Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday November 1, 2018
Two Former GGs on the hot seat for their lavish ways
Canada’s governors general deserve continued financial support once they retire but they need to be more transparent and accountable for their expenses, Justin Trudeau said Wednesday.
The prime minister made the comment after a Postmedia report revealed that Adrienne Clarkson, who was governor general from 1999 to 2005, has billed more than $1 million in expenses since leaving the viceregal job.
Besides their pensions, former governors general get lifetime public funding for office and travel expenses through a program that has existed since 1979, on the premise that governors general never truly retire.
Trudeau said the federal government will review the program to determine “best practices” for supporting former governors general.
“These are people who’ve stepped up and offered tremendous service to this country but Canadians expect a certain level of transparency and accountability and we’re going to make sure we’re moving forward in a thoughtful way,” Trudeau said on his way into the Liberals’ weekly caucus meeting.
Clarkson has billed more than $100,000 to the government nine times in the 12 years since she left Rideau Hall.
That’s the threshold for reporting the billings separately, including identifying the claimant, in the federal government’s annual Public Accounts. The Public Accounts disclose no detail about the nature of the expenses.
Expenses of less than $100,000 billed by former governors general are lumped together in a general “temporary help services” category and do not identify who claimed them. (Source: Toronto Star)
Earlier in October, another former Governor-General, Michaelle Jean failed, in her bid for a second term as secretary general of la Francophonie Friday as members chose Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo.
Three days after his government withdrew its support for Jean, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisted the move was not part of a deal to advance Canada’s bid for a United Nations Security Council seat in 2020.
Jean had been dogged by stories of excessive spending and questionable expenses during her mandate.
After a four-year term marked by controversy, the former governor general was considered a long shot for a second stint, but she refused to withdraw her candidacy even as support dwindled. (Source: CTV News)