Taxpayers can view the amount of travel and living expenses racked up by MLAs, but not exactly how the money is spent.
Nanaimo-area NDP MLAs say the information provided in the public accounts 2010-11 Consolidated Revenue Fund, available on the Ministry of Finance’s website, doesn’t go far enough to give people an accurate picture of how the money is spent – information that is important to engaging the public.
Instead of just a dollar amount, the documents should detail what the money is spent on to give a clearer picture to the public, said Nanaimo MLA Leonard Krog.
Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan, agrees.
He said if the information was broken down into travel locations and items, it would help people have a better understanding of what their MLAs are required to do and how much travel is actually a necessity of the job.
During the fiscal year of 2010-11, ending March 31, Krog received a compensation of $101,859, a living allowance of $14,485 and travel expenses of $11,881.
His role as Opposition critic for the attorney general requires a fair amount of travelling, he said.
“I try to keep my costs down, contrary to what some people believe, because I am conscious that the taxpayers are paying the bill,” said Krog.
He said to save costs on trips to places such as Vancouver, he tries to schedule multiple meetings in a day.
Routley received compensation of $101,859, a living allowance of $16,421 and travel expenses of $18,791.
He said travel costs can vary. His former role as housing critic required a lot of travel, while his current role as citizen services critic hasn’t required the same amount.
Krog and Routley also received $8,903 for their roles as deputy chairmen of legislative committees.
Ron Cantelon, Liberal MLA for Parksville-Qualicum, received compensation of $101,859, a living allowance of $15,028 and travel expenses of $16,026.
He could not be reached for comment by press time.
Harry Lali, NDP MLA for Fraser-Nicola, had the highest travel expenses totalling $58,457, while Steve Thomson, Liberal MLA for Kelowna-Mission, spent the least – $213 on travelling expenses.