Conservative MP Tom Lukiwski (Moose Jaw-Lake Centre, Sask.) reminded a House committee last week that “abuses” involving parliamentarians' free lunches have been well known for years.
During its meeting lunchtime meeting on November 19, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs discussed MPs choosing to take advantage of free lunches made available to politicians while also pocketing a $21 per diem granted to parliamentarians to cover lunch expenses.
As reported by Blacklock's:
“There are many, many, many MPs that have lunches at committees, lunches in the lobby, and still claim the full per diem,” said Lukiwski. “You are supposed to, by the rules, if you have a lunch in the lobby, eliminate that lunch from your daily per diem. I don’t know how many members are doing that.”
...Liberal MP Mark Gerretsen (Kingston & The Islands, Ont.) supported the cutback but noted MPs could still cross the street to enjoy a free meal in the House lobby.
...“Point of order,” said Conservative MP Corey Tochor (Saskatoon-University). “I would make the motion that we remove the free lunches. Somebody has to pay. It’s the taxpayer.”
“There are people going bankrupt across Canada and we’re talking about free lunches for parliamentarians,” said Tochor: “Take care of the nickels and dimes and dollars take care of themselves.”
During the two hour meeting, Tochor moved to “refrain from ordering any catering for the duration of its hybrid meetings,” to which the committee agreed.
Last year's per diem payments to MPs totalled $2 million last year.