Glen McGregor of the Ottawa Citizen is going where not a lot of reporters would go. The well-respected investigative journalist is reporting on the personal financial situation of NDP leader Thomas Mulcair.
In an article published Sunday, McGregor claims that Mulcair and his wife have remortgaged their West-Island Montreal home 11 times since the 1980s.
Land records show that the Mulcairs' paid $64,000 for the home in 1983, with a $56,000 mortgage from the Caisse Populaire du Lac St. Louis at 10.7 per cent interest — the going rate of the day. The couple then obtained loans against the home in 1984, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2006 and 2009.
Moreover, in 2010, Mulcair and his wife obtained a line of credit from the Royal Bank for an undisclosed amount.
"It is unclear why Mulcair would need to refinance the modest two-garage home in Beaconsfield so many times, bumping the value of the mortgage from $58,000 to $300,000," McGregor wrote, clearly implying that Mulcair is a poor financial manager.
"Before he became leader, Mulcair enjoyed a successful and well-paid career as a government lawyer and, later, a cabinet minister in the Quebec National Assembly. His wife, Catherine Pinhas, is a psychologist practicing in Montreal. Both their children are now adults with jobs — one is a police officer, the other an engineer."
According to McGregor, Mulcair's office would not comment on the loans, saying only that it's a "private matter."
Is it a private matter?
It's a given that when you enter public office you lose your privacy. Your education, your work experience, who you talk to and where you go are all out there for public consumption. But what about your personal finances? Does the public have the right to know details about the personal finances of their politicians?
McGregor and the Ottawa Citizen certainly think so. What about you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.