Taxpayers squeezed for more than juice

Bev Oda, come back – all is forgiven!

Oda was a rare minister driven out of Stephen Harper’s cabinet. She resigned from Parliament itself after a media uproar for having expensed a $16 orange juice to taxpayers while on government business.

Oda was an outstanding minister – she saved Canadian taxpayers millions of dollars by cutting wasteful foreign aid spending. But that one orange juice became a symbol of her personal style.

Sixteen bucks. But Harper’s core political identity is one of respect for taxpayer money. So Oda was out.

But now comes news that another Harper political appointee has racked up $760,000 in travel expenses since 2006. A bit more, and he could buy himself a private plane.

Makes a $16 orange juice look pretty small.

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  • ontario john

    But good news on the civil service front. The second most oppressed workers in Canada have voted to go on strike. Yes, the poverty stricken provincial civil servants in Ontario have voted a strike mandate. The most important workers in need of more money are of course Ontario teachers. And here in Ontario where money is no object, I’m sure both groups will get what they want.

  • Maurixio Garcia S

    The poor gets poorer and rich gets richer,Harper and his whole team of fraudsters should resign,and form their private mafia.

    • Ed Ellison

      These are civil servants, the unelected arm of our government racking up unbelievable expenses.
      And they are overwhelming liberal (Marxist) in political outlook.

      • David

        Don’t let facts get in the way of mo,s rage against the machine.

  • Glenfilthie

    It’s not the money, BCF. It is the crime, and it SHOULD be the same for $16.00 as for $760,000.00. You wouldn’t blow your own money like that, why let snivel servants do it?

  • simus1

    The CHRC should be closed, its employees dismissed and all its works sent to landfill. The offices it occupied should be bricked shut for 10 years.

    Next problem.

    The present appointee and his even more egregious predecessor were both supposedly Conservative Party stalwarts well deserving of the highest level serial patronage appointments available by the PM. It is breathtaking to think about what the quality level must have been for those who didn’t make the cut.

    In any case, all his “working conditions” were presumably negotiated prior to his assuming office, so it seems a bit much to be berating him now for his “expenses”.

    • Minicapt

      His ‘working conditions’ would have been negotiated with his civil service peers, who would be inclined to “not rock the boat”.

      Cheers

  • marty_p

    Barbara Hall is no doubt scheming to figure out how she can top this.

    • RevnantDream

      She probably already has

  • born_bred_canadian
  • Frances

    According to CRA regulations, he gets to keep his points: “Your employees may collect loyalty points, such as frequent flyer points or air miles, on their personal credit cards when travelling on business trips, even though you reimburse them for the amounts they spend……..Your employees do not have to include in their income the value of the rewards they received or enjoyed from the points they collect on these business trips, unless…” (p. 25 Employers’ Guide: Taxable Benefits and Allowances).

    However, it might well be a different story for reimbursement for his transportation to & from Winnipeg, as well as his living expenses while in Ottawa. From p 15 – 16 of the same publication: “If you provide free lodging, or free board and lodging, to an employee, the employee receives a taxable benefit. As a result, you have to add to the employee’s salary the fair market value of the board and lodging you provide……If you provide subsidized lodging, or subsidized board and lodging, to an employee, the employee receives a taxable benefit. As a result, you have to add…” So, even if our man’s contract specifies he is to be reimbursed for living expenses in Ottawa, CRA regulations state that this is a taxable benefit and must be reported on his T4. The only exception (other than a wierd one for for players on sports teams) is if said board, lodging and/or transportation is provided to “…an employee who works at a special work site or a remote location…” Somehow I doubt Ottawa qualifies as being other special or remote. So the transportation to and from Winnipeg is also a taxable benefit. Just ask the Fort Mac guys. They got dinged a few years back when CRA reassessed those who ‘commute’.

  • AKAHorace

    I though that the whole fuss over a 16$ orange juice was populist bullshit as well. If you travel a lot you will occasionally book into ripoff hotels by mistake. Big deal. Complaining about this makes you look tough but ignores the real budget problems.