09.22.2016 05:25 PM

Moving apology 

Good on Butts and Telford. Better to not take money in the first place, of course. But this is a big mea culpa. 


  1. Curt says:

    And just how long have they been sitting on this mea culpa? All’s fine until caught. Seems weak.

  2. Peter says:

    Yup, pretty good.

  3. BillBC says:

    when you read the breakdown of what they charged, though, it’s jaw-dropping…. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/butts-telford-moving-expenses-1.3774979

    I’m surprised that a smart cookie like Butts would get his hand in the cookie jar like this, and his tu quoque argument about “previous governments” doesn’t make it any better….

  4. Michael Bluth says:

    Interesting move. Not sure how much it helps with the optics in the end. All figures are based on what is provided in the post by Butts.

    Telford’s expense claim goes from $80K to $57K

    Butts’ claim is a little more opaque. because of this part of the Facebook post.

    “Additionally in Gerry’s case, he also decided it was unreasonable to be reimbursed for the land transfer tax associated with the cost of his new family home, over and above what would have been the cost of the tax on a home at the average house price in Ottawa for 2016.”

    I made a very generous (to the public purse being refunded) guesstimate that means Butts is giving back 75% of the re-imbursement for the land transfer tax. That guess is factoring in the less expensive cost of homes in the Ottawa market than the GTA and Butts’ home might have been a little above average.

    Using that guess that means Butts’ expense claim goes from $127K to $87K. In the best case for the taxpayer.

    If the Globe is correct that Harper’s PMO capped moving expenses at $30K for Chiefs of staff, well then this story will have legs.

  5. Mulletaur says:

    The vast majority of those moving expenses should have been paid for by LPC, if by anybody at all other than the two entitlement recipients. This is not enough.

  6. MississaugaPeter says:

    Sorry Warren, I disagree.

    Us 99% have to pay our own moving expenses and realty fees if we take a new job. The truth is we are grateful for a better position or greater salary even if means a longer commute.

    Each Canadian taxpayer chipped in for their move. They were not elected. And it will take most of us 10-20 years to make the same salary that Butts and Telford will make in 4.

  7. Dan Calda says:

    I still think they have nothing to apologize for…we sink further into the Tea Party quagmire.
    But wise none the less.

    Yes…the witch is vanquished…but this is light years ahead in accountability and transparency then the past Gov’t…or any in our history.

    It shall be interesting whether this site is filled with trolls like others

  8. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    One lesson still not learned by the PM, not to mention Butts and Telford, is that if you don’t pay back a satisfactory sum, in the eyes of Joe and Jane Taxpayer – – guess what, it stays in the news cycle. Elementary, my dear exempt staff.

  9. Ridiculosity says:

    Personally, I have no issues with the costs, given that they were within the rules.

    That said, I appreciate the integrity both Butts and Telford have demonstrated in addressing this ‘issue’ quickly – and transparently. (Although I’m quite certain we’ll still be hearing about it years from now.)

    The bottom line? Both of them could be making much higher salaries working in the private sector. Fortunately, both choose to serve Canadians instead.

    From where I stand – after a decade of being embarrassed by and, on countless occasions, horrified by the actions of Harper & Company – that’s something you can’t put a price on.

    They took full responsibility. They said they were sorry.

    Everyone makes mistakes. Few ever admit or try to rectify them.

    • Matt says:

      Uh, they’re only sorry they got caught.

      They were content to keep quiet when their names weren’t attatched to this. It was only after the Globe named them do they say sorry.

      • Michael Bluth says:

        “Both of them could be making much higher salaries working in the private sector. Fortunately, both choose to serve Canadians instead.”

        That’s some messaging that would guarantee to make this as bumpy a ride as possible for Justin and his PMO.

        Screams entitlement loud and clear. As an aside it also shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the private sector job market.

        I’m entitled to my entitlements anyone?

  10. godot10 says:

    I don’t think the Canadian taxpayer should be paying real estate commissions when each of them is netting over a tax free $500K capital gain on the principal residence. Real estate commissions should only be paid by the Canadian taxpayer if they are moving at a loss. They are moving with a huge tax free windfall capital gain profit.

    They aren’t paying back enough.

  11. Gord says:

    Does this mean that lefties are no longer indignant over Oda’s $16 OJ bill…..or maybe Duffy paying back $100K maybe wasn’t so bad.

    Trudeau signed off those expense claims and then when caught Butts and Telford were forced to throw back a few crumbs.

    Liberals have always been entitled …….to whatever they damn well please.

  12. Matt says:

    First, yes the Liberals do deserve some credit for making the costs public, granted just in general terms, even though they did refuse to name the individuals associated with the two biggest claims, however, one line of Butts and Telford’s stands out as just ridiculous. They wrote:

    “As this process relates to us, we were eligible to be reimbursed for a bunch of costs that we don’t feel comfortable about. While the rules were clear and we followed them, we both know that’s not always enough.”

    Ok, first of, they were comfortable with those costs when they submitted their reimbursement claims. They were comfortable with those costs when Trudeau signed off on their reimbursement claims. They were comfortable with those costs when the dropped the cheque for those reimbursement claims into their bank accounts. They felt comfortable in the months since having those costs reimbursed.

    It is only now, after they were outed and identified by the the Globe and Mail article that they suddenly feel uncomfortable with them.

    And secondly, this whole “we were following the rules” defense simply won’t fly considering all the shit they threw at the Conservatives during the Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau’s senate expenses debacle. They were following senate rules.

  13. Matt says:

    How come nobody has assigned a catch “-gate” to this story?

    I suggest Relocategate.

  14. Maps Onburt says:

    What a large pile of hokum. These are the VERY same people who dreamed up the indignation and strategy of complaining about the $16 OJ, the $50K gazebo (for the citizens of,Gravenhurst) and the REPAYMENT of Duffy’s $90K of inappropriate (in Harper’s eyes) expenses – yet somehow now because they are Liberals they are somehow “entitled to their entitlements”. Just like:

    – Catherine McKenna is entitled to spend $6.6K on pictures of her attending (with a large entourage of sycophants more than twice the size of the US and three times that of Great Britain – $950K) to the Green Mecca in Paris.

    – We find out that Philpott spends $4K on limos after swearing in the house that she never took any.

    – Trudeau is able to spend $40K taking his Nanny’s and In-laws on a vacation. Is it any wonder why he saw absolutely nothing wrong approving his buddy Butt’s expenses?

    It took Harper’s government eight years to wrack up those expense claim issues and not ONE of them looks as bad as any of these. The howls and Trudeau’s open letter on the senate expense issue claimed no that Harper should take the blame for the behaviour of his appointees is laughable in light of this. The sense of entitlement and self justification on that Facebook page comments were sickening. The Liberals got it wrong. It’s not “Canada is back”. It’s the Liberal Pigs at the trough.

  15. billg says:

    Stephen Harper forces his Chief of Staff to resign for awkwardly lending money to a bloated wind bag Senator so he can pay back taxpayers 90g’s.
    Justin Trudeau’s Chief of Staff bills the taxpayers 120g’s for moving expenses from Toronto to Ottawa then when caught says I didn’t break any rules and I’m kind of sorry and will probably give some money back.
    I’m as partisan as the next guy and understand all that goes with it, but, holy hypocrisy batman.
    Someone better reel that group in WK, they need help.

  16. Jon Powers says:

    No big deal, nothing to see here. They got caught and paid the money back – no harm done. If anything, they should be given some kind of award. The real villain here is Harper. Why is our Right Wing MSM not focusing on whatever evil shenanigans he may be up to?

  17. Andrew says:

    I get that individuals get money for this, but the issue here is really The libs campaigned on doing things differently, and better. When confronted with these expenses their response was “it’s within the rules”. Well, ya. It’s within the rules, but come on. Lead by example

  18. patrick says:

    When RCMP officers move for work their costs are covered by the government – commissions, land transfer, moving expenses – are the ones that I’m aware of, having been an agent selling the property, so this is across the board paid expense for many government employees and not just a liberal entitlement. Also, these packages are not uncommon in the corporate sector, depending on how much they want you and your position in the company – obviously that doesn’t mean the mail room. Sputtering outrage by everyone trying to make political points is just pointless noise. Further the moving expenses wouldn’t have been as high 8 years ago because those moving from Toronto and Vancouver would have been paying far less in commission and land transfer tax. I’m not arguing that all of this is appropriate, and I’m not sure that every cost is, but that it’s been like this for a long time and that the Liberals have done nothing wrong.

  19. ian turnbull says:

    These folks must have known that submitted and having Justin sign-off on such large expenses would become a big issue for them and their boss if it went public. That means they either thought they could keep it away from the public or just felt their greed/entitlement trumped the political fallout it would create. Or maybe they just thought “lets see what we can get away with…….if it becomes public we will just return some of it.

  20. Mark says:

    It’s not uncommon to offer a relocation benefit but put a cap on it (e.g. $10-15k). They can still use the rest of it (including all realtor commissions, land transfer taxes, etc.) on their tax returns to greatly reduce the amount of income tax they have to pay on income earned after the move.

  21. ottawacon says:

    I think the Liberals are managing to undo any credibility this apology might have had with their positioning in the House. Chagger’s attempt to compare the $300K of the Harper government fell flat on its face, but did get all the media to go look at the numbers – only to see that it took less than a year to reach 60% of nearly a decade’s total, and the per employee rate is staggeringly larger.

    However I have to admit I’d love to know who had the gall to run $97k of expenses through in 2009-10.

  22. Lance says:

    Except in this instance, WE’RE the “company”.

  23. Mark says:

    I don’t see what the problem is. The government was just covering the cost of settling some migrants.

  24. Dan Calda says:

    The usual suspects howling at the moon. So predictable…so partisan.
    Where was Matt and Maps…et al when Harper expensed $750 million on Econonmic Action Plan…self promotion ads.?

    The hypocrisy from the right is epic.

    • MississaugaPeter says:

      I can’t recall of any Conservative hacks getting money. If you can, please list.

      Change, what change? Self-entitled twits in the Liberal camp like in the Conservative camp. Change, what change.

  25. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Contrition and going on the offense are not normally meant to go together. They need to shut up and put down the spade.

  26. Maps Onburt says:

    Come on Scot… he went on the offensive to Harper for hiring a guy who paid off a $90K debt to taxpayers he felt shouldn’t have been allowed. Then he turns around and spends and approves millions on “entitlements” and you won’t allow us to comment? Stop calling names and grow up.

    • Kevin says:

      And that’s the scenario you believe? That someone “…paid off a $90K debt to taxpayers he felt shouldn’t have been allowed”? Wow.

  27. Chris Haines says:

    I’m not a Liberal or member of any other political party. Never have been. I’ve voted both Conservative and Liberal in the past. And in general, I feel that civil servants and politicians are excessively compensated and get way too many perks. For example, they shouldn’t fly business class or be able to stay in 5 star hotels. They should travel like the average Canadian can afford to. After all, they chose to work for the taxpayers and can choose to work for the private sector if they want to jet set and make gobs of money.

    But all of that said, I don’t believe in going after people for following rules. The Conservatives did this to Gen. Andrew Leslie and they were wrong to do so. I get that these moving perks are infuriating to the average Canadian and maybe they should be, but don’t the player, hate the game. Demand changes to policy.

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