In response to NDP Freedom of Information requests for the expenses claimed by the Premier and the government’s 18 ministers, seven have responded so far, with fee estimates to date totaling over $4,000.
“The Premier’s and ministers’ expenses should be public,” said NDP Ethics and Democracy Critic David Forbes. “Hiding basic information behind a paywall on how the Sask. Party is spending public money is an insult to democracy.”
No detailed information is publicly available on expenses for the Premier and cabinet inside the province.
The fee estimates for disclosing ministers’ expenses so far are as follows:
- Executive Council and Office of the Premier: $1,690
- Energy and Resources: $900
- Finance: $420
- Central Services: $400
- Immigration and Career Training: $390
- Health: $157.50
- Advanced Education: $145
- Total so far: $4,102.50
Other ministries have yet to respond.
The NDP reported last week receiving a $1,700 fee estimate for a Freedom of Information request for Scott Moe’s expenses last year. Saskatchewan discloses the least information of any province on government expenses:
- Alberta provides ministerial office expenses and international travel expenses
- British Columbia provides ministerial and Deputy Ministers’ expenses including itemized receipts
- Manitoba provides quarterly expense reports for ministerial travel and annual reports of ministerial office expenses
- New Brunswick provides expenses for Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Executive Directors
- Newfoundland and Labrador publishes Ministerial Expense Reimbursement Expense Reports twice a year
- Nova Scotia provides Ministerial Expense Summaries
- Quebec provides quarterly summaries of travel for Ministers and senior officials
- Ontario discloses travel, hotel accommodation, meal, and hospitality expenses for each MPP
- Prince Edward Island publishes quarterly Public Disclosure Expense Reports
Ministerial travel last year jumped 53 per cent to $321,248. Scott Moe’s travel bill was $84,868, 86 per cent above the $45,628 then-Premier Wall spent in his last full year in office.
“The government has an obligation to make these records public,” Forbes said. “It shouldn’t even take a pay-per-view freedom of information request. When will the government make these records public?”