It’s usually a good thing when Members of Parliament don’t spend a lot of our money on flights and hotels. But that doesn’t mean they should get their travel paid for by other organizations.
The fact that 73 MPs received some $600,000 in free or subsidized travel from third parties in 2017 should be a major cause for concern. And it’s particularly worrying that in many cases, the travel was paid for by organizations connected to foreign governments. There are very few circumstances in which MPs should be accepting free travel and none of them involve other governments. We wouldn’t want another country writing a cheque to one of our MPs, or paying for a new swimming pool, so why are we okay with an all-expenses-paid trip?
If there’s a legitimate reason for an MP to travel abroad, one that benefits our democracy, then Canadians should pick up the bill. Otherwise, the trip probably shouldn’t happen. The risks associated with foreign junkets are too high and the optics are terrible. It’s amazing that foreign junkets weren’t banned a long time ago.