Speaker releases auditor general’s full list of expenses - Metro US

Speaker releases auditor general’s full list of expenses

Len Goucher must have had a very cramped office.

The former Tory MLA from Bedford-Birch Cove expensed more computers, more cameras, more printers and more video cameras than any other MLA. He also spent taxpayer dollars on a Dance Dance Revolution videogame.

His record $38,694 in assets expensed was more than seven other MLAs combined.

But he was by no means alone.

A second round of the spending scandal kicked off yesterday when Speaker Charlie Parker released auditor general Jacques Lapointe’s full list of political expenses from 2006 to June 2009.

Taxpayers have bought everything from a 50-inch LCD TV for former cabinet minister Carolyn Bolivar-Getson to digital book readers for Goucher and former Tory MLA Mark Parent.

Interim Tory leader Karen Casey, whose expenses include five TVs and a $300 electric fireplace, had been calling for the full list to be released. She said her party would urge all current and former members to defend their expenses or repay the government.

“I can’t answer for Mr. Goucher but I can tell you that I expect all Nova Scotians will be listening with interest to what all MLAs from all parties have in this particular document,” Casey said.

Goucher didn’t return telephone calls for comment yesterday.

The letter also names the 28 MLAs who double-dipped by expensing something multiple times.

Four MLAs now in government double-dipped for over $1,000 — Clarrie MacKinnon, Percy Paris, Leonard Preyra and Michele Raymond. Current Tory MLA Murray Scott and former Tory fisheries minister Ron Chisholm also crossed the thousand-dollar mark.

Premier Darrell Dexter said yesterday his $12,600 for six computers was needed for his constituency office, which is one of the busiest in the province.

He reiterated he plans to overhaul the system.

“The rules with respect to these things were extraordinarily porous. The guidelines, in terms of purchases, were almost nonexistent,” he said.

Dexter was asked if he regretted not raising the issue during the years he was opposition leader.

“The best indicator of the way we feel about this is what we said we are going to do,” he said. “I did not preside over this system and the creation of it, but I will preside over the end of it.”

Costing taxpayers
• Carolyn Bolivar-Getson, former Tory MLA, Lunenburg West, expensed: 1 generator for $3,800, 1 50-inch Plasma TV for $1,600, 6 computers, 3 cameras. Overall expenses: $17, 512.

• Richard Hurlburt, former Tory MLA, Yarmouth, expensed: 1 generator installed in home for $8,000, 2 TVs, 3 cameras. Overall expenses: $33,200.

• Darrell Dexter, NDP premier, MLA for Cole Harbour, expensed: 6 computers totalling $12,600, 1 $2,150 Canon 30D camera, 1 briefcase. Overall expenses: $19,299.

• Michelle Raymond, NDP MLA, Halifax Atlantic, expensed: Double-expensed 10 times totalling $3,072 (more than any other MLA). Overall expenses: $6,712.

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