Michel Samson deserves a fast review by the Auditor General

“There’s absolutely no pattern to the lifestyle of an elected official. Some days, you’re going to come up on a Monday, other days you’ll come up on a Tuesday. It all depends on the week. It depends what obligations you have, and each week is different." - Michel Samson

“There’s absolutely no pattern to the lifestyle of an elected official. Some days, you’re going to come up on a Monday, other days you’ll come up on a Tuesday. It all depends on the week. It depends what obligations you have, and each week is different.” – Michel Samson

Liberal MLA Michel Samson deserves a fast review of his expenses situation from the Auditor General. The longer the review, the more the public perception will be that Michel Samson is Nova Scotia’s Mike Duffy. The Speaker’s Office handed the file to auditor general Jacques Lapointe for a decision on May 1, and Lapointe has yet to report back.

Mike Duffy dodged questions on the tens of thousands of dollars in housing expenses.

Michel Samson has not dodged questions. He is encouraging the Auditor General’s review. And if the Auditor General agrees with the Speaker’s Office findings that Samson lives, not in Arichat, but with his family in his Halifax home, then we are confident Samson will do the right thing and pay back the taxpayer money spent.

Stephen McNeil should also come to the defense of his Cape Breton MLA. Why defend Manning MacDonald’s inexcusable month-long vacations to Florida, but sit in silence on Michel Samson’s south-end Halifax home? 

When it came to Manning, Stephen McNeil claimed there was no rule on vacations during the legislative session, and journalists caught him:


Stephen McNeil should defend Michel Samson or risk losing another Cape Breton MLA.

The Fisherman and the Fundraiser

Lobster fishermen, including hundreds from the communities Michel Samson represents, came together these past 3 weeks to to raise the issue of low lobster prices. NDP and PC MLAs attended the fishermen’s rallies and meetings, but Liberals were nowhere to be seen.

The Liberal Office in Halifax did issue a press release on behalf of Michel Samson. But his absence in Arichat was noticed.

One reader suggested that Michel Samson’s fundraiser and Halifax landlord is the reason he failed to make it to the meetings. Edgar Samson (no relation) is a bulk buyer of lobster – one of Cape Breton’s largest in fact. And many fishermen believe bulk buyers are driving the price down to make more money as middle men. So we can see why a reader might suggest that.

“There’s absolutely no pattern to the lifestyle of an elected official. Some days, you’re going to come up on a Monday, other days you’ll come up on a Tuesday. It all depends on the week. It depends what obligations you have, and each week is different." - Michel Samson

“There’s absolutely no pattern to the lifestyle of an elected official. Some days, you’re going to come up on a Monday, other days you’ll come up on a Tuesday. It all depends on the week. It depends what obligations you have, and each week is different.” – Michel Samson

Our concern is that Michel Samson may be avoiding public appearances until the Auditor General finishes his review of the Liberal MLA’s living expenses. That would be a mistake. Spending the summer in Richmond County would go a long way toward fixing the perception that he only visits on weekends.

Fisheries Minister Sterling Belliveau spoke to fishermen at the last meeting before the boats hit the water again. He told them of NDP efforts to get Marine Stewardship Council certification for the lobster fishery as a sustainable industry. Belliveau talked to them about the panel being struck to look at the issue and also announced provincial support for an ad campaign to promote Nova Scotia lobster.

Stephen McNeil has been mostly quiet on Michel Samson’s case and that’s disappointing to see – Samson is one of the few capable people McNeil has in his Caucus.

Perhaps if McNeil would defend Samson with the same vigor with which he has defended Manning MacDonald’s multiple vacations while the Legislature sat, Samson would be more inclined to get out and about more often.

Auditor General reviewing question of Michel Samson’s living expenses

Nova Scotia’s auditor general says he has started to review the living expenses of Liberal MLA Michel Samson, who represents the riding of Richmond, but may have lived in Halifax since his re-election in 2006.

“There’s absolutely no pattern to the lifestyle of an elected official. Some days, you’re going to come up on a Monday, other days you’ll come up on a Tuesday. It all depends on the week. It depends what obligations you have, and each week is different." - Michel Samson

“There’s absolutely no pattern to the lifestyle of an elected official. Some days, you’re going to come up on a Monday, other days you’ll come up on a Tuesday. It all depends on the week. It depends what obligations you have, and each week is different.” – Michel Samson

The issue came to light when Michel Samson asked for a review of his living arrangements after a reporter’s investigation raised a number of questions about the house the taxpayer rents for him in the city.

Since then the Speaker’s office has determined Samson lives full time in Halifax, spends most of his time in the city and can no longer bill taxpayers for his monthly rent.

Since 2006, Samson has billed taxpayers for more than $115,000 in rent. The Auditor General has not said if it will ask Samson to pay it back.

Stephen McNeil has been mostly quiet on the issue, although has defended fellow Liberal MLA Manning MacDonald’s terrible attendance record in the legislature, including a four week vacation to Florida he took the House was sitting.

We hope Stephen McNeil will begin to defend Michel Samson with the same vigor he defended the delinquency of Manning MacDonald.

Michel Samson – Expenses Update

“There’s absolutely no pattern to the lifestyle of an elected official. Some days, you’re going to come up on a Monday, other days you’ll come up on a Tuesday. It all depends on the week. It depends what obligations you have, and each week is different." - Michel Samson

“There’s absolutely no pattern to the lifestyle of an elected official. Some days, you’re going to come up on a Monday, other days you’ll come up on a Tuesday. It all depends on the week. It depends what obligations you have, and each week is different.” – Michel Samson

The Speaker’s office ruled that Liberal MLA Michel Samson will no longer have his Halifax rent paid for by taxpayers.

For background information, read our post Michel Samson is no Mike Duffy.

MLAs from outside the capital city are given an allowance to rent accommodations in Halifax. It allows MLAs from across Nova Scotia to take part in the governing of the province without 4 to 12 hours of travel each day – something obviously quite necessary.

Under the Legislature’s rules it cannot be an MLA’s principal residence. For the past six years Samson and his wife, who works in Halifax with the Irving Shipyard, have rented a house in the capital’s South End area.

Although Samson owns a home in Arichat, in their review the Speaker’s Office office determined he lives full time in Halifax, spends most of his time in the capital and can therefore no longer bill taxpayers for his monthly rent.

Samson is challenging the ruling.

The ruling does not prevent Samson from running as the MLA for Richmond in the fall provincial election.

We hope for a speedy resolution to this issue.