my
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    **...government is going to have to come up with another way to let elected officials support the people that put them in power.**
    -------------------------
    I sent your editorial to a friend in another part of the country and he said he almost choked.

    The audacity of our expectation that the local MLA should just *pony up* is unique.

    It's at the very heart of the problem!!

    The local MLA's office is not a bank, or a charity, or a marketplace to sell your vote. And in NS it is being treated as all of these things.

    Until we change that culture we will continue to have problems with entitlement.

  • sparky00
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    There is another way, let them use their own darn money!