TRURO – Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong had expenses of $393,308 in 2011-12, leaving him seventh out of Nova Scotia’s 10 members of Parliament.
The figure was down from $450,757 in 2010-11.
“The reason the numbers are lower is because there was an election,” Armstrong said. “When there’s an election all your budgets get cut. Everybody’s numbers dropped about the same.”
The June 2011 election saw the Conservatives under Stephen Harper win a majority government.
The figures cover the period from April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012.
Armstrong said two of his staff members also took extended leaves of absence to work on his campaign.
“During an election campaign there is technically no MP so there’s no advertising expenses and no travel expenses,” he said. “It’s basically two months where you’re not spending anything as an MP. It’s not until after you’re sworn in as an MP that you can start spending on staff and other things.”
During the year, Armstrong spent $189,843 on employees’ salaries and service contracts. He also spent $72,973 on member travel, $19,263 on employees' travel and $22,169 on accommodations and per diem expenses.
Armstrong spent $1,549 on hospitality and events, $22,094 on advertising, $5,478 on the 10 per centers that go to constituents and $5,262 in other printing expenses.
He also spent $23,699 on constituency offices, $65,80 on office furniture and equipment, $125 on equipment rental, $2,465 on telecommunications equipment purchases, $2,066 on repairs, $1,482 on postage and courier services and $6,406 on office materials and supplies.
Of his budget, $93,553 is from resources provided by the House of Commons.
Cape Breton-Canso Liberal MP Rodger Cuzner had the highest Nova Scotia budget at $475,465, while Sydney-Victoria Liberal MP Mark Eyking was second highest at $470,898. Halifax West Liberal MP Geoff Regan’s was the lowest at $367,093.
Armstrong said Cape Breton MPs such as Cuzner and Eyking have higher budgets because of travel costs back and forth to their ridings.
“When they fly back to the riding, they fly into Halifax and then fly to Sydney. Their difference is mostly air traffic and they tend to drive more than other MPs in the province,” Armstong said.
He said MPs cannot go over budget. If they do, the overage is charged to them.
Members of the House of Commons spent $121.3 million on offices, travel, accommodations, staff salaries and other expenses during the year. That compares to $133.3 million in 2010-11.