MLAs must answer for ‘dumb moves’: Minister - Metro US

MLAs must answer for ‘dumb moves’: Minister

While most MLAs have either defended or stayed mum on their colleagues’ spending, the one who bought the least doesn’t mind being blunt.

“The word stupid comes up pretty quickly,” Energy Minister Bill Estabrooks said Thursday when asked about some now-infamous expenses.

While many MLAs only expensed items that can be clearly linked to running an office, the Timberlea-Prospect representative’s well-known eschewing of technology made him the legislature’s thriftiest member. He expensed $2,325 on assets over three years and one third of that was for a used desk.

“I have no need for a loveseat in my constituency office,” he said. “I have no need for an expensive camera.”

Initially all MLAs asked by Metro, including the three party leaders, said they didn’t believe anyone deliberately padded their expenses. As more and more embarrassing items came out they began simply saying it was up to individuals to defend their purchases.

Estabrooks told reporters he doesn’t believe there’s a link between plush offices and getting re-elected. He believes MLAs should have to show receipts for all expenses.

“This is a huge embarrassment. It’s an embarrassment for us as elected officials because we’re all tarred by the same brush,” he said.

Estabrooks said his colleagues are generally “pretty responsible people, but some of those people have made some dumb moves and now they have to be answerable for them.”

Former Tory cabinet minister Carolyn Bolivar-Getson said Thursday she is returning questionable items she had expensed in office. Among them are a generator, computers, digital cameras, desks, printers, and a TV. Former Tory minister Len Goucher, who had the highest expense total, told media Thursday he refutes some of the auditor general’s report and will release a statement.

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