News / Victoria

Green MP Elizabeth May reveals all her expenses, including receipts

A $12 lunch at the Parliamentary Restaurant, a $10 office plant, postage stamps, a $40 network card for a printer. It's all there.

Amidst ongoing controversy around government transparency, Green Party leader Elizabeth May has released receipts for every cent of her $23,684.82 in personal spending. The 327-page document was uploaded to her website Wednesday.

"It shows that I go out for cream a lot," joked the Saanich-Gulf Islands MP.

This is the third time May has published her expense claims, making her arguably the most transparent MP in the House. Her colleagues post their spending on the parliamentary website, but do not disclose receipts.

"I really believe that a lot of my colleagues would do the same thing I'm doing if they were allowed to by their parties," May said.

According to May, party whips discourage transparency as a way to avoid scandals like the one that engulfed Bev Oda last year. The former Conservative minister resigned after it was revealed she billed taxpayers for a $16 glass of orange juice and an air purifier for her office.

That's unfortunate, May said, because requiring MPs to post receipts would end — or at least curb — questionable spending.

"It's a self-correcting system," she said. "Chances are that if you've got a receipt that you don't want the public to see, you shouldn't be billing it to the public."

The documents also reveal that May pinches her pennies. She claimed less than the maximum allowed for per diem, and although she rents a second apartment in Ottawa, she paid out of pocket for things like phone, utilities and Internet.

Doing so allows her to save money from her office budget for things like staff, freedom of information requests and services for constituents, she said.

And in contrast to many of her fellow MPs, May insists on flying economy class.

"I'd say 98 per cent of MPs fly in business class, and I pass them on my way to my seat," she said.

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