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Former governors general can claim office expenses from beyond the grave

Author: Aaron Wudrick 2021/01/26

OTTAWA, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is releasing a federal report regarding former governors general’s expense accounts. The report shows the estate of a former governor general can claim office expenses for six months after their death.

“It was bad enough that taxpayers should have to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in expenses for retired governors general,” said CTF Federal Director Aaron Wudrick. “Now we learn that taxpayers are on the hook for their office expenses even after they’ve departed from this world.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to review expense accounts for former governors general in 2018 after news broke that Adrienne Clarkson had billed taxpayers for more than $1.1 million in expenses since retiring in 2005. The resulting report, dated October, 2019, was obtained by the CTF through an access to information request.

Bizarrely, the report highlights a provision that provides support measures “to the estate of a former Governor General for six months after (their) death.”

The report notes the program was established in 1979 and is inflation-adjusted. As of 2019, the annual expense limit for each former governor general is $206,000. Virtually no transparency is provided regarding those expenses.

Retired governors general also receive an inflation-adjusted annuity for life, which currently amounts to $149,484.

“The time for studying this program is over and it’s time to end these expense accounts completely,” said Wudrick, “Nobody in the real world hands in receipts to a job after quitting. It’s wrong to make taxpayers cover expenses for governors general after they’ve left office. It’s absolutely crazy to make taxpayers pay office expenses for a deceased governor general.”