Testifying before a House of Commons committee on Thursday (May 15) Canada’s Official Opposition NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair insisted the party’s “satellite” offices set up outside of Ottawa were done transparently.
“We respected the rules as they existed,” he said during his testimony at the procedure and House affairs committee looking into allegations that the party used House of Commons funds for partisan activities.
The National Post newspaper reports that “it’s the first time in Canadian history that an opposition leader has been ordered to testify at a committee, according to the Library of Parliament.”
The Conservative government used a procedural manoeuvre to pass a motion obliging the Official Opposition leader to testify on the party’s use of parliamentary resources.
At issue are satellite offices the NDP set up outside Ottawa that housed political staffers whose salaries were being paid by taxpayers. The now-shuttered offices were set up in Montreal and Toronto, with another about to open in Saskatchewan.
Mulcair testified none of the staff mixed their parliamentary and party duties.
Mulcair was questioned primarily by Conservative government MP Stephen Woodworth. “Surely, you understand the ethical issues that arise and the poor appearance that arises from having a House of Commons resources working out of a partisan, political office,” Woodworth said at one point in the questioning.
CBC News - NDP satellite offices: Tom Mulcair maintains party followed rules – here
National Post - Tom Mulcair defends NDP’s satellite offices during committee grilling as Tory MP calls him ‘evasive’ – here
Canadian Press - Five things to know about the Commons hearing into NDP satellite offices – here