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P.E.I. premier questioned on expenses for New Brunswick wedding reception

<span class="Normal">Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil, left, New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant, centre, and P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan met in P.E.I. Friday to discuss a regional plan to reduce red tape</span>.
P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan, right, speaks with New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant, centre, and Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil. (File photo)

Premier Wade MacLauchlan defended saddling taxpayers with covering his costs to attend a wedding reception in New Brunswick during question period in the legislature Thursday.

“My view was that I was invited because I’m the premier of Prince Edward Island,” said MacLauchlan.

“It didn’t end up costing that much. I was there in my capacity as premier.”

MacLauchlan attended the wedding reception of New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant in October, staying at the Tara Manor Inn in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea.

MacLauchlan claimed $111.18 in his expenses for accommodations.

Jamie Fox, MLA for Borden-Kinkora, said “that money means a lot to Islanders” and asked MacLauchlan a total of seven times why he billed this expense.

“The premier billed Islanders to stay at a fancy inn, which bills itself as a private, fully equipped vacation resort. At a time when Islanders are asking for affordable housing, the premier is billing taxpayers to attend a wedding reception.”

MacLauchlan, who was in Moncton the night before the wedding reception for a speaking engagement, says he did not charge taxpayers for the Confederation Bridge tolls.

He adds that his personal and travel expenses are less than half compared to the previous 10 years before he became premier.

“I’m the cheapest and the most parsimonious premier that has ever served in this province,” said MacLauchlan.

Fox also questioned the lack of October expenses available online. Expenses were due online Wednesday, but several departments, including Early Learning and Culture; Workforce and Advanced Learning; Health and Wellness; Communities, Land and Environment; and Family and Human Services had yet to post them.

MacLauchlan said he is proud to remind the house that the requirements to post expenses automatically for ministers and senior officials were brought in after he became premier.

“Those are done regularly and on a timely basis,” said MacLauchlan. “If it’s the case that there is something needed to be signed or something because we are in the house, I’m sure it’s going to be up there before the end of the week”.

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