To the editor,
Taxpayers just scored a win for financial transparency: Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has raised the bar by securing support from all parties for new measures to uphold Canadians’ right to know how their money is being spent.
From now on, all Members of Parliament’s travel and hospitality expenses will be publicly disclosed on the Parliamentary website. It’s an important step to restore Canadians’ faith in politics and politicians after it was seriously shaken last spring.
And it happened because Justin didn’t just talk the talk, he did something about it – and now the other parties have followed suit.
Back in June, Canadians were alarmed by expense abuses of Conservative Senators Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau, and a secret $90,000 payment by the prime minister’s chief of staff to cover it up. Trudeau proposed a plan to open up Parliament that would have MPs proactively disclose their travel and hospitality expenses regularly online.
But when Justin rose in the House of Commons to seek consent for the proposals, the NDP blocked him.
So he decided to go it alone, and Liberal MPs began posting their travel and hospitality expenses online. Then last fall the Conservative started posting their MPs’ expenses as well.
Nine months later Liberals have secured support from the entire House of Commons to take this to the next level. Now the non-partisan professional administrative staff of the House Commons will create a uniform, standardized system that puts the expenses of all MPs together in one spot for anyone to see.
It’s an important first step to reversing the corrosive culture of secrecy and intimidation that has grown under Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Trudeau is committed to opening up government and restoring Canadians’ trust in our democracy. And he’s just getting started.
Scott Simms, MP
Liberal Party Democratic Reform Critic