POLITICS

NDP barred from spending House money on regional outposts

04/08/2014 05:35 EDT | Updated 06/08/2014 05:59 EDT
The New Democratic Party may have to start picking up the tab for those controversial out-of-town "satellite" offices in Quebec and Saskatchewan.

According to a bulletin issued by the shadowy all-party Board of Internal Economy on Tuesday, as of next week, "no employee of a Member or House Officer may have as their regular place of work any space in premises owned, leased or under the effective control of a political party."

Here's the full text of the notice (mobile users can read the document here):

Via the Members' bylaws, here's a complete list of what activities are explicitly considerednot parliamentary functions:

(a) activities related to the private interests of a Member or a Member’s immediate family;

(b) activities related to the administration, organization and internal communications of a political party, including participation in a party leadership campaign or convention, solicitations of contributions and solicitations of membership to a political party;

(c) activities related to a Member’s re-election;

(d) activities designed, in the context of a federal, provincial, or municipal election, or any other local election, to support or oppose a political party or an individual candidate; and

(e) activities that are related to a meeting of an electoral district association, as defined in the Canada Elections Act, and that are carried out for nomination, electoral or sponsorship purposes or that relate to soliciting contributions or membership.

Interestingly, the notice also confirms that the board will continue its investigation into allegations related to the "improper use of House funds," which could also include the NDP's taxpayer-funded mass mail drop on the eve of last winter's byelections.

Tories, Liberals push investigation of flyers

Although Elections Canada has initially cleared the party of any expense-related wrongdoing, Canadian Press reported Monday night that the Board also decided — almost certainly against the objections of the two New Democrat members — to send the agency more details on the content of the flyers in question, which allegedly arrived just after the writs had dropped.

Not surprisingly, it didn't take long for the New Democrats to fire back with an angry — and not remotely apologetic — response, in which House Leader Peter Julian claimed that the board had actually "absolved the NDP," and accusing the other parties of "changing the rules, behind closed doors, for partisan reasons":