New Taxpayer Expense Furor Hits Canadian Media by Etan Vlessing

Feb 23, 2014

CBC president Hubert Lacroix is embroiled in an on-going Ottawa expenses scandal implicating public officials after he wrongly submitted claims for living and meal costs.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

TORONTO - The dodgy expense-allowance claims of Canada's top media personalities on the public payroll is back in the news.

The latest scandal over what Canadian broadcasters spend and claim from the taxpayer has come with news CBC president Hubert Lacroix voluntarily repaid nearly $30,000 in living and meal expenses to the taxpayer.

The repayment was quietly made last fall as Ottawa was convulsed by a expenses scandal that had former CTV broadcasters-turned-federal Senators Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin in its cross-hairs.

Lacroix came clean for wrongly claiming $29,192.41 in living expenses over six years while receiving a $1,500 per-month allowance after deciding not to move to Ottawa.

The CBC auditors put the double-dipping down to an executive compensation rule that went unnoticed by the public broadcaster until Lacroix's expenses were reviewed.

The CBC president in a memo published on the website warned the fresh expense claim furor was likely to get caught up in Ottawa's on-going Senate scandal, which the public broadcaster has widely reported on.

"There has been a lot in the news recently, including on our own news, about the expenses of public officials and there are some who may use my disclosure of this information to attack me or this corporation," Lacroix wrote in the memo.

That's an allusion to a Senate scandal that has seen Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin, both former broadcasters, suspended by the Upper House after bombshell expense claim revelations that implicate the office of prime minister Stephen Harper.

Lacroix's taxpayer expense woes follow the CBC topper earlier this month pointing in another internal memo to "dark clouds on the horizon" that threatens deep cost-cutting at the public broadcaster.

A weak advertising market for the CBC has been compounded by the loss of revenues from televising NHL games from next season after Rogers Communications signed a new contract with the pro hockey league.

"We are working hard to confirm the bottom line," Lacroix said in the memo.

"However, it's clear that tough and more fundamental decisions will have to be made to establish a longer-term, sustainable, financial model for our corporation," he added.

© Hollywood Reporter