Canadians Will No Longer Be Paying the Home Internet Bills of MPs
Sometimes, Members of Parliament can work together, especially when it seemingly benefits voters (or when there’s public outrage).
According to The Canadian Press, taxpayers will no longer have to pay for the home internet bills of their MPs. The Liberals and Conservatives both agreed to axe members from having taxpayers foot home internet as an expense.
Government House leader Mark Holland’s office said on Thursday the plan is now for all parties to similarly follow suit. The changes come after expenses were analyzed by the media and scrutinized as unnecessary.
Expense data analyzed earlier by the National Post showed how many MPs were expensing home internet by party, from the period of July 1 to September 30, 2022, from 338 MPs. The Canadian Press dived deeper to show some more figures of MPs by party expensing home internet at their primary residence:
- Conservatives: 31
- Liberals: 27
- Bloc Québécois: 11
- NDP: 4
Data showed home internet bills varied. Some were at less than $70 monthly, while rural MPs had expenses of over $200 per month. From July to September, taxpayers were billed just over $16,000 for home internet service to 57 MPs (I guess that’s still cheaper than $54 million for ArriveCan).
A House of Commons spokesperson said no rules were broken and the practice is allowed by MPs to expense internet through their office budgets. During COVID-19 lockdowns many MPs were working from home and some still do, such as Liberal MP Hedy Fry, who says she is immunocompromised.
However, Franco Terrazzano with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation said MPs working from home should not expense bills on taxpayers.
“We live in a new world, but that doesn’t mean taxpayers should be paying more,” said Terrazzano to the National Post. “Many people work from home, so if politicians want to expense taxpayers for home internet, then they need to find other ways to save money.”
Base salaries for MPs start at $185,800, but there are also bonuses for cabinet ministers, committee chairs or other roles.