NDP MP Niki Ashton makes partial repayments for taxpayer-funded family vacation

NDP MP Niki Ashton took her husband and two children on a $17,641.12 trip across Laurentian Canada to meet with unnamed 'stakeholders' around Christmas 2022 and early 2023.

NDP MP Niki Ashton makes partial repayments for taxpayer-funded family vacation
The Canadian Press / Justin Tang
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A taxpayer-funded excursion for an opposition MP and her family has prompted partial repayments over expenditures widely considered inappropriate.

NDP MP Niki Ashton took her husband and two children on a $17,641.12 trip across Laurentian Canada to meet with unnamed “stakeholders” around Christmas 2022 and early 2023.

“I met separately with stakeholders in Québec,” she clarified.

Her expenses include $13,619.90 in airfare and other transportation, $2,508.39 for accommodations within Canada, and $1,512.83 for meals and other incidentals.

Ashton released a statement on Monday expressing regret but did not indicate the balance owing on her trip. 

A separate media report found only $2,900 had been repaid to taxpayers. 

MP Ashton did not name the people she met with, but disclosed they had discussions about the French language. 

At least for that portion of the trip, the member of Parliament reimbursed taxpayers to “protect the privacy of the stakeholders I met with.”

“[I] repaid the expenses incurred in Montreal and Québec City,” she told CBC News

Social media posts indicate her family attended winter attractions in Québec City, including Village Vacances Valcartier outside the city centre.

Ashton skated with her children while visiting the city's German Christmas Market.

“I believe in accountability and setting the record straight,” she said. 

However, the veteran MP refused reimbursement for expenses incurred by bringing her husband to Ottawa after she reportedly claimed having a bedbug issue with her apartment there.

In her statement, she described the bedbug situation as “urgent” following spraying that occurred in her building on December 20.

“This expense was approved by the House of Commons,” Ashton said. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh concurred that was the case, defending the member of his caucus.

“The discourse around this House of Commons-approved travel has become a distraction to the important work New Democrats are doing for Canadians,” Ashton claimed, which she said included death threats, harassment and abuse. 

Still, MPs expressed outrage over her meagre attendance at Parliament as of late. 

Parliamentary travel records indicate Ashton came to Ottawa for four days during the fall of 2022 sitting before the Québec trip. 

She then flew to Ottawa five days after the Christmas recess to address the bedbugs in her apartment.

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