The government minister who spent $13,445 of taxpayer money on office furniture apologized Thursday, but the member who expensed $8,000 on a home generator stood defiant.
Yarmouth Progressive Conservative MLA Richard Hurlburt admitted billing the government for a generator to be installed in his home, as outlined in Wednesday’s auditor general’s report. He has repaid about $3,000 in installation fees and Thursday night agreed to take care of the rest but, during a morning media conference, insisted he was not sorry for buying the generator.
Hurlburt said he keeps it charged in his home in case the public needs it during emergencies.
“Where would you suggest I put it, on the sidewalk?” he said to reporters when asked why it was hooked up in his house. Hurlburt said during a power outage residents at a nearby seniors’ home are welcome to come to his place for shelter.
He was asked why the generator wasn’t just installed at the seniors’ home.
“Well, they never … I don’t know if there’s even room there. But the seniors complex is just a couple minutes walk from my house,” he said. He added he’s offered search and rescue groups and EMO use of the generator when desired.
Hurlburt said he had never used the generator for personal reasons and plans to donate it to charity when he leaves office.
CBC reported last night the senior’s complex already had a back-up generator and both search and rescue and EMO weren’t aware of Hurlburt’s offer.
Agriculture Minister John MacDonell took the opposite stance. He repented for spending more than $13,000 of local, custom-made oak office furniture.
“I would definitely like to apologize,” he said.
MacDonell said he didn’t mean to be extravagant and was always within his expense limits, so he didn’t realize there was a problem.
“I thought, if I was going to buy furniture, to have it made by a Nova Scotian was probably a better way to do that,” he said, though he admitted he does not buy custom, local furniture for his home.
Former premier named
Even former premier Rodney MacDonald is now caught up in the all-party embarrassment, acknowledging a projector screen he bought while in office for $2,665 is among the items in question. MacDonald said he contacted the Speaker’s office Thursday and offered to work with the Speaker to clarify if it is an expense he has to pay back to the province.