NDP minister Estabrooks low man on expense account pole
HALIFAX (CP) — Walk into Bill Estabrooks’s “ home away from home” and you’ll find a prized hockey stick coat rack made by a daughter, a second-hand desk and a filing cabinet from an Army Surplus store.
Maybe the lack of bling inside the Timberlea-Prospect member’s office is what helped him ring in the lowest expense claim figures in the auditor general’s recent report, which has stung other current and past elected officials.
“It’s bare bones. It’s warm. It’s safe. It’s secure. It’s got a computer that works,” said Estabrooks, also the province’s energy minister and minister of transportation and infrastructure renewal. “People joke about my office.” Estabrooks’ expense claims for the years 2006, 2007, and 2008, contained in a list released Wednesday by the Speaker’s office, tallied up to $2,043.96 before taxes. With taxes it was $2,325.01.
The veteran New Democrat said Wednesday he really scored a deal on his office rent at a recreation centre at $207 per month.
Estabrooks said he means no disrespect to the other politicians named in the auditor general’s report, which ignited public ire over expensive power generators, computers, coffee makers and the like.