POLITICS
08/12/2014 08:27 EDT | Updated 10/12/2014 05:59 EDT

NDP satellite offices issue back before Commons board today

The New Democratic Party may find out today exactly how much money it will be asked to reimburse the House of Commons for expenses related to controversial, now closed, satellite offices in Montreal, Quebec City and Toronto.

Later this morning, the Board of Internal Economy — the secretive all-party panel charged with overseeing House of Commons spending — will gather behind closed doors to discuss the latest developments in its ongoing investigation into whether the party broke House rules by using its parliamentary budget to pay the salary costs to staff the out-of-town outposts.

The board was initially expected to hand down its verdict last month, but hours before that meeting was scheduled to get underway, the New Democrats turned over stacks of fresh evidence to support their contention that those expenses were entirely legitimate.

As a result, the meeting was postponed to give both the board members and House administrators the opportunity to review the newly disclosed documents before coming to a final conclusion on what, if any repayment may be necessary.

The New Democrats have already served notice that they're prepared to take the matter to court.

On Monday night, NDP MP and board member Philip Toone sent a letter to his colleagues in which he formally requested that Tuesday's meeting be held in public.

"I fully expect that the information that we provided to the board at the last meeting will exonerate us of any partisan charges," he wrote.

"But the public will not be able to judge that for themselves since the board continues to have meetings behind closed doors."

The party also sent out an advisory inviting reporters to the putative venue for today's meeting, where they will, according to the notice, "try, yet again, to allow access to the …. meeting."