Canadian officials forced to list expenses online
OTTAWA: Do you suspect the foreign minister is racking up massive travel bills? Are top officials at the energy ministry dining their friends at taxpayers’ expense? Now you can find out by turning on your computer.
From Thursday, as part of a drive by the Canadian government to clean up politics, all federal ministers and their aides - as well as top bureaucrats - have to list their expenses on official departmental Web sites.
“Making this kind of information available online demonstrates our commitment to functioning in an ethical and transparent manner,” said Reg Alcock, head of the government’s Treasury Board, which oversees all spending.
The measures were announced last year after it emerged that former privacy commissioner George Radwanski and his press aide had racked up C$510,000 ($390,000) on travel, meals and hotels in just two years. He was forced to resign over the affair.
Federal institutions will be required to update their travel and hospitality information every three months.
Those looking to uncover profligate spending might want to stay away from Foreign Minister Bill Graham, whose habits appear to be fairly frugal. From Jan. 11 to Feb. 26, the most he spent on lunch for two was C$64.
During the same period, a senior foreign affairs official spent C$8,496.15 just on a ticket to Geneva. More details of the ministry’s expenses can be found at:http://www.fac-aec.gc.ca/department/disclosure/names-en.asp.
By coincidence, the new rules came into force in the wake of a major scandal over how C$100 million in government funds was funneled to firms with close ties to the ruling Liberals. —Reuters