David Dingwall, the president of the Royal Canadian Mint, and his top aides racked up total office expenses of more than $740,000 last year, government documents indicate.
Included were over $130,000 in foreign and domestic travel, $14,000 in meals and $11,000 in hospitality. The mint also appears to have picked up a $1,400 tab for Dingwall's membership in an Ottawa-area golf club, and $1,500 in membership fees in the Nova Scotia barristers' society.
Documents outlining the spending were obtained under the Access to Information Act by Conservative MP Brian Pallister. He believes that Dingwall, a former Liberal cabinet minister, owes the public an explanation.
"It's kind of shocking," Pallister said in an interview Tuesday. "This is a continuation of an unfortunate trend among Liberal patronage appointees to show relatively little respect for the people who pay their bills."
Dingwall and other mint officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
The mint president earns a salary in excess of $200,000, although the exact amount has not been publicly disclosed.
He is also eligible for merit pay, depending on his performance, although the documents give no indication whether he is earning such a bonus.
How does one determine merit pay for the head of the mint? If the mint makes more money making money, does he keep the change? Do they pay him with collector coin sets? Does he run down to the Bank of Canada to change it for paper money?
Or is it like the outstanding achievement award that everybody gets?