Conservative candidate Michael Barrett criticized his Liberal opposition for spending $250,000 in taxpayer dollars on office furniture and a new car.
"One of Justin Trudeau’s ministers, Bernadette Jordan, [minister of fisheries, oceans and the coast guard], spent over a quarter of a million dollars of taxpayers' money on office furniture and even bought herself a new car," said Conservative MP Michael Barrett in a campaign-style video.
"Justin Trudeau and his Liberals have a long history of wasting and mismanaging taxpayers’ money," he said. "Spending more than $250,000 on office furniture and a new car is completely inappropriate."
Barrett urged Jordan to come clean and reimburse taxpayers for the $40,228 car.
"That's a big bill and it's tough to believe that Jordan couldn't figure out a way to furnish her office for less money," said Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
"Politicians need to remember that the federal government isn't flush with cash, it's broke. Not only do we need to see politicians save money on the big things, they also need to save money on the smaller things like expenses."
Liberal spokesperson Brook Simpson said Jordan didn't have a car when she became fisheries minister, so one was bought for her use.
The Liberals said the Conservatives purposely misled the public in their attack of questionable Liberal spending.
Barrett went on the attack, stating the Trudeau Liberals were using taxpayer money to "live like royalty, potentially as hundreds of thousands of Canadians were losing their jobs."
A StatCan Labour Force Survey found the total number of unemployed fell by 70,000 in July. Long-term unemployment was 244,000 higher than pre-pandemic levels in February 2020 and accounted for more than one-quarter of actual unemployment in July.
Employment in Nova Scotia, where Jordan represents, increased by 3,700 in July. The unemployment rate dropped 0.6 percentage points for the province to 8.4 percent. All of the gains were in full-time work and were mostly in health care and social assistance.
The survey found that the number of employees in the public sector nationwide fell by 31,000 in July, the first decline since April 2020. Private-sector employment drove July’s economic recovery.
Barrett assured taxpayers that the Conservative platform restores accountability and provides a plan to secure the future.
The Conservative also noted that about $218,000 was spent on furniture for Jordan’s ministerial office since February 1, 2019, reported CTV News. She was sworn in as minister in November 2019.
"As the Conservatives are aware, all cabinet ministers and the leader of the official Opposition, regardless of the party in power, have access to a vehicle to carry out the work of their offices," wrote Simpson in a statement.
The Conservatives said in a press release that it's "unclear" from these documents when the office furniture was purchased.
They posed a question to Trudeau’s candidate on whether she approved this expense during the pandemic, "when hundreds of thousands of Canadian taxpayers lost their jobs and struggled to pay their bills?"
"Canadians can’t afford more of Justin Trudeau’s waste and corruption," it wrote. "Canada’s Recovery Plan is Erin O’Toole’s plan to secure the future by restoring accountability to Ottawa."
Barrett penned a letter in July to the Ethics Commissioner condemning the Trudeau Liberals over their ties to the firm Data Science Inc. in what appeared to be another conflict of interest. Trudeau had been longtime, childhood friends with its CEO Thomas Pitfield.
The Liberal Research Bureau paid more than $75,000 in contracts to the firm regarding technical support and training related to software. 97 percent of the Liberal caucus or 149 Liberal MPs paid Data Sciences Inc. out of their office budgets.
The Commons ethics committee by a 6-5 vote blocked an investigation into spending of public funds on the firm. Liberal and Bloc Quebecois MPs opposed further hearings into contracts awarded to Data Sciences Inc. of Montreal.