By Stephen Pate – The Hubert Lacroix $30,000 expense story has more holes than Swiss Cheese. CBC President Hubert Lacroix was personally involved in filing potentially fraudulent expense claims and then hid the story for 6 months. It cannot be wished away with a presidential wave of the hand and half-hearted apology.
Hubert Lacroix claimed expenses twice
Lacroix’s partial apology to “Canadians who support the CBC” does not wash. It is a partial apology not to the House of Commons, the Senate and all Canadians.
“I want to apologize to my fellow employees at CBC/Radio-Canada.… We are now entering a period of great challenge, and I want to assure our CBCers and Radio-Canadiens that they can continue to have faith in their leaders. I also want to apologize to all those Canadians who support CBC/Radio-Canada for this careless error.” CBC
Mr. Lacroix receives a handsome salary in excess of $400,000 from Canadian taxpayers plus a monthly per-diem of $1,500 to cover his travel from his home on Montreal to his office at CBC Headquarters in Ottawa. As an astute lawyer, he negotiated his compensation 6 years ago and the CBC Board of Directors hired him on that basis.
To illustrate how Lacroix cheated his CBC Expense Claim (a-2013-00028) is attached. In this expense claim, Lacroix travelled from his home in Montreal to Ottawa for CRTC hearings. Of the $2,254 that Lacroix claimed are hotel bills of $2,034 which he paid and $220 for meals and incidentals. Those $220 items are the sort of thing government employees get paid per diems instead of itemized expenses.
CBC President Hubert Lacroix expense claim with meals and incidental charges (from CBC Access to Information A-2013-00028)
If you are a government employee or work for a large organization, you understand the concept of per diem expenses. Either you claim all the little expenses, with their receipts and slips, incurred for travelling on behalf of your organization or you claim the per diem that is allowed.
You don’t claim both. That would be fraudulent if the auditors let the claim go through. In our heads we do the math to see which method in our best interests: itemized expense claim or per-diem.
CBC President Hubert Lacroix expense claim with hotel charges (from CBC Access to Information A-2013-00028) click for larger image.
With Mr. Lacroix only he and a few other people knew he was getting a monthly per-diem of $1,500 to avoid the bother of itemized receipts. Mr. Lacroix’s $1,500 monthly per diem was likely automatically deposited in his bank account without any income tax deducted, every month for 6 years.
The per diem would not include hotels and air fare so he legitimately claimed for the hotel on this trip. Lacroix can’t blame the accountants or his secretary or some clerk. There are no scapegoats in this story because Lacroix signed the expense form himself (see page 3 of his expense claim). Lacroix is an experienced lawyer who understands the significance of his signature.
CBC President Hubert Lacroix signed expense claim (from CBC Access to Information A-2013-00028) click for larger image.
This story is almost identical to Senator’s Wallin and Duffy. They were claiming dubious expenses, sometimes claiming items that were duplicates and billed to others. Wallin and Duffy claimed the forms were hard to understand but Wallin’s and Duffy’s signatures were on the expense claims.
By Stephen Pate, NJN Network