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17 MLAs claimed Edmonton living expenses, while owning revenue properties

While combing through public disclosure statements for Alberta MLAs, I noticed some MLAs own rental properties. When I cross checked their expense claims, I noticed that 17 of them expensed housing costs in Edmonton.

I recently took some time combing through the public disclosure statements for Alberta MLAs, and I noticed some MLAs own rental properties. When I cross checked that with expense claims, I noticed that 17 of them expensed housing costs in Edmonton, despite having income from these rental properties.

The highest amount claimed by these MLAs worked out to be $6,755 per month in the last quarter, while the lowest was $737.60.

Oddly, 6 of these MLAs each claimed $7,720 in the fourth quarter of the most recent fiscal year, and 3 each claimed $5,790.

Drew Barnes, the MLA for Cypress–Medicine Hat, for example, has 10 properties in Medicine Hat, 1 in Calgary, and 1 in Victoria. There are also 3 properties in Yorkton, 1 in Redlciff, 3 in Maple Creek, 1 in Regina, and 4 in Swift Current—one of which is an 12-unit apartment building—all in his spouse’s name. So, 32 housing units in all (33, if you count the one someone claims he failed to disclose to the ethics commissioner). That seems like it’d be enough to generate significant rental income. Despite that, however, he claimed $21,420 during the past fiscal year for his Edmonton accommodation allowance. In the last quarter, he claimed $5,615 on accommodations, which works out to about $1,871.67 per month.

Mike Ellis, MLA for Calgary–West, also has a rental property in Calgary. He claimed $22,195 last year in Edmonton accommodation allowance, $7,720 in the last quarter, which works out to $2,573.33 per month.

Peter Guthrie, MLA for Airdrie–Cochrane, claimed $20,414.02 last year in Edmonton accommodation allowance. Last quarter, he claimed $7,720, which is oddly the same amount Ellis claimed last quarter. He owns 2 rental properties in Calgary.

David Hanson, MLA for Bonnyville–Cold Lake–St. Paul, also claimed $7,720 last quarter in the Edmonton accommodation allowance, and $22,195 for all of last year. He owns a rental property in St. Paul County.

Nathan Horner, MLA for Drumheller–Stettler, has a rental property in Calgary through his spouse. He also rents pasture land. He also claimed the Edmonton accommodation allowance, but lower than the 4 others listed above—$19,250.89. He claimed $5,400 last quarter: $1,800 a month.

Adriana LaGrange, MLA for Red Deer–North, has rental income through a trailer she and her spouse rent out on their farm. She claimed $21,893.65 last year for the Edmonton accommodation allowance, $5,790 last quarter—$1,930 per month.

Ric McIver, MLA for Calgary–Hays, owns a rental property through his spouse. He claimed the ever popular $7,720 last quarter for the Edmonton accommodation allowance, $22,195 for the entire year.

Nicholas Milliken, MLA for Calgary- Currie, owns 2 rental properties, one through his company, Brolly Recruitment Ltd. Last year, he claimed $12,194.19 for the Edmonton accommodation allowance, including $5,140.46 ($1,713.49 per month) in the last quarter.

Nathan Neudorf, MLA for Lethbridge–East, owns 2 rental properties: one in Coaldale and one resort condo rental property in Hawaii. He claimed $21,878.76 in Edmonton accommodation allowance, including $6,755 ($2,251.67 per month) last quarter.

Jeremy Nixon, MLA for Calgary–Klein, has 2 rental properties in Calgary. Like so many others, he also claimed $7,720 last quarter in Edmonton accommodation allowance and $22,392.24 last year.

Ron Orr, MLA for Lacombe–Ponoka, has 2 rental properties in Ponoka and 2 rental properties in Lacombe. Last year, he claimed $15,587.20 in the Edmonton accommodation allowance, $3,802.70 last quarter, which works out to $1,267.57 a month.

Pat Rehn, MLA for Lesser Slave Lake, owns property through his company Precision Forest Industries in Debolt, AB; Bonanza, AB; Sunset House, AB; High Prairie, AB; and Joussard, AB. He derives income through these properties via “client services”. His company also owns a commercial property in the St. John’s area. He claimed $22,195 last year in Edmonton accommodation allowance, 91.3% of which was claimed in just the last quarter ($6,755 a month). Must be a pretty nice place he stays at in Edmonton.

Rajan Sawhney, MLA for Calgary–North East and minister of community and social services, owns a rural rental property through her spouse. She claimed $19,792 in Edmonton accommodation allowance, $5,790 of which was spent in the final quarter—the same amount LaGrange claimed in her last quarter.

Peter Singh, MLA for Calgary East, owns agriculture rental property in Saskatchewan. He claimed $13,015.02 in the Edmonton accommodation allowance, including $2,212.81 last quarter—$737.60 per month.

Mark Smith, MLA for Drayton Valley–Devon, owns rental property in California. In the final quarter of the most recent fiscal year, Smith was another MLA to claim $5,790 in Edmonton accommodation allowance. For the entire fiscal year, he claimed $19,941.29.

Jason Stephan, MLA for Red Deer South, has a rental property in Red Deer through his spouse. He claimed $20,397.37 in the Edmonton accommodation allowance, $7,720 in the last quarter.

Tany Yao, MLA for Fort McMurray–Wood Buffalo, has 2 rental properties: 1 in Fort McMurray and 1 in Edmonton. He claimed $22,195 in the Edmonton accommodation allowance and $9,650 in the last quarter. That’s $3,216.67 a month.

Now, it makes sense that MLAs who don’t live in Edmonton would claim accommodation expenses while they’re staying in Edmonton. After all, government responsibilities require you to have a place to live when you’re there, and often MLAs lose income when they put their regular jobs on hold after getting elected.

But rental income doesn’t get put on hold. People still need a place to live, and they’re still going to pay their rent. Which means that you as a landlord will still collect that rent. And maybe you’re only breaking even if you have only one property—which 8 of them do—or at least not making enough to cover a second home in Edmonton.

Some of the above MLAs own multiple properties, however, which means they probably have significant levels of passive income. Maybe even enough to pay for the cost of a second home in Edmonton.

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By Kim Siever

I live in Lethbridge with my spouse and 5 of our 6 children. I’m a writer, focusing on political news, social issues, and the occasional poem. My politics are radically left. I recently finished writing a book debunking several capitalism myths. My newest book writing project is on the labour history of Lethbridge.

I’m also dichotomally Mormon. And I’m a functional vegetarian: I have a blog post about that somewhere around here. My pronouns are he/him, and I’m queer.

14 replies on “17 MLAs claimed Edmonton living expenses, while owning revenue properties”

Jeremy Nixon is the MLA for Calgary-Klein. His brother Jason Nixon is MLA for Rimbey-Rockey Mountain House-Sundre and the UCP House Leader and Minister of the Environment.

Hey Kim,

Your hypothesis is flawed.

Because these people have rental income that is passive in nature doesn’t require that they pay for out of pocket dwelling expenses for temporarily living one city while maintaining a home in their riding.

I have several income properties in Western Canada – one of which I live in when I am not in client cities. I bill clients for living expenses while on site – to an agreed to ceiling. It is typical, it is a job. As are the activities that require MLA’s to be in YEG.

I just wish that MLA’s would actually do professional level work.

Also, if there is a hint of subletting said apartments in YEG then that is unethical and perhaps criminal.

Hi, you got the wrong Nixon or you put him in the wrong riding. Jeremy is in Calgary while Jason is in Sundre. Sad that these people feel they are entitled to claim so much when they are already making more than the majority of Albertans.

It would have been helpful to add which Party each belongs to for those of us who don’t know them all by heart. It means a lot of looking up. It matters because those who belog to those parties need to know so they can develop resolutions to prevent this etc.

Now that I’ve checked I see they are all UCP. Something Albertans should note.

I must be missing something. What has owning rental property have to do with being able to claim Edmonton accommodation when they live in another part of the province? I would expect to see a maximum limit as to how much the accommodation allowance would be. Not a UCP supporter but need to understand what is the problem.

I agree. What difference does it make if they own other properties?? Over stating expenses is wrong period. I don’t care if you have investments or live in your car. It’s wrong. Is it ok to lie to taxpayers if you are lower income???

Hey Kim thanks for doing this research. Interesting statistics. Some of these folks seem to have rental income business and others may have inherited their mom’s house when she passed away. So they have passive income from business dealings in their life.
There was an MLA who leased an apartment in Edmonton and claimed this as his housing expense. He then subleased this apartment out on Airbnb. I’m sure he was earning more than pocket change. Now whoever rooted this out was discovering something very problematic. He was forced to put a stop to his practice and refund the money.

So how many MLAs have more than one vehicle. Or how about a motorhome or a fifth wheel? How about a cabin at the lake? I’m sure they could sell all these assets and be able to pay for a one room apartment close to downtown.

I certainly would like the paycheck of an MLA and I wouldn’t mind some of their perks. There are some individuals that misuse the rules and gain benefits that aren’t reasonable. Go find those people. People who live outside of Edmonton need to have a place of residence while they’re in session in Edmonton. You suggest that because these MLAs own things and have conducted business in their life and have perhaps become prosperous that they are somehow stealing from the public purse. The logical extension of your argument is that these people shouldn’t get any financial compensation for their work at all: they already have an income.

On that note you didn’t strike me as a Trump supporter but perhaps you are. 😉

I agree 100%. Appears from this article it is a crime for public people to “own” anything more than what you deem appropriate. It’s not a crime to earn money and invest in property. I want to see the allowance AND all the people who over claim their expenses who don’t own other investment properties.

This is the problem with our justice system. Those MLA’s are committing FRAUD!!! They should loose their seat and be unable to hold public office any where in Canada. They should also have to serve a prison sentence!

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