Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Red River Métis, Winnipeg, MB -
Manitoba Liberals say the PCs need to rein in lavish perks for Manitoba MLAs and end the practice of subsidizing second mortgages for rural and northern MLAs.
Dougald Lamont. Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA for St. Boniface, said some of the lavish perks available to rural and northern MLAs in Manitoba are richer than what's afforded or allowed to Members of Parliament in Ottawa.
The Federal Government bars MPs from claiming expenses on a second home.
Manitoba MLAs who live 50km outside of Winnipeg are eligible for tax-free allowances to cover their personal and living expenses when they have to travel to the legislature from their home community.
Winnipeg MLAs are not eligible.
"Manitoba taxpayers who are struggling to pay their own bills should not be subsidizing second mortgages for NDP and PC MLAs," said Lamont. "Often, these are MLAs and Ministers already making six figures. When so many people in Manitoba can't afford their own home at all, why are we helping them to buy a second or third home?"
The funds provided to MLAs are tax-free.
Temporary Residence Expenses: up to a maximum of $1368 per month for costs related to rental accommodation or for costs related to a second-owned home. The monthly rental benefit is indexed, so it goes up automatically every year.
Monthly expense reports of MLAs, which are all publicly available on the Manitoba Government website, were examined, picking random months for MLAs. The following MLAs accessed taxpayers' money to pay interest or mortgage for a second home in Winnipeg.
These claims reflect one month's subsidy. Total subsidies for the year are of course cumulative.
• Steve Ashton, former NDP Minister and MLA for Thompson, His Jan 1. 2016 claim shows $ 354.27 for one month of mortgage interest.
• Peter Bjornson, former NDP Minister and MLA for Gimli. His April 1, 2015 claim shows $716.34 for one month of mortgage interest.
• Drew Caldwell, former NDP Minister and MLA for Brandon East. His April 1, 2015 claim shows $264.88 for one month of mortgage interest.
• Josh Guenter, PC MLA for Borderland. His June 8, 2022 claim shows $384.19 for mortgage interest, $290 in City of Winnipeg property taxes, $297.74 in condo fees.
• Reg Helwer, PC Minister and MLA for Brandon West. His claim for April 7, 2021 shows $565.22 for mortgage interest, $282.49 for condo fees, $376.32 for Bell MTS security
• Derek Johnson, PC Minister and MLA for Interlake. His claim for April 3, 2021 shows $285.45 in interest, $243.00 in City of Winnipeg Taxes and $807.52 in Condo Fees and Parking
• Nesbitt, Greg. PC Minister and MLA for Riding Mountain, Minister. Claim submitted April 12, 2021. Mortgage interest $324.63. Condo Fee $261.45. Parking $110.00.
• Doyle Piwniuk, PC Minister and MLA for Turtle Mountain. Submitted March 31, 2021. Condo Fees $389.08. Manitoba Hydro $31.29. Mortgage Interest $540.42. Internet/Cable $70.51.
• Stan Struthers, NDP Minister and MLA for Dauphin. Submitted Dec 14, 2015. $210 in mortgage interest, $345 in property taxes.
• Jeff Wharton. PC Minister and MLA for Red River North. Submitted Dec 6, 2021. Internet/Cable $28.00. Mortgage Interest $419.04. Condo fees $599.48. $231.11 condo taxes. $590.97