P.E.I. liquor agency CEO expensed over $20K in events, meals, trips

Teresa Wright
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Brooke MacMillan, chief executive officer, P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission

The P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission charged over $20,000 to taxpayers for trips, restaurant meals and functions over a two-year period, an amount Opposition Leader Steven Myers says is unacceptable.

Documents obtained through Freedom of Information legislation by a Progressive Conservative party member shows $5,200 was charged to taxpayers for functions and events held at Sims Steakhouse in Charlottetown over a six-month period in 2013.


The documents also show Liquor Control Commission CEO Brooke MacMillan spent over $18,000 travelling and dining out between August 2011 and June 2013.

Myers says he believes these amounts are too high, zeroing in particularly on the thousands spent at restaurants.

“It’s an enormous amount of money particularly at a time when people are struggling to put food on their own tables,” Myers said.

“I think it speaks to the sense of entitlement there, both with Brooke (MacMillan) and the Ghiz government.”

A total of 10 meals and events hosted at Sims Steakhouse between June and December 2013 came with high price tags. One event described as a ‘senior management retirement function’ on Sept. 30 came to $1,210.

Another ‘board and senior management staff function’ on Dec. 17 cost taxpayers $1,971.

A hefty pile of MacMillan’s credit card statements and receipts were also released as part of the Freedom of Information request.

They show MacMillan travelled 19 times between August 2011 and June 2013 to locations such as Halifax, Montreal, Banff and New York City.

For each trip, expenses for mileage, airfare, hotels, meals and tolls were charged.

MacMillan also submitted several additional meal receipts for restaurant expenses in P.E.I.

One $72 meal at Papa Joe’s on April 18, 2012, described as a retirement lunch for two employees of over 30 years, included four alcoholic beverages charged to MacMillan’s government credit card.

Myers was highly critical of the expenses, stating his belief that MacMillan likes to ‘treat himself.’

“I certainly don’t think it’s necessary,” Myers said.

“Yeah, there’s probably times when he needs to travel, but his job is to bring in revenue for the province of Prince Edward Island, not to have huge expenditures and at this point he seems to be spending money at a pretty rapid pace.”

Tourism Minister Robert Henderson was unavailable for an interview with The Guardian Wednesday, but in an email said MacMillan’s expenses are in line with those of previous employees who have held his position at the Liquor Commission in P.E.I. and in other provinces.

He also defended MacMillan’s numerous trips, which amount to over $17,000 over two-years.

“The CEO is required to travel to various events and conferences to help ensure the LCC is up to date on current best practices, product options and industry standards,” Henderson said in an emailed statement to The Guardian.

“That travel has been crucial to maintain and expand on the LCC’s annual sales of close to $100 million.”

The Guardian did contact MacMillan for comment on this story. He deferred comment to the minister and the liquor agency.




Organizations: P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission, NB liquor commission, Delta Foods Ltd.

Geographic location: P.E.I., Halifax, Montreal Prince Edward Island Charlottetown Banff New York City.For P.E.I.One Nova Scotia Quebec City New York City Moncton Toronto

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Recent comments

  • Patty Ronage
    June 16, 2014 - 23:17

    People in glass houses! These meetings at Sims were of great value to the PEI Liquor Agency, and are easily explained: supply chain issues are a thorn in the agencies side, so the agencies Logistics Expert Andrew MacMillan needs to meet Brooke on a regular basis...evenings are much more convenient as they travel frequently in efforts to increase revenues after recent declines. Also, we all know you can't sell wine without a keen understanding of food pairings, so who better than Craig MacMillan (manager of Sims) to provide an in-person seminar? Realistically, this is multitasking at it's finest and I applaud the efforts of the CEO to kill two birds with one stone. Well done!

  • justin
    June 13, 2014 - 00:51

    @Don...goes to show the level of intelligence when someone can't debate a topic and NOT resort to personal attacks. As far as how liquor affects families then why not put your name on a ballot and seek election and then legislate alcohol out of PEI. Before you do that though you should save the voters some work and join Tim Hudak in Ontario.

  • Realistic
    June 12, 2014 - 23:17

    I believe in Karma..... You will get what you deserve!!! Starving children, and money worries....It will come...trust me.....

  • Sounds Fun
    June 12, 2014 - 21:52

    I wish I was invited to these parties and meals!

  • Liberal patronage appointment
    June 12, 2014 - 20:49

    Brooke MacMillan was a strong Liberal supporter from the back rooms, who was rewarded by Ghiz; who appointed him to a 6 figure salary as a deputy minister. He and his wife received PNP money; got caught and Ghiz had them repay the money. Ghiz than appointed him to be CEO of the Liquor Control Commission; and now he is overspending! Remember; Ghiz promised to get rid of patronage on PEI!

  • Liberal duff
    June 12, 2014 - 20:37

    Just another out of control spending gov employee,its time to do some infernal house cleaning with, gas cards, vehicles and cellphones oh yes the free meal,when we as taxpayers go to our days work we provide our own vehicle and gas and we pack a lunch,if some of those so called CEO sand all the rest who think our money is theirs to spend you better think again,time to trim the fat on the inside first,leave our teachers teach our children and dump money into much needed heathcare and education...its just sickening what we hear see everyday,

  • OttawaVisitor
    June 12, 2014 - 20:07

    Did Mr. Myers not just travel to Ottawa to discuss renovations and restoration to Province House? Did he pay for this whole trip out of pocket, as he is implying is acceptable? I am assuming he expensed it as he was on business, much like Mr. MacMillan's expenses. Doesn't the all mighty opposition leader also get a government car?

  • Taxing
    June 12, 2014 - 20:01

    Shame on you, Brooke MacMillan. The next time you're at Sims Steakhouse ordering prime-cut meat for you and your fat cat friends, Scan the room to see who's watching. Oh, and the grammatical errors in a lot of the comments on here regarding this story.....atrocious! "JUSTIN".....go back to your place of origin. We have more than enough imports living here, trying to weave their ideals into the fabric of P.E.I. life. I call it moral decay.

  • Pat B
    June 12, 2014 - 17:02

    He can't hold a candle to Alberta's number one spendthrift, former premier Alison Redford. She spent $45,000 for ONE trip!

    June 12, 2014 - 16:29

    Years ago there was a volunteer appreciation lunch put on by govt. They ran out of sandwiches. They requested people take less. These were plain sandwiches with a piece of lunch meat in them, or a plain egg sandwich. Sandwiches looked homemade and cut In quarters, very plain like you may pack for a kid lunch in a hurry. If this is what you serve volunteers then it should be good for anyone of any position. It was edible, plain, not fancy at all. And no liquor was served. Same should be for everyone.

  • olivia
    June 12, 2014 - 15:22

    to Justin: your argument is irrelevant , if you make your own money and èxpense` it, that is your right, - what this guy is doing is using my money, I don`t care if it is a dollar, it should all be accounted for responsibly. By the looks of it, this gov. does not know their role & place. It will take years to get proper procedures and behavior back in the civil, service after this government have operated ad hoc this long. Imagine if a man came along that had a grip and a grasp to lead us back from hell.

    • justin
      June 12, 2014 - 15:48

      To Olivia it is NOT your money. I believe the liquor agency operates to make a profit which pays for other government services similar to the Atlantic Lottery people. The person who will lead you back from hell will be someone who will tell you that you have to stop depending on everyone else to pay for your services and that PEI has to start living within it's own means which means losing half of their current budget(paid for by people from other provinces) and the only way to increase money is increase taxes or else operate businesses which make a profit for the Government. What we need is more agencies like the liquor or lottery people who actually operate to make profit to pay for the things you think you should have for free. As someone who moved here I can't believe how much people seem to think they are entitled to all their free services even though other Canadians are paying for them for you.

    • don
      June 12, 2014 - 17:19

      Justin. To start with your grab on liquor or lottery  lets see lottery how many millions did wes donate in the stupid lotto from England that alc had? Did we get any of it back? NO. Now the drunk stores how many families have been broke up due to booze? How many killed by dunks? Then you have the non brain to make this statement.  As someone who moved here I can't believe how much people seem to think they are entitled to all their free services even though other Canadians are paying for them for you. Lets see we all pay TAX'S that goes to the government and is passed out thru out canada. So these free programs you talk about is not really free as we have already paid our share for them. Not o bright are you? And as for your statement “As someone who moved her” if you do not like it here then be my guest and move back to where you came from. P.S. you have no idea how many "billions" this government has cost real islanders do you?

  • unsure
    June 12, 2014 - 13:48

    What does Mr MacMillan actually do? I'd be very interested to see his job description and to find out just exactly how much (extra) revenue he has brought in for the province of Prince Edward Island,

    • Garth Staples
      June 12, 2014 - 18:48

      Ah, but revenue is DOWN for the past year! I have been calling for the wind up of the commission's wholesale/retail operations for 5 years. There is not a politician with the guts to pull the plug and set up an inexpensive system.

  • justin
    June 12, 2014 - 13:04

    Twenty Thousand over 2 years is less then peanuts. I would ask Myers just how much he has expensed or how much the former leader Crane (who he knifed in the back) expensed to the taxpayers over 2 years. Hell I have expensed more then that in a year on own corporate income tax documents. Myers seems to focused on these tiny amounts but says nothing about the hundreds of thousands of dollars they spend on the numbers of 1864 and 2014. Would ne nice if the Conservatives could get a leader that can see the forest from the trees and focus on the important issues.

  • kings ranson
    June 12, 2014 - 12:45

    That is the problem with patronage, it is never ending, - you give a man a job because he is your friend, he then figures he is entitled to that job, and starts inventing other things he is ``entitled`` to, - and the taxpayers are on the hook for that too. It is a dirty game and Ghiz is a master at it, that must be why the poll shows such support for him.

  • Rod
    June 12, 2014 - 12:22

    Re the word "expensed" in the headline. Because the word "expense" is not a verb, it is incorrect to say that some one "expensed" something.

  • Constance
    June 12, 2014 - 12:10

    The personal attack on the Opposition, e.g. their looks, is uncalled for. Are you people oblivious to the fact that that is their job, that is what we pay them for. We can make up our own minds what we think of what they find. This viciousness maybe coming from `hired` liberals, who already have patronage appointments, and need to do a favour back. In any event, please refrain from making reference to the looks of people, it is not relevant to this discussion and shame is on the writers of such trash.

    • don
      June 12, 2014 - 13:09

      i agree but myers is a little puppet and a good slave to the back room bullies of the pc party. some day he will grow a pair and when he does he will be in the same as crane,mella. kicked out as they CAN NOT CONTROL YOU you are no good. what the bullies needs is some one that will have the pair to control them, hold it they do have but the voters of the pc party is all COWARDS.

  • Liberal Dupe
    June 12, 2014 - 10:04

    Wow, I haven't felt this sick since the last time I drank too much. But hey, it could be worse. If what what Brooke MacMillan actually accomplished at each "meeting" had to be reported to the public, we'd be heaving our lunches all over the streets!

  • Bobby Bhiz
    June 12, 2014 - 09:36

    The real crime is that he is treating is retirement staff to Papa Joe's, if we're being honest.

  • UpsetIslander
    June 12, 2014 - 09:09

    Liberal arrogance once again. There is no spending limit when it comes to TRY and make the Liberals look good, while the rest of us struggle!!!! There is so much WASTE of TAX PAYERS dollars in all depts of this government. Transportation has too be thee biggest waste of spending money!!! So many get private trucks, gas cards etc, WHY?????? And we pay for it. People sleeping in the shade or else hiding,. Lined up at the coffee shops, the joke is endless, and WE as taxpayers pay for it all. Question..... Why don't government provide all workers on PEI a fully maintained means of transportation and a gas card......... I have always been a sting Liberal, but next election, I'll be voting for anything but

    • don
      June 12, 2014 - 11:02

      i agree but we have nothing in the liberals,nothing in the pc's,nothing in the ndp. so what have we got a big pill of manure. the only one that seems to care is mrs crane but she has no party. and ghiz knows he will be voted back in due to myers being a puppet. and the ndp does nothing the only one they had was the doc and nothing after so ghiz will win as he has the tax payers money to buy the votes.

  • Honest Citizen
    June 12, 2014 - 09:03

    Get over it Myers find yourself more important things to do Liquor stores have more profit then any business That I know off that;s just pocket change ..Who will be the next person you will find to pick on ..Brook your ok

    • my money
      June 12, 2014 - 11:08

      it's tax money, I can't afford to eat at sims. my should someone else with my money.

  • Andrew
    June 12, 2014 - 09:01

    Another great example of Islanders being penny wise and pound foolish whilst listening to petty politicians who are scouring the books for anything they can spin into an outrage. Other than Sims, which may or may not be unreasonable pending more information, all of these other expenses are perfectly reasonable costs of doing business and far from outlandish. Do you people expect him to stow away in the cargo bay of the plane to save a couple of bucks? Someone needs to represent our province at these events and I can assure you that in a private industry these expenses would be astronomically higher for a business of this size. Even the argument of declining revenues is a pretty weak one as stowing the remaining cash away in the PEILCC's proverbial mattress is only going to make things worse. Wait for a response by the LCC on what the purpose of these events were before condemning anyone.

    • SLIPPY
      June 12, 2014 - 11:46

      BUT, it is not private industry, it is publicly funded, and taxpayers should have some say, just like shareholders, but we never do, instead we have political appointees who have it good spending someone else's money. At a time when taxpayers are having to rein in spending to afford ever an ever increasing tax burden, the recipients of that money should do the same, at all levels, if you add up enough pennies, you soon get to pound. Lots of pennies being thrown around on PEI.

    • Why Should the Liberals Even Care?
      June 12, 2014 - 13:30

      Good points Andrew, but the LCC has declined to comment on this issue and the public has not been informed on the purpose and results of each meeting. In the absence of information, how can the public react to these expenditures other than contempt? Not that contempt is important to a political leader who says that the public is only important, "one day an election cycle . . . it's the only poll that counts."

  • Rhino
    June 12, 2014 - 08:55

    What has been crucial to the sales, Mr. Henderson, is that your organization has a monopoly and keep putting up the prices as you see fit, --- . You are not even be allowed to buy a case of NON alcoholic beer in cans in a grocery store, ,like you can in every other Province in the country. Choking out the competition are you? I will relish nothing more than to see this arrogant bunch of boys and girls thrown out in the next election. as

  • prestine
    June 12, 2014 - 08:47

    There must be rules and guidelines even for LCC, - e.g. is it not the responsibility of the co-worker to do retirement parties? Is it not against the rules to charge meals within Charlottetown? Is it not against THEE RULES TO CHARGE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES ON THE PUBLIC TIT ? That professional organization that he repeatedly charged to attend meeting with, seem to have an erratic schedule deemed by the release. It seems there is a need to verify these unusual dates. Maybe the RCMP could to that for us?

  • I Just Can't Get It
    June 12, 2014 - 08:43

    I just can't understand how stupid Islanders have become . I don't think we would kick if they stole our clothing off our bodies as long as it's the Liberals doing it . Oh , how education has helped us thinking for ourselves . Sicking

  • Dan
    June 12, 2014 - 08:19

    Did Brooke still own Smitty's when he charged taxpayers $123 to eat there?

  • walter
    June 12, 2014 - 08:08

    Is anybody surprised? This PNP champion id not leave his entitlement habits behind when he went to the LCC. I am not quite sure what his man is owed by Ghiz, but we sure as hell are not being served well as taxpayers, - in this or in any othrer matter of running an honest and proper government. Obviously there are no governing guidelines on what he taxpayers can be robbed of . I keep a log to remind me where to set my X in the next election.

  • common sense
    June 12, 2014 - 07:39

    glad to see the government is scrutinizing their spending, and I hope all spending is scrutinized. $20,000 is nearly half of a teacher's salary... cut the restaurant meals and hire back one of our much needed teachers. Cut in other places and get us some doctors... just sayin.

    • nitpicker
      June 12, 2014 - 11:54

      But here's the thing. The spending is NOT being scrutinized. All Myers is doing is spitting out the usual opposition rhetoric. All the Guardian is doing is publishing a list of expenses. Both know that's all they have to do in order to get the desired, and knee-jerk, reaction from the masses. If we were to truly scrutinize the spending, and actually make an informed opinion on it, we would need to know the nature of the expenses, why it was necessary, and the value that came out of it.

  • Dick
    June 12, 2014 - 07:34

    This guy should run for the Liberal Party.

    • don
      June 12, 2014 - 08:34

      are you sure he is not a liberal ? he spends like one.buy the way has any one seen wes around?

  • p
    June 12, 2014 - 07:25

    The Conservatives really need to elect a leader because the level of "issues" they come up with is pretty sad. Why not have some policy suggestions instead of silly attempts to discredit and embarrass.

    • don
      June 12, 2014 - 08:36

      they had a good real leader. but they want a puppet,slave, i hear they will bring in a tfw to be the leader.

    • Regular Joe
      Regular Joe
      June 12, 2014 - 09:01

      @P silly attempts to discredit the liberal regime . lol no need for attempts they do this on their own quite well every time they open their pie hole . With all the over board spending they do it's small wonder we are so far in the hole .They came a long way since they took power with a surplus don't ya think . The island is such a better place to live now with the HST and gas at $ 5.00 a gallon and no jobs and the cuts to education along with the high cost of living and no tax beaks for the worker but all kinds if your a liberal supporting business . We have a Minister of Finiance that seems to have their own math system an can't balance a budget . Yet your big concern is the looks and actions of the interim leader of the conservatives . take the blinders off and check out the real world here on P.E.I not the fantasy world of the royalty buffoons that Giz calls ministers .

  • Not A Fan of the PC's
    June 12, 2014 - 07:19

    Yes Steve, all you do is shoot your mouth off! Like a spoiled child just wanting attention. Too bad some of that 20 K wasn't spent on dental work and some hair styling for yourself. Don't you have a dental plan?

    • Stan Hope
      June 12, 2014 - 08:25

      I'm not a fan of Mr.Myers or the PC's as well. Having said that I really don't feel it's appropriate to slam him on personal level.Sounds to me like something a bully would say on a playground.

    • Islander
      June 12, 2014 - 08:33

      Very true!

  • Wow
    June 12, 2014 - 07:16

    Brooke the crook strikes again. Ghiz get this guy under control!

  • don
    June 12, 2014 - 07:07

    Brooke MacMillan take a look at the poor and look at the kids that needs money to help them learn and you spend over 23,000 on what PARTIES shame on you i can not say on here what i want to say. 48 per cent of Islanders struggling with literacy and you spend like the bank has no bottom tell the kids that are having trouble "big deal i Brooke MacMillan will spend every cent i can and enjoy it and who cares about you. tell them. just think voters schools will close beds will close, hospitals will close just so guys like this can look like big men.

  • Regular Joe
    Regular Joe
    June 12, 2014 - 07:05

    This is why we are in the state we are now . No restraint on spending what so ever . This Goverment wants and expects taxpayers to pay through the nose while they play royalty with taxpayers money . This Brook and Ron must think they are quite the socialites and need to wine an dine everyone . They all seem to have the mentality of never mind the taxpayer trying to make ends meet or struggle with fuel costs ,we need to spend money on fine dining . We need more money for friends , we can't afford to pay for schools or teachers an still have our own private little social gatherings . Millions wasted on stupid things like this and no money for special needs classes or teachers or class room materials . This Government has no morals and no sense toward providing anything other then for their own sense of entitlement .

  • anothercomplainter
    June 12, 2014 - 07:01

    Seriously, best practices? Industry standards? The put liquor and beer on the shelves and people buy it, end of story. It's PEI, if all was manufactured was ten flavours of Mikes Lemonade they would still drink it all, what a crock. Another person who is "entitled to my entitlements".

  • don
    June 12, 2014 - 07:00

    talk about stealing. and talk about PATRONAGE. but i guess these guys can't get a reg job so they are given one. other wise they would be on welfare. and as we are looking at cut backs in health,schools,etc then this bum spends 23,000 on food etc. how can he look at islanders and be proud. he is a disgrace to all islanders.

  • A monkey could do it.
    June 12, 2014 - 06:55

    How hard is to run a monopoly? A monkey could do that job, and not waste over 100k on his salary and another 20k in events, and presumably another 100k in office staff, and overhead. Get rid of him!, and the whole commission. Can someone explain the important public function they serve???

  • Enough Already
    June 12, 2014 - 06:44

    When can this province say enough is enough with Brooke MacMillan lining his pockets at our expense? How does he have such a strong connection with this government?

  • Craig
    June 12, 2014 - 06:22

    Point being a man making over six figures salary for a job which was given to him because who he knows not because he is qualified can control his spending! Here's a concept all government employees PRETEND ITS YOUR OWN MONEY I'm positive you will not spend as much

  • mae mackinnon
    June 12, 2014 - 06:17

    How can Henderson defend this kind of government spending at the most expensive restaurant in Charlottetown. He reports it's normal spending. There are taxpayers and seniors who are barely making ends meet.

  • April
    June 12, 2014 - 06:13

    Yes that is a lot of money but I agree I thought it would have been more. Dont forget Myers "when you point a finger at someone else you are pointing three back at yourself"

  • Zero is the story, not twenty grand . . .
    June 12, 2014 - 06:10

    Because theses are mostly patronage appointments, there's zero chance there will be any accountability. The real story here isn't the twenty grand of perks, it's the millions of tax dollars wasted on needless pay cheques.

  • Guy Currie - Happy Tax Payer
    June 12, 2014 - 06:02

    Hmmm This seems to be a Non-Issue. Going through the expenses line by line, it doesn't seem too outrageous at all! Sounds to me its the cost of doing business, and I'm fine with that. Why doesn't the story tells both sides; how much money (revenue) did the liquor comm. bring to PEI?

  • GoldCoinFingers
    June 12, 2014 - 05:55

    Personally, I thought someone in his position would have spent a lot more... Yeah there were some pretty high bills in there like Sims, but who are we to judge what exactly he did there? It could have been a larger function. Personally, the one thing I took from this is he should have just are at Papa Joes, the food is just as good as Sims and apparently his bills there are a tenth the price!!!

      June 12, 2014 - 07:21

      Someone like him should never have been in this position in the first place. It was a payoff from Ghiz that he is therte at all. He is not qualified to be a CEO. Take a look at the last two years financial statements and you will see why. As for Robbie, defending him by saying that expenses were in line with the last people in his positionis not a good argument. Maybe the last people abused the expense account as well.Sales at gov.t owned stores are flat while associate store sales are rising. Tell you anything?

  • Elementary Myers
    June 12, 2014 - 05:52

    Seriously Myers, not as bad as $14 movies but a close second. Steve take a good look his expenses are not out of line. - You do nothing but try and embarras people. Get a life man!

  • Howard
    June 12, 2014 - 05:41

    The story below this one reads literacy programs facing funding cuts. This guy spends 23000 on meals and travel. wow!!!!!

    • Leon Murphy
      June 12, 2014 - 09:06

      He expensed $23,000 over two years on annual revenue of $100 million? That is absolute peanuts in the scheme of things. Myers has nothing better to do than pick apart someone who has, in my opinion, done a good job of controlling expenses, not the opposite. I can't imagine even one politician in the province being able to keep travel and entertaining expenses this low. Get a life Myers.