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October 27, 2017 8:44 pm

Doherty Defends Travel Expenses

Saturday, October 15, 2016 @ 11:05 AM

Prince George, B.C. – The Parliament of Canada has released the 2016-2017 first quarter (April 1, 2016 – June 30, 2016) member expenditures report, and no surprise here, western MPs travel expenses are among the highest in the country.

Among the trio of northern British Columbia MPs, Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP Bob Zimmer’s costs were the lowest at $38,861.194. Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen was around $5,000 higher at $43,604.96 while Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty’s expenses were highest at $48,686.43.

Cariboo-Prince George MP-elect Todd Doherty - 250News archive photo

Cariboo-Prince George MP-elect Todd Doherty – 250News archive photo

So what put Doherty on top? A designated travellers expense of $12,364.37. The expense allows MPs to designate one person – usually their spouse – to fly to and from Ottawa.

Doherty makes no excuses for the expense though, claiming it was a conscious decision on his part.

“Yeah, western MPs have the highest rate of divorce,” says Doherty. “And I spent a lifetime away from my family when I was in aviation and I left aviation to focus on my family.”

In politics he says it commonly means family “gets left on the backburner” – something he decided he wouldn’t be doing.

“I think it’s very important that my wife and my family are part of this process because I’ll be very clear – I have no intention of working on another marriage.”

He adds his expenses are also high because he wants to be highly visible in his riding.

“I’ve said it right from the beginning I would likely be one of the highest in travelling expenses because when we were campaigning, we heard that people wanted to see their member of parliament,” says Doherty.

“They wanted to see their member of parliament to remember that they don’t live in Ottawa, they live in our riding and they are present, they are visible, and I heard that loud and clear.”


I would suggest he consider coach seats instead of first class when he travels. That would ease some of the cost. Take your own peanuts instead of the airlines…

    Does he fly first class?

What about the three Liberal Ministers that flew all the way from Ottawa just to tell us that LNG was approved. Couldn’t that have been handled with a phone call? An email? A fax? Skype.

But then, it’s politically expedient when giving good news, to have your face and presence where the good news is.

Never mind that excursion probably cost $10,000, basically the total taxes in a year for a lower middle class worker. Imagine working at Costco all year, and all your taxes did, was pay for a photo op.

I wish all politicians of all stripes would realize real people work at real jobs and pay taxes, and they should treat that money with respect. If you don’t need to travel – don’t.

If Doherty is concerned about saving his marriage and keeping his travel expenses low, why doesn’t he take advantage of Greyhound’s companion fare offer? He would definitely meet some interesting characters on the bus but at least his travel expenses would be more reasonable. Start making some sacrifices Doherty!

    You should put a sarc tag with that comment.

No complaints here, at least he is not MIA for his riding, like his predecessor Dick Harris was. Also nice to have an MP who actually lives in his riding, unlike Harris who lived somewhere in the Okanagan.

    I don’t see a problem with it either, he’s doing his job.

So he had a job that kept him from his family…so he quit that one… then he takes another job that all of Canada means he will spend lots of time away..but he then spends stupid amounts of money to bring his wife with him? Who else does he bring..he says “family” but never mentions who…

Is he saying the other MPs don’t care about their families ? How much does this visibility cost? Seems it only costs us tax payers to fly his entire family with him …

    P Val….. he has two grown children and so does she. All six have been shown in photos at Parlament Hill. Lucky neither have grandchildren otherwise they’d be on the tab too

Hard to criticize the guy for this when we have a PM jetting all over the world, towing his wife.

    That’s the PMs job..every PM brings his wife on those kind of trips. always has..

      It’s Doherty’s job to represent his riding. Nothing in the job description states that he must live essentially single while actually being married. So providing a stipend for his wife to travel to Ottawa to be with him cannot be criticized any more than the PM being accompanied by his wife.

As opposition critic for fisheries and oceans .
How does this address his job description ?
During the first sitting of the 42nd Parliament Todd Doherty tabled 4 private members bills:

Bill C-211 An Act to Establish a National Framework on PTSD and Mental Health Challenges with First Responders, Veterans and Military

Bill C-209 This enactment amends the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to require the Correctional Service of Canada, in certain circumstances to disclose details of statutory release of a high profile offender. Making public disclosure of the details of the release and informing any victims of such release.

Bill C-207 This enactment designates the third day of March in each and every year as a day for the people of Canada to express appreciation for the heroic work of members of the Canadian Forces and emergency response professionals, including police officers, firefighters and paramedics

Bill C-208 This enactment amends the Canada Evidence Act to direct courts on how to interpret a numeric date that is in dispute

    Easy ….. an MP has Parliamentary responsibilities not only related to the portfolios one might have, but also as a general member.

    If you would have been listening or reading any of the thoughts and platforms of Todd Doherty’s during his election campaign, you would know that the private member bills he brought forward address those thoughts, interests and concerns of his, some relating directly to the region he represents and incidents which have occurred here.

    At least he is producing some work that can be seen. Hopefully he can lobby to get one or two through the house before the next election.

    As opposition critic, his job is not to introduce private member bills. That is the job of the Minister responsible. The opposition critic’s job is to do just that, critique the Bill(s) presented in the house.

      As I can see that you are praising Doherty here, it feels like you were reaching to find reason for that praise. Yes, the introduction of the private members’ bills is proof that Doherty is doing something. They are generally seen as a waste of time as they rarely amount to anything, and none of the 4 bills he introduced are related to his actual portfolio. You then turn around and state that it’s not his job to introduce bills.

      Let’s be more blunt here. Todd Doherty has higher expenses than other area MPs. Todd Doherty has been entirely invisible in regards to critiquing the Fisheries portfolio. Todd Doherty has attended every single rodeo, fall fair, building supply store opening, etc in the last year. Todd Doherty has spent numerous hours introducing 4 private members’ bills that had no chance of proceeding. Todd Doherty loves marriage. Todd Doherty left a job with lots of travel time for one that involves lots of travel time, but has an employer that doesn’t mind paying extra for wife travel. Todd Doherty has a nice smile. Todd Doherty is largely going to be completely ineffective as an opposition MP because that is the case with all opposition MPs. Todd Doherty is no different than our previous MP who was invisible while being a member of the sitting government. Todd Doherty is the best.

      Some of these are fact and some of these are opinion. Some of these are both. All in all, it must be nice to be Todd Doherty.

He’s playing within the rules and it is not a bad thing to want to keep one’s marriage and family healthy.
I applaud Mr. Doherty for not putting the family on the back burner until he puts in enough time for a gold plated pension.

At least he knows where his primary residence is !

A bit more detail regarding the Quarterly Members Expenditure Report which includes the following categories(not just travel and accommodation):
1. Employees’ salaries
2. Service contracts
3. Travel (includes secondary residence, accommodation and employees’ travel
4. Hospitality
5. Gifts
6. Advertising
7. Printing
8. Offices – constituency office leases, etc.

Each MP has a different constituency area ranging from hundreds of thousands km2 to the low teens. The number of electors living in the constituency also varies.

There are several ways of comparing the costs of operating the support for a member in the constituency, travel within the constituency as well as travel to Ottawa plus accommodation in the city.

In my opinion the key ones are total cost as well as cost per constituent.

Here is the cost for the 15 highest costing MPs in BC

By cost per constituent
1 Fast, Hon. Ed Abbotsford $1.86
2 Qualtrough, Hon. Carla Delta $1.72
3 Cullen, Nathan Skeena—Bulkley Valley $1.71
4 Aldag, John Cloverdale—Langley City $1.60
5 Sidhu, Jati Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon $1.58
6 Stewart, Kennedy Burnaby South $1.48
7 Davies, Don Vancouver Kingsway $1.48
8 Sarai, Randeep Surrey Centre $1.48
9 Doherty, Todd Cariboo—Prince George $1.43
10 Wong, Hon. Alice Richmond Centre $1.42
11 Zimmer, Bob Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies $1.41
12 Peschisolido, Joe Steveston—Richmond East $1.41
13 Blaney, Rachel North Island—Powell River $1.40
14 Julian, Peter New Westminster—Burnaby $1.38
15 Murray, Joyce Vancouver Quadra $1.36

Todd Doherty has fewer expenses than 8 other BC MPs and is considerably less than Nathan Cullen and just 2 lower than Bob Zimmer.

By total expenditure
1 Qualtrough, Hon. Carla Delta $129,068
2 Fast, Hon. Ed Abbotsford $128,978
3 Aldag, John Cloverdale—Langley City $125,426
4 Garrison, Randall Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke $117,710
5 McLeod, Cathy Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo $116,585
6 Doherty, Todd Cariboo—Prince George $113,834
7 Blaney, Rachel North Island—Powell River $113,803
8 Fry, Hon. Hedy Vancouver Centre $113,089
9 Stewart, Kennedy Burnaby South $112,393
10 May, Elizabeth Saanich—Gulf Islands $112,029
11 Cullen, Nathan Skeena—Bulkley Valley $111,209
12 Julian, Peter New Westminster—Burnaby $110,624
13 Zimmer, Bob Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies $110,490
14 Cannings, Richard South Okanagan—West Kootenay $109,995
15 Davies, Don Vancouver Kingsway $107,185

Here there are 5 BC MPs who spend more than Todd Doherty and is within 3% of the Cullen/Doherty/Zimmer trio.

As to the actual cost of mileage and air fares, here are the 6 biggest spenders in BC

1 Fast, Hon. Ed $55,510.02
2 Qualtrough, Hon. Carla $49,877.41
3 Doherty, Todd $39,447.23
4 Zimmer, Bob $31,676.06
5 Sarai, Randeep $28,379.57
6 Cullen, Nathan $28,183.40

Qualtrough’s costs are so high because she spent $19,184.21 on her own travel, $11,081.28 for a designated traveller as well as $19,611.92 on dependents.

The question is, was this just for the first quarter or is that going to continue?

Finally the question for all 41 MPs from BC would be: “how many days did they spend on Parliament Hill in their offices and in the house”.

For the past 150 years we’ve willfully given billions of dollars to rich, fast talking “fat cats” to rule over us and steal our money. All the while convincing ourselves we are living free in a democracy.

British Columbia won’t have been in confederation for 150 years till 2023 .

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