Cariboo-Prince George Member of Parliament Todd Doherty was the highest spending MP in Canada in the first three quarters of the 2018/19 fiscal year, according to the Members’ Expenditures Report.
From April 1, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2018, Doherty’s expenditures totalled $466,722.57, $49,560.31 more than the second-highest spending MP, David Yurdiga.
Yurdiga represents the Fort McMurray-Cold Lake riding in Alberta, and he spent $417,162.26 in expenditures.
Bob Zimmer, the MP for Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies, also ranked among the top five highest spenders, coming in fourth with $412,454.27 in expenditures.
Doherty says his high expenditures come primarily from travelling.
“I travel back every weekend. I’m present,” he says. “It was a promise that I made during the 2015 election that I would be back in the riding every weekend … So travel is a big one for us. I have one of the largest ridings, 84,000 square kilometres, and I’m in it, I’m out and about.”
Doherty says he is not proud of topping the list, but he won’t apologize for coming home every weekend.
Doherty says some of that expense also came from his wife accompanying him to Ottawa “as much as possible,” which he says happened more frequently following a health scare in January 2018.
He also travels as part of his role as the shadow minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, as well as to speak to first responders and military groups about PTSD.
Doherty says he expects much of his staff, and pays them accordingly. During the period of the report, Doherty also had a co-op student working from his Prince George office and his Ottawa office, “which would add to some of the cost as well.”
Doherty says his staff has a budget meeting every other Monday.
Retired Cariboo-Prince George MP Dick Harris was criticized for his expenses when he was in office, billing the government more than $515,000 in 2012.