OTTAWA — Former governor general Adrienne Clarkson is still billing Canadian taxpayers more than $100,000 a year in office expenses, and has now claimed more than $1.1 million in such expenses since she left Rideau Hall in 2005.
The expenses, paid through an unusual program that allows former governors general to bill for office expenses for the rest of their life, is used by other former governors general as well. But only Clarkson is regularly billing more than $100,000 annually, which means her expenses show up as a separate line item in the federal government’s public accounts.
The expenses are on top of the $1.6 million that Clarkson has collected to date as a government pension. It also does not include the $3 million in a start-up grant (plus up to $7 million over 10 years to match donations from the private sector) that was paid to establish Clarkson’s charitable organization, the Institute for Canadian Citizenship. Both the pension and the start-up grant are standard for outgoing governors general.
The expense program for governors general was created in 1979 and appears to be unique among federal government positions. There is little public transparency in how the money is spent; Rideau Hall says it requires receipts and invoices, but it would not disclose what exactly is being expensed or how much other governors general are spending. Canada’s access-to-information law does not cover Rideau Hall.
In general, the expenses can range from “administrative support, office space and furniture, to professional services, travel and accommodation,” according to a Rideau Hall spokesperson.
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