In his first full fiscal year as a Member of Parliament for Cloverdale-Langley City, John Aldag’s expense report marked him as the biggest spender from Delta to Hope.
In B.C., Aldag was the sixth highest spender, and in Canada he was in the top six per cent, with his total expenses reaching $495,832.69.
Aldag’s largest cost – like many other MPs – was his employee expenses, coming in at $215,620.93. Aldag was the ninth lowest spender in employee expenses for MPs from Delta to Hope in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
Aldag has two full-time employees in Ottawa and four part-time employees in Cloverdale-Langley City. Aldag’s employee travel expenses was the highest of all the MPs from Hope to Delta at $18,469.26. He said this was because he hired people from Cloverdale and Langley to work in his Ottawa office.
One of his Ottawa employees returns to B.C. whenever Aldag is back for a week or more. His other employee comes back during extended breaks from the House of Commons: Christmas, spring break and summer.
Aldag was also the second-highest spender in service contracts, as he spent $19,873.08 on a contract for a social media expert, who updates Aldag’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on a regular basis.
Aldag was in the top three spenders for accommodations and daily expenses, spending $2,405.80 and $8,739.90 respectively.
The accommodations section is for hotels, which Aldag required when he was doing announcements in Kamloops and caucus meetings in Victoria.
The daily expenses and secondary residence expenses (Aldag was lowest in this expense, spending only $12,055.94 last year) are coupled together in the MP’s budget and given $30,000 to cover. If an MP goes over the $30,000 limit, it’s at their own expense. Between the expenses, Aldag came in at $20,795.84 — below the average of $26,000.
“Whereas some of my colleagues run out of money — they can’t claim breakfast, lunch and dinner — I have that flexibility,” he said. “So it’s not surprising that my incidentals are higher and my accommodations are lower.”
“To me that’s one I do try to watch.”
The place where Aldag said he felt most comfortable spending the more — and where he spent a total of $22,161.92 last year — was in advertising.
“I think that it’s really important that I communicate with my constituents,” he said. Aldag had worked in federal communications in the past, and so he sees “the value in communicating and … being accountable.”
Aldag had the highest dollar amount for advertising of the 11 MPs from Delta to Hope. A large portion of his advertising costs are for ads in the newspapers that represent his riding, which include the Langley Advance, the Langley Times, the Cloverdale Reporter and the Surrey Now-Leader.
Aldag also spent the highest amount on “10 percenters”, a one page flyer that can go out once a month to 10 per cent of the constituency, and the third highest amount on household flyers.
“I feel very strongly the money is there to be used to communicate with my riding, and I feel if I’m not using it then I’m not doing my job,” he said.
There were also some costs that Aldag said pushed up his total expense numbers because Cloverdale-Langley City is a new riding.
For the local MPs, he was first in equipment rentals ($3,349.72) and first in materials and supplies ($19,590.91) because he was still setting up his office at the beginning of the fiscal year. He also was the second highest spender in repairs and maintenance, with $12,474.63.
Aldag expects those categories to be much lower next year, as his office is now fully established.