An outgoing Saskatchewan Member of Parliament has filed papers to the Federal Court accusing Ottawa of rejecting three years’ worth of travel allowances.
Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott claims the House of Commons denied him expenses he claimed for time in Ottawa when he listed his primary residence as a farm in his riding of Saskatoon-Wanuskewin.
According to the Ottawa Citizen, an acting clerk of the House of Commons wrote to Vellacott on June 25 to say the House Board of Internal Economy determined he was ineligible to claim expenses, stating that Vellacott spends a considerable amount of time during each year in Ottawa on both sitting and non-sitting days.
Ontario land records accessed by the Citizen show Vellacott and his wife Mary bought a $349,000 home in Ottawa in December 2004. Vellacott stated he bought the Ottawa home to reduce the strain on his family from being away so often.
Vellacott claims, however, that he always maintained a primary residence in Saskatchewan. He says he pays taxes and votes in Saskatchewan, has vehicles and health insurance registered there, and will eventually pay capital gains tax on his Ottawa home because it is a secondary residence.
Many MPs own homes in the Ottawa area and collect $900 a month in residency expenses from the House towards the costs of their upkeep.
The issue of primary residency is being tested in former senator Mike Duffy’s ongoing criminal trial. He is accused of claiming residency expenses while living in Kanata, Ont. and claiming to be primarily resident in Prince Edward Island.
Calls to Maurice Vellacott were not immediately returned Monday.
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