Harper Government Under Fire Over $482 Million In Outside Legal Fees
OTTAWA – The Conservative government has spent $482 million on outside legal fees since it came to power in 2006. And more than $447,045 to defend the Prime Minister, his staff and ministers, according to documents tabled in the House of Commons.
“It’s just a shocking number,” Liberal MP Sean Casey told The Huffington Post Canada Wednesday.
“They closed Veterans [Affairs]’ district offices and saved $5 million bucks, [but] over the past eight years, they’ve spent half a billion on outside lawyers. It’s pretty stark.”
Casey, the Grits’ justice critic who requested the departmental costs, said the $481,927,263 spent since April 2006, and shared between 27 departments and their agencies, is proof of how many lawsuits and appeals the Conservative government has initiated while in power.
The top spender was the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, which spent roughly $30 million a year on non-government lawyers to conduct federal prosecutions for a total of $245 million. Other departments that relied heavily on outside legal services include: Foreign Affairs ($80 million), Canada Revenue Agency ($40.6 million), Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development ($25 million), Correctional Service Canada ($17.4 million), Fisheries and Oceans ($12.2 million) and Natural Resources ($9.2 million).
Although the Department of Justice employs approximately 2,500 lawyers who defend the government on all types of matters, it also relies on private-sector law practitioners to carry out its mandate, spokeswoman Carole Saindon said Wednesday.