Nanaimo MLAs’ travel and living allowances released

MLA's want more information provided to the public so people understand expense costs.

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.