OTTAWA– The Liberal Party is putting forward a comprehensive plan to increase openness and transparency in Parliament, said Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau today.
“Canadians’ faith in public office holders and politics has been seriously shaken in recent weeks by the ethics scandal rooted in a $90,000 payment by the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff to a sitting legislator and the continued secrecy of the Harper Conservatives,” said Mr. Trudeau. “Our proposal seeks to restore confidence in Parliament by making expenses more transparent than ever before.”
The Liberal Party’s Open Parliament plan would do the following: require proactive disclosure of travel and hospitality expenses, open-up meetings of the secretive House of Commons Board of Internal Economy, require quarterly online expense reports that are easily accessible by Canadians, and work with the Auditor General to develop public guidelines to ensure proper spending in Parliament.
“Parliamentarians have the privilege of serving Canadians and Canadians rightly expect them to adhere to the highest ethical standards,” said Mr. Trudeau. “As a starting point, Liberal MPs and Senators will be voluntarily adopting a new system of proactive disclosure of travel and hospitality expenses in the fall, and we encourage all parties to do the same.”
The Liberal Party’s Open Parliament proposals are as follows:
- Require Members of Parliament and Senators to proactively disclose travel and hospitality expenses made by them and their staff.
- Introduce legislation to make meetings of the Board of Internal Economy of the House of Commons open and transparent to the public. The ability of the committee to go in-camera where necessary (for example, on sensitive HR matters) will remain, but not as is currently the case, as a default. The Senate Board of Internal Economy is already public.
- Create a common, quarterly and more detailed online expense report for spending by Members of Parliament and the Senate that is also more easily accessed and usable by the public from the home page of the Parliament of Canada website.
- The House and Senate Boards of Internal Economy should work with the Auditor General to develop mandatory performance audits of the House of Commons and Senate administration every three years, and public guidelines under which the Auditor General is called in to perform more detailed audits of parliamentary spending.