POLITICS
04/26/2013 01:46 EDT | Updated 06/26/2013 05:12 EDT

Nova Scotia Liberal confirms suspension of his legislature living allowance

HALIFAX - A Liberal member of the Nova Scotia legislature says he is disputing a ruling by the Speaker that has suspended the living allowance he receives to rent housing in Halifax.

Michel Samson, who represents the Cape Breton riding of Richmond, said Friday that the ruling is in a letter he received from Speaker Gordie Gosse on April 15.

Samson asked Gosse to review the living allowance of $1,470 a month he receives after a media report raised questions about whether the house he rents with his wife in Halifax is their primary residence.

Under the House of Assembly Act, a member is eligible to receive the allowance if he resides more than 25 miles outside of Halifax.

Samson said at issue is the number of nights he spent at the Halifax residence when the legislature wasn't sitting compared to the nights he spent at his home in Arichat.

Samson said he disputes the Speaker's office calculation and has submitted documentation showing he spent 161 nights in Arichat in 2012.

Nowhere in the rules is a specific number of nights or days stipulated, Samson said.

"It's like being told you failed a test and no one is sharing with you what the pass mark was. So in this case a new rule is being created and a new test is being created that does not exist for members," he said.

Gosse couldn't be reached for comment, but he has said he would not discuss the review because it involves a legislature member's personal information.

Samson said the Speaker's office asked for a list of 31 pieces of information including copies of credit card statements, health cards and driver's licences.