Tuesday, July 04, 2006

It’s called a meal allowance, so buy a cheeseburger or something

I'm a bit surprised this story hasn't gotten more play, but apparently MPs have decided they can use their taxpayer-provided, tax-free "meal allowances" to help pay mortgages on their Ottawa residences, should they own a second-home in the nation’s capital.

While I dislike knee-jerk reactionism on issues like MP pay raises and the like, this one is just stupid. They already get a daily accommodation allowance. This is a meal allowance, go to McDonald’s. If I recall, there’s one at the foot of Bank and Wellington. Also, I’d recommend the Marroush International Schwarma on the Sparks Street Mall, if it’s still there. It’s nonsense like this that breeds cynicism and disgust with politicians and politics.

This isn’t a partisan political thing, all parties would have to support this for it to be happening. Only Liberals were dumb enough to be quoted supporting it though, sometimes Harper’s control-freak tendencies pay dividends. The only Conservative quoted is the maverick Garth Turner and he’s against it.

MPs pay mortgages with meal allowances
Secret panel allows $75 per diem to help finance Ottawa houses
Tim Naumetz, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Monday, July 03, 2006

The secret board of MPs that manages internal House of Commons affairs is allowing MPs who own a house or condo in Ottawa as their second home to pay down their mortgages with a $75 per diem intended for meals, the Citizen has learned.

The per diem is in addition to a $25 daily accommodation allowance MPs receive year-round if they own a second house or condominium in the capital, and using it to buy a home is allowed despite a rule forbidding mortgage payments from a separate $24,000 expense allowance.

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Kyle Carruthers said...

There is a Marroush (sp?) in the Sparks Street mall? The only one I know of is the one on Elgin.

I'll have to remember that next time I am in O-Town.

A BCer in Toronto said...

At least there used to be, it's been five years since I was last in Ottawa so it might have closed. But there was one on Sparks for the lunch crowd, and the one on Elgin for the bar crowd at night. Mmm, schwarma, chicken garlic, I've got to get back to Ottawa one of these days.

CMinOC said...

Marroush on Sparks has closed...but there is one on Rideau.

Kyle Carruthers said...

Schwarma is what I miss most about living in Ottawa. It doesnt seem fair that Ottawa has them on almost every corner but they are virtually non-existent elsewhere in the country.

A BCer in Toronto said...

There are schwarma places elsewhere, there's a few in Toronto. But it's just not the same. I had one at the CNE food court last year, from a booth that also sold donairs, falafels, and so on, so I should have known better. It was horrible. I'd even take Schwarma King over that.

Kyle Carruthers said...

There should be a national chain of Schwarma restraunts.