NDP Leader Mulcair living in hotel, carrying 4 mortgages

Sherry Noik
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[NDP Leader Tom Mulcair THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick]

Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair is reportedly living in a hotel on the taxpayers’ dime while he carries mortgages on four homes.

Mulcair had to vacate Stornoway, the Ottawa residence of the leader of the Official Opposition, when his party lost more than half its seats in the House of Commons and was bumped to third-party status in the October election.

Last month, as part of his mandatory disclosure under the Conflict of Interest Code, the MP for Outremont declared that he and wife, Catherine Pinhas Mulcair, hold mortgages on a principal residence, a secondary residence, a “recreational property” and a “second recreational property,” all in Quebec.

The four mortgages, as well as a line of credit, are with RBC, though figures are not provided. MPs are not required to disclose debts of $10,000 or less or the value of property used as a principal or recreational residence.

Meanwhile, Mulcair stays in a hotel in Ottawa, according to a report by Postmedia News.

Mulcair’s primary residence is in Montreal and his secondary one in Quebec City — both more than 100 kilometres outside of the National Capital Region, which puts him in “travel” status, as defined in the Members’ Allowances and Services Manual, whenever he is in the nation’s capital on parliamentary business.

That means Mulcair is entitled to be reimbursed for hotels, meals and incidentals at rates set out in the manual — for instance, up to $50 per night for “private accommodation,” and up to $95.05 per day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, to a maximum of $28,600 per fiscal year.

The most recent expense statement for Mulcair covers the period between April 1 and Sept. 30, 2015, while he was still living at Stornoway.

A spokeswoman from the Board of Internal Economy, which governs MPs’ expenses, referred further questions about Mulcair’s expenses to the MP himself.

A spokesman for Mulcair did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mulcair’s MP salary is $167,400. After the election, he lost the $80,100 bonus paid to the Opposition leader, as well as a $2,000 car allowance. Pinhas, who is a psychologist, earns an undisclosed income from public health care and private practice.

Mulcair took the helm after Jack Layton died in 2011 just months after leading the party to its first ever Official Opposition status, with 103 seats. The NDP lost 59 of those seats in the 2015 election.

Mulcair has so far resisted calls to step down, even from within his own party. Ontario NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo, in an interview with the Toronto Star earlier this month, called Mulcair “tainted” and said he has to go.

If he doesn’t resign, he’ll face a leadership review at the party’s convention in Edmonton in April.