Democracy Gone Astray

Democracy, being a human construct, needs to be thought of as directionality rather than an object. As such, to understand it requires not so much a description of existing structures and/or other related phenomena but a declaration of intentionality.
This blog aims at creating labeled lists of published infringements of such intentionality, of points in time where democracy strays from its intended directionality. In addition to outright infringements, this blog also collects important contemporary information and/or discussions that impact our socio-political landscape.

All the posts here were published in the electronic media – main-stream as well as fringe, and maintain links to the original texts.

[NOTE: Due to changes I haven't caught on time in the blogging software, all of the 'Original Article' links were nullified between September 11, 2012 and December 11, 2012. My apologies.]

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Ambrose Charged Taxpayers For Housing Costs While Living At Stornoway

OTTAWA — Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose charged taxpayers nearly $10,000 in secondary housing costs — while she was living in an official residence also paid for by the public, records from the House of Commons show.

Ambrose, an Alberta MP and former cabinet minister, was selected by her peers to replace prime minister Stephen Harper after he abruptly resigned as leader following last fall’s election. She moved into the Official Opposition leader’s residence, Stornoway, in November.

Her office said the bulk of the charges, $8,000, were for four months of rent at her Ottawa condo. Ambrose’s $2,000-a-month rent charges for October and November were filed in the wrong quarter, and she had to give two-months notice to break her lease, her spokesman Mike Storeshaw said.

A hotel charge of $869.81 for a three-night stay was also claimed when her partner and his children came to visit in November, he said.

Ambrose never claimed stays in Ottawa while living at Stornoway, Storeshaw insisted.

The Commons' rule book on expenses prohibits the leader of the Official Opposition, the Speaker, and the prime minister from claiming any secondary housing expenses. MPs are also not allowed to claim for "lease termination costs."

Storeshaw told HuffPost Ambrose was granted an exception. Her office provided an email from the House of Commons confirming it would refund the cost of terminating her lease, and cover her December and January rents.

Ambrose's expenditure report showed she was reimbursed $2,491.50 for per diems from January to March, and a yearly total of $23,683.29 for a secondary residence. This includes time that she lived at Stornoway — a 34-room home in Ottawa’s poshest neighbourhood that comes with a private chef.

Storeshaw said the per diems covered "the cost of food at Stornoway for the time she was there, as well as... when she's on the road travelling as leader outside of Ottawa or outside her constituency."

Ambrose had no previous per diem claims, he said, because they were paid out of the health department when she was its minister.

In the previous quarter of October to December 2015, Ambrose reported $13,990.99 for a secondary residence and charged no per diems. And before that, from April to September 2015, she claimed $6,900.12 for secondary housing expenses and no per diems.

More recently, from April to June 2016, Ambrose claimed only $399.36 in per diem charges and listed no secondary housing claims.

Ambrose and her partner are currently in Israel, accompanying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the funeral of former Israeli president Shimon Peres.

Original Article
Author: Althia Raj

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