Opposition NDP calls on province to launch inquiry into Calgary councillor’s expenses
Coun. Joe Magliocca, left, and Coun. Jeromy Farkas speak during a recent council meeting.
CALGARY -- The provincial opposition is calling on the Alberta government to launch an inquiry into spending by a Calgary councillor, saying it’s a "serious misuse of taxpayer dollars."
NDP MLA Joe Ceci sent a letter to Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu asking for the investigation. Ceci says the minister has previously accused Calgary council of "excessive spending" and recent instances of misspending by Coun. Joe Magliocca should be looked into.
As first reported by Postmedia through a Freedom of Information request, Magliocca expensed $6,400 at a Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Quebec. That amount was double any of the nine other councillors and mayor who attended.
It was later revealed a number of the politicians from other centres who Magliocca claimed to be dining with said they couldn't recall having met him or weren't at the meetings listed.
Magliocca rose at the start of the Feb. 3 council meeting and apologized for the errors.
“There’s huge problems here. The minister of municipal affairs has the ability to launch an inquiry to get to the bottom of this,” said Ceci.
A statement from a spokesperson for the municipal affairs minister says, "It is up to the municipality to pursue sanctions," if a councillor violates a municipal code of conduct.
"We trust that Calgary can manage itself on these issues," reads the statement from spokesperson Timothy Gerwing.
On Tuesday, the city’s priorities and finance committee voted in favour of sending an urgent notice of motion to city council regarding councillors' expenses.
The motion, put forth by Coun. Jeromy Farkas, calls for a limit to how many members should be able to attend future FCM meetings. It could also prohibit councillors from expensing alcohol.
"The entire process needs an overhaul," Farkas said Tuesday.
"Some of the recent events around FCM really illustrated a broader need to take a look at the travel policy, hospitality expenses, things like that."
Taxpayer groups are also calling for an investigation into spending by all Calgary councillors, including Magliocca, to see if this is a one-time instance.
"Councillor Magliocca should’ve known better. He should know the struggles Calgarians are facing and he should know the city has a spending problem," said Franco Terrazzano with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.