MLA admits mistake …
“I don’t know if it’s something at the end of the day where they’ll say it shouldn’t have been done, you’ll need to pay that back,” said Samson. If and when the amount is identified and requested, he added, “it will be coming out of my pocket.”
Dave Wilson, Liberal MLA for Glace Bay, said he repaid $400 last November for personal patio furniture after the auditor general’s staff flagged his invoice.
He said the receipt was inadvertently added to others for monthly expenses.
“There’s no similarity between me and an accountant,” said Wilson. “I’m not trying to blame anyone else. I submitted it. It was my mistake. This was an innocent mistake.”
He admitted the mistake looks bad, but added MLAs were all just following the rules.
“There is a certain segment of the population that believes we’re all crooks anyway,” Wilson said, but “the MLAs I know follow the rules.”
Gordie Gosse, NDP MLA for Cape Breton Nova and a member of the internal economy board, said even though he was not implicated in the auditor general’s report, all MLAs are feeling the pressure.
“All 52 members of the legislative assembly are going to be painted with the same brush,” he said. “I went out to coffee today at Timmy’s and people were saying ‘Where’s your generator, Gordie?’”
However, he added, the report and the Speaker’s stated intention of accepting all the recommendations in it offer an opportunity for weak rules to be fixed.
Frank Corbett, NDP MLA for Cape Breton Centre and the province’s deputy premier, also was not among the MLAs whose expenses were flagged by the auditor.
However, he took some heat last year over several dinner expenses he claimed just after the NDP won the general election. Corbett said he has since repaid $441 for one of the dinner meetings that included six people at the Keg restaurant in Halifax.
The dinners were legitimate expenses, he said, but he decided the right thing was to pay back the money for one of the meetings.
“The group of people that were there, there was one person that I would say was not appropriate to the meeting and I picked up everyone’s expenses, so I thought in retrospect I should pay the whole thing back,” Corbett said.
A Liberal caucus spokesman said Manning MacDonald, MLA for Cape Breton South, was not among the politicians whose expenses were identified in the report.
Interim Progressive Conservative Leader Karen Casey said four former members of her party were flagged in the report, essentially clearing the sitting PC MLAs, but she doesn’t feel it’s her responsibility to name names, according to The Canadian Press.
It’s not clear whether Rodney MacDonald, the former Tory premier who represented Inverness, was one of those four former PC members. He was reportedly in Ottawa, Thursday, and couldn’t be reached for comment.
Party spokesman Michael Kydd said only one current Tory MLA’s expenses were noted by the auditor general. Richard Hurlburt, MLA for Yarmouth, has already revealed he spent nearly $8,000 for an emergency generator installed at his home.