Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Support quality journalism
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24weeks
The Globe and Mail
Support quality journalism
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Globe and Mail website displayed on various devices
Just$1.99
per week
for the first 24weeks

var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){console.log("scroll");var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1);

In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the heads of 51 technology and investment firms have laid out recommendations they feel will give British Columbia’s emerging clean-tech industry a much-needed boost.

CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS

Justin Trudeau has vetoed an out-of-court settlement in the long-running dispute over the NDP's allegedly improper use of parliamentary resources for partisan purposes, The Canadian Press has learned.

Multiple sources, not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, say a proposed deal was almost sealed but was nixed by the Prime Minister, who didn't want to condone what he sees as an abuse of taxpayers' money.

Sixty-eight former and current New Democrat MPs were ruled two years ago to have improperly used $2.75-million from their parliamentary office budgets to pay the salaries of staff working in satellite party offices in Montreal, Quebec City and Toronto.

Story continues below advertisement

The board of internal economy – the secretive, multiparty body that polices House of Commons spending – ordered the MPs to reimburse the money. But the New Democrats, maintaining they were victims of a partisan gang-up by Conservatives and Liberals on the board, launched a court challenge and the matter remained unresolved through last fall's election.

After the election, both the victorious Liberals, who now hold a majority of seats on the reconstituted board, and the much-diminished NDP initially seemed willing to settle the matter out of court.

Rather than seek reimbursement from the 68 individuals, the majority of whom lost their incomes when they were defeated in the election, sources say a settlement was proposed that would have seen the NDP accept a reduction in its annual parliamentary research budget. That reduction would have amounted to a reimbursement of less than half the $2.75-million.

The Prime Minister's Office declined to explain why Trudeau put the kibosh on the deal, referring questions to government House leader Dominic LeBlanc, the Liberals' lead member on the board of internal economy.

In an e-mailed statement, Mr. LeBlanc suggested Mr. Trudeau had nothing to do with it, although multiple sources have confirmed that the Prime Minister put an end to negotiations.

"The board of internal economy is the only body responsible for addressing the NDP's satellite offices and this misuse of public funds," Mr. LeBlanc said. He further suggested the Liberals never contemplated settling the matter out of court.

"It is the NDP who decided to begin frivolous judicial proceedings and subsequently asked for settlement negotiations," he said. "We have always been of the view that the NDP misused public funds and should therefore reimburse taxpayers."

Story continues below advertisement

The matter will now have to be resolved in Federal Court, where the NDP's suit to overturn the board's ruling has been languishing for almost two years.

The suit was suspended almost immediately after it was launched at the request of both sides as they took a first stab at negotiating an out-of-court settlement. Those talks went nowhere and the board's lawyer, Guy Pratte, asked last May that the suspension be lifted.

Pratte has since filed a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that the court has no jurisdiction to second-guess decisions of the board. A hearing was scheduled for this May but, at the request of the NDP's lawyer, that has been delayed until Sept. 13.

In the meantime, sources say the Commons administration has refused to pay some expense claims defeated NDP MPs have submitted to cover the costs of moving and shutting down their offices.

Just how much money has been recovered in that manner is unclear. NDP insiders suggest it's around $40,000 but others say it's considerably more than that.

New Democrats have maintained from the outset that administrators wildly inflated the amount of money each MP contributed from their office budgets to the salaries of the satellite office employees.

Story continues below advertisement

That appears to have been borne out in about half a dozen cases where New Democrats have challenged the amount they'd been told to repay.

Former Toronto MP Dan Harris was ordered to repay $141,467 but was effectively exonerated by the Commons' chief financial officer shortly after the election. Harris has said his initial bill included three years of salary for an employee who'd spent only 13 days working out of a short-lived party office in Toronto.

Similarly, former Montreal MP Isabelle Morin was initially ordered to repay $169,117 in salary paid to an employee. Her bill has been reduced to just less than $30,000 because the employee worked most of the time in her riding office, not the Montreal party office.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies