Taxpayers In Canada Have The Right To Know

When questioned by Canadian Senators, CBC President Hubert Lacroix denied hiding his double-dipping expense claims

By Stephen Pate – Senator Donald Plett put the wood to CBC President Hubert Lacroix in Senate Committee. “Do you not think, sir, that the public would be just as outraged about your misappropriating expenses as anyone else?”

“I think the taxpayers in Canada have the right to know,” said Plett pounding the table for emphasis.

Lacroix admitted telling his inner circle he had double dipped $30,000 on his expense claims.  He forgot to tell the rest of Canada, the taxpayers who pay his salary.

Lacroix is attempting to cover up the story by not submitting to independent journalists. As a senior civil servant, it is a luxury to which Mr. Lacroix is clearly not entitled. We do not have to take his word for anything and neither did the Senators.

When CBC President Hubert Lacroix was presenting his case for more CBC funding at the Senate of Canada committee, he stuck to his press release statement that the $30,000 in double dipping expenses was not a scandal but a mere mistake.

Members of the Senate Transportation and Communications Committee were not buying Lacroix’s statement. Senators said over-claiming on Lacroix’s expenses and hiding it for 8 months was no different from the Senate expense scandal.

“We are all responsible to the same taxpayer,” said Senator Donald Plett “whether it be the $89 million that the Senate costs the taxpayers or the $1 billion and some that the taxpayers put out for CBC.”

“You said on Power and Politics was that you found the mistake in June and you only paid it back in September.  Why would you not have paid it back in June if you found the mistake in June?,” asked Plett.

This is the same question Lacroix refused to answer for journalist Brian Lilley of Sun Media. See the video at CBC President Runs Away From Journalists

Plett wanted to know why CBC The National host Peter Mansbridge was not expressing the same outrage with nightly news stories about Mr. Lacroix’s double-dipping and his delay in coming clean.

“We found out only in the last few days,” said Plett ”that you had claimed close to $30,000 in ineligible expenses. ”

Lacroix, in his reply to Plett, widened the credibility gap on the story admitting the double-dipping was first discovered in June 2013 not in August. The repayment, according to Lacroix, occurred in September 2013 and CBC hid the story until February 2014.

“You repaid in September, and we found out about it through Sun Media in February,” pressed Plett.  “Would you not have considered doing some kind of release in September to let the people know you had done this?  I think the taxpayers in Canada have the right to know.  You’re a broadcaster. ”

Lacroix in all his replies stuck to his press release statement. ”We found a mistake.  As soon as we found the mistake, I paid back those expenses.  I immediately advised my board.  We informed the Auditor General of Canada.  We informed the Government of Canada.  We apologized; and that’s where we are today.”

Peter Mansbridge public outrage  double standard

“Peter Mansbridge continuously uses the words “public outrage” about Senate expenses,” said Plett ”us travelling business class, us possibly misreporting or not reporting some statements.”

“I want find out why CBC is doing one thing and why they aren’t doing the other thing for the president.”

Referring to CBC’s lack of transparency and open reporting, Plett said “They have done one thing to parts of the public, and they are not reporting the same thing there.”

“Do you not think, sir, that the public would be just as outraged about your misappropriating expenses as anyone else?”

In his reply, Lacroix widened the story again, saying the an unnamed HR person read the CBC policy and discovered their own President was breaking the rules.

Full video of Plett / Lacoix exchange

The following video has all of Lacroix’s responses, most of them repetitive.

There is more to this story. Follow me on Twitter at @sdpate or on Facebook at NJN Network and OyeTimes.

By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

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