Full dis­clo­sure

Scott An­drews re­leases MP ex­penses to pub­lic

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY BUR­TON K. JANES bur­tonj@nfld.net

A rookie MP who be­lieves his con­stituents have a right to know how their mem­ber spends their hard earned tax dol­lars, has placed his ex­penses on his web­site for all to see.

From April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009, Scott An­drews wracked up a to­tal of $249,051 in ex­penses re­lated to his role as Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment.

This in­for­ma­tion is cur­rently avail­able on his web­site, www.scottandrews.ca

“I be­lieve it is nec­es­sary to be open and ac­count­able to you,” An­drews wrote in a mail-out to his con­stituents. “For this rea­son, I have taken the op­por­tu­nity to make all my ex­pen­di­tures avail­able on my web­site.”

An­drews was elected MP for the Rid­ing of Avalon on Oct. 14, 2008.

“ The rules of con­stituency spend­ing at the House of Com­mons have been very spe­cific, with an elab­o­rate process for scru­ti­niz­ing the sub­mis­sion of claims,” he ex­plained.

“How­ever, I fully un­der­stand that con­stituents de­mand more, and I am quite pleased to pro­vide de­tails of my spend­ing,” he added.

A link on An­drews’ web­site leads di­rectly to the House of Com­mons pub­lic dis­clo­sure state­ments. De­tails of con­stituency spend­ing for the fis­cal year 2008-09 are posted.

An­drews’ de­ci­sion to pro­vide open ac­cess to his MP-re­lated ex­penses has met with noth­ing but ap­proval from vis­i­tors to his Face­book ac­count.

Neil Cong­don com­mented, “A good ex­am­ple for the rest of the MP’s.”

Caren Lynn Swee­t­ap­ple added to the dis­cus­sion, “Fi­nally, an MP that ac­tu­ally knows what ac­count­abil­ity means.”

Fred Har­ris called An­drews’ de­ci­sion an “ab­so­lutely re­quired ex­am­ple. It may put us on track to heal­ing the riff be­tween our lead­ers and the elec­torate.”

The Avalon MP’s ex­pen­di­tures are pre­sented in two cat­e­gories, Mem­ber’s Of­fice Bud­get and Goods and Ser­vices Pro­vided by the House.

Mem­ber’s Of­fice Bud­get con­sists of staff and other ex­penses, travel, ad­ver­tis­ing and of­fice lease. The House of Com­mons bud­get al­lo­ca­tion for An­drews’ ex­pen­di­tures in this cat­e­gory was $142,583.

Goods and Ser­vices Pro­vided by the House con­sist of travel, tele­phone, print­ing, of­fice sup­plies, con­stituency of­fice fur­ni­ture and equip­ment im­prove­ment fund and other ex­penses. The House of Com­mons bud­get al­lo­ca­tion for An­drews’ ex­pen­di­tures in this cat­e­gory was $106,468.

A de­tailed break­down of ex­penses is avail­able on An­drews’ web­site.

In his mail-out to con­stituents, An­drews claimed to present “ just the facts.” He stressed his con­cern for “ac­count­abil­ity and trans­parency when pub­lic funds are in­volved” and his prom­ise “to lis­ten to his con­stituents.”

Sand­wiched be­tween the two state­ments is his rev­e­la­tion that Prime Min­is­ter Stephen

“I fully un­der­stand that con­stituents de­mand more, and I am quite pleased

to pro­vide de­tails of my spend­ing.”

– MP Scott An­drews

Harper “spent more than a bil­lion dol­lars on three days of meet­ings. That’s more,” An­drews re­minded read­ers, “ than any other in­ter­na­tional sum­mit, more than the en­tire Olympics, and more than five weeks of the World Cup in South Africa.”

De­bate has been on­go­ing on the role of the Au­di­tor Gen­eral con­cern­ing MP spend­ing at the House of Com­mons.

An­drews as­sured his con­stituents, in an at­tempt to meet their ex­pec­ta­tions, that he has “no prob­lem sup­port­ing ad­di­tional mea­sures that ful­fil their de­mand for open­ness and ac­count­abil­ity.” Timely ex­pen­di­ture up­dates will be posted to An­drews’ web­site as they be­come avail­able. The fig­ures for the fis­cal year 2009-10 will be made pub­lic upon re­lease by the House of Com­mons.

“I’ve taken this ac­tion be­cause I want to fo­cus all my at­ten­tion on help­ing con­stituents with ev­ery­day is­sues they face in their lives and their com­mu­ni­ties. I do not want to be dis­tracted from that role and, there­fore, make my ex­pen­di­tures open for re­view by those I serve.”

The 64-page doc­u­ment, The House of Com­mons In­di­vid­ual Mem­ber’s Ex­pen­di­tures for the Fis­cal Year 2008-2009, in­cludes de­tailed ex­penses by all other MP’s, as well.

MP Scott An­drews

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