Public Accounts figures released this week for the province show Richmond Centre MLA Rob Howard as one of top spenders when it comes to expenses.
Records show that the top capital-city allowance spenders were Eric Foster, MLA for Vernon-Monashee and deputy government whip, at $21,508; Howard at $21,718; and Bill Routley, NDP, Cowichan Valley, at $21,683.
Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Ida Chong has apparently been brown-bagging or eating at home. Last year, Chong came under intense fire for claiming almost $6,000 in meal allowances. This year, Public Accounts figures show she did not claim a penny for meals. Chong, Liberal MLA for Oak BayGordon Head, charged $1,635 for travel, one of the lower claims among figures released Monday.
At the other end of the scale is FraserNicola New Democrat MLA Harry Lali, a Merritt resident, with $58,457 in travel expenses.
All MLAs are allowed to claim travel expenses and up to $61 a day to cover food costs while working. Out-of-town MLAs are also allowed to claim up to $19,000 a year to cover the cost of renting or buying a home in Victoria.
This is the first year all MLAs have had those figures disclosed. Previously, such numbers were provided only for cabinet ministers.
Among the low spenders were Forests Minister Steve Thomson, Kelowna-Mission, with no capital city allowance and $213 for travel; Liberal Naomi Yamamoto, North Vancouver-Lonsdale, with no capital city allowance and $381 for travel; and Liberal Margaret MacDiarmid, Vancouver-Fairview, with $56 in capital city allowance and $447 travel.