Maple Ridge’s MP Randy Kamp spent more than the B.C. average and more than the national average for Members of Parliament, according to expenditure reports on the Parliament of Canada website.
Kamp spent a total of $493,278 for staffing his office and travel to Ottawa. That compares to an average of $487,012 spent by B.C. MPs.
However, given the amounts involved, the increase is only marginal, 1.3 per cent above the average, or another $6,266.
Kamp is parliamentary secretary to Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield and is the department’s main representative on the West Coast.
The Canadian average for MPs, because of shorter travel distances, is even lower at $432,937.
The figures are for the fiscal year ending March 31, and preceding last May’s federal election.
Kamp also spent the second-most of B.C. MPs on pamphlets called “10 percenters” – leaflets mailed out to voters.
Called 10 percenters because the quantity produced must not exceed 10 per cent of the households in a riding, MPs can produce as many of them as they want as long as the content is substantially different each time.
Kamp spent $43,043 on those pamphlets, second only to Nina Grewal, who spent more than any other MP in the province on the flyers – $47,910.
In the previous year, when there was no election, Kamp spent $73,898 on 10-percenters.
His total expenses that year were even higher, $553,462.
Craig Speirs, NDP candidate in the last election, said the perception is that the leaflets are used for election purposes.
“It seems like the public dime is being used for campaigning and for partisan efforts.”
Kamp was on Christmas vacation Monday and couldn’t be reached for comment.
Speirs respects that, but says Kamp, as parliamentary secretary, should have been around for this week’s conclusion of hearings into the Cohen Commission on the disappearance of the Fraser River sockeye.
Speirs said it seems like commission has devolved into the federal government and Fisheries and Oceans Canada – pitted against the commission.
The government should pay attention to an SFU test that showed two wild juvenile salmon from Rivers Inlet had infectious salmon anemia, Speirs said.
In the October SFU release it was concluded that “the only plausible source” for the ISA virus “is the Atlantic salmon farms.”
But further tests of more than 5,000 wild and farmed salmon in B.C. by Canadian Food Inspection Agency said there are no confirmed cases of the disease in wild or farmed salmon in B.C.
“I think it’s really irresponsible to try to discredit and talk down the findings of scientists. If you find a bit of it, it’s like finding BSE [a form of mad cow disease],” Speirs said. “You don’t need much and then it spreads and gets into the wild stocks and they they’re decimated.”
Speirs thinks Kamp should be making at least some appearances at the hearing in Vancouver instead of relying on staff reports after the fact.
– with files from Jeff Nagel and Tricia Leslie