A supposedly "traditional" free lunch program for MPs wound up totaling $891 per day, for a total of $9,806.
The food is made available in the lobby of the House of Commons every time Parliament is in session. This is the first time the expense has been itemized since the perk was introduced in 1991.
"Providing food for Members in the lobbies is a longstanding practice which was first introduced in 1991 further to consensus amongst all parties, food is provided in the lobbies to help support Members," mentioned Heather Bradley, spokesperson for the Office of the Speaker of Parliament.
It bears mentioning that this free food is on top of the $21 per day MPs get as a per diem. However, they are supposed to not take the $21 if they take the free lunch.
The Canadian government spends around $2 million per year on these per diems. Many are calling this another example of government waste all too common in Canada.
Tom Lukiwski, a Conservative MP from SK, objects to the waste, and says he has observed many MPs breaking the rules by pocketing the $21 and still taking advantage of the free lunch.
"I will not name the former Member of Parliament, but many of us know him, who used to come and eat a lunch in the lobby every single day even though he was only on duty one day a week. Other MPs have done the same thing."
"There are many, many, many MPs that have lunches at committees, lunches in the lobby, and still claim the full per diem. You are supposed to, by the rules, if you have a lunch in the lobby, eliminate that lunch from your daily per diem. I don’t know how many Members are doing that."
"If we’re going to talk about cutting down on costs, let’s go all the way. I mean, let’s really talk about saving taxpayers’ dollars."