A Nova Scotia MP says the RCMP has spent close to a million dollars renting empty suites in a Dartmouth office building.
There are three suites on the first floor, one on the third, and more than 100 desks sitting empty.
That's what MP Bill Casey says is inside of the RCMP headquarters right now, and so far, the RCMP have paid just under $1 million in rent for the whole building.
“It says it projects to spend that same money for ten more years to rent that vacant space; this is their report,” Casey said from Amherst.
The RCMP report Casey says he obtained through an access to information request shows the RCMP intends to rent the building for 10 more years, which could cost another $1.5 million.
“When it comes to taxpayer-funded agencies such as the RCMP, there has to be that extra level of scrutiny to look at why have you wasted almost a million dollars on space that you just aren't using,” said Paige MacPherson of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau told CTV News the building may not be empty much longer.
“What I understand is the facility is going to be fully occupied by next year,” Morneau said. “Some of these things take some time, but I do think that what he brings up, again, is that we need to be constantly diligent that we are spending the precious dollars that Canadians entrust us with in a way that makes sense.”
The new tenants could be RCMP emergency dispatch officers, relocated from their current office in Truro.
The job losses in his district prompted Bill Casey to start looking at the RCMP's policies.
“If you look across the country and, in fact, across North America, you'll find that police forces and emergency measures separate their communications centres,” Casey said. “So, if something happens in Dartmouth like a White Juan, then Truro can pick it up.”
The RCMP did not respond to requests for comment, as such there are several unanswered questions that include:
- Is the RCMP able to sublet the space with another federal agency?
- When could the empty suites be filled, and who will fill them?
- And how is the expense justified?
Casey has written a letter to the RCMP commissioner asking for answers.
With files from CTV's Atlantic’s Emily Baron Cadloff.