North Okanagan-Shuswap MP defends spending

A report shows that Mel Arnold had total expenses of $99,711 during the second quarter of 2016

Mel Arnold

It costs money to represent the public, according to North Okanagan-Shuswap’s MP.

A report shows that Mel Arnold had total expenses of $99,711 during the second quarter of 2016 — April 1 to June 30.

“Staff salary is a big part of it and travel between Ottawa and the riding is not inexpensive,” he said.

“We have a budget to follow and we do our best to stick to it.”

Of that $99,711, $74,289 came from Arnold’s budget, including salaries, accommodation expenses and office leases, while $25,422 was provided by the House of Commons for travel and materials.

The report shows that $402 was spent on employees during the second quarter, while there was $1,630 for member’s accommodation expenses, $1,749 for the member’s per diem expenses and $2,343 for the member’s secondary residence expenses.

A total of $6,795 went to constituency office leases, insurance and utilities.

No money was spent on householder communications with constituents, and it’s anticipated costs related to a recent survey on electoral reform will be accounted for in the third quarter.

In terms of travel, there was $13,819 in the second quarter for Arnold, and most of it was for travel between the nation’s capital and North Okanagan-Shuswap.

Arnold says that while there is business to conduct in Ottawa, he also needs to be in the riding to meet with constituents.

There were also expenses of $11,589 for his wife to travel.

Arnold says travel costs for a spouse are part of the support package provided to all MPs.

“We are part of a team and she helps me function every day,” he said.

“The divorce rate among MPs is seven times higher than the national average and I don’t want to be part of that statistic.”