Conservatives barred from using rule that lets MPs bill taxpayers for home internet – National

Members of Pierre Poilievre’s Conservative caucus have been told they are no longer allowed to charge taxpayers for home internet services.

A breakdown of recent expenses shows 31 Tory MPs have charged taxpayers for home internet services for either themselves or staff, according to an analysis by The Canadian Press. The information was first reported by the National Post.

The MPs include former interim party leader Candice Bergen and fellow Manitoba MP James Bezan, along with Calgary MP Michelle Rempel Garner and British Columbia representative Mark Strahl.

A spokeswoman for the House of Commons said the practice is allowed under existing rules for members of Parliament, who can expense the fees through their office budgets.

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As was the case for many Canadians, the COVID-19 pandemic forced MPs and their employees to work from home. But their offices have now been back open for months, and no health restrictions currently require them to work out of a home office.

No rules have been broken, but the opposition whip’s office told MPs that a new policy has been set for caucus, according to a recent email obtained by The Canadian Press.

The email said it has been decided that no caucus member or employee can expense home internet costs, following a discussion with Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre.

The message said if the party expects Canadians to see Conservatives as responsible financial stewards, “we must lead by example.” It adds that the party plans to propose that the current House of Commons policy end for MPs of all stripes.

Click to play video: 'Canadian families hit with ‘interest rate uppercut’ due to liberal policies: Poilievre'

Canadian families hit with ‘interest rate uppercut’ due to liberal policies: Poilievre

Since he became party leader in September, Poilievre has been laser focused on economic and affordability issues including inflation, housing costs and food prices.

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“With Canadians continuing to face a cost-of-living crisis, spurred in part by irresponsible government spending, we do not expect that taxpayers should be left paying the bill for the home internet of members of Parliament,” Kerry-Lynne Findlay, the chief opposition whip, said in a statement Thursday.

“While these expenses were allowed under the standing policy of the House of Commons, Conservatives will cease any expensing of home internet charges going forward.”

Findlay said members of the Conservative caucus have been informed of the new policy.

The decision comes as Tory MPs prepare for a two-day caucus retreat that starts on Friday. The House of Commons resumes sitting next week.

&copy 2023 The Canadian Press

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