Cloverdale-Langley City Conservative MP Tamara Jansen spent close to $5,000 over six months on contracts with a communications company run by the party leader’s deputy chief of staff, Steve Outhouse.
Two detailed contract expenditures reports posted to the House of Commons website show Jansen’s office made five payments in the second and third fiscal quarters to Intercede Communication totalling $4,983.20 between July 1 and Dec. 30 of 2020, with two payments of $750 and $2,250 described as “Communications Officer.”
In response to a request for comment, Jansen’s office issued the following statement:
“Steve’s contract work did not overlap with his role as Deputy Chief of Staff. He provided communications support for my office.”
Outhouse has drawn criticism for continuing to operate his communications company after becoming the second-most senior staffer in party Leader Erin O’Toole’s office, in particular for Intercede’s reported involvement in the nominating campaigns of nine Conservative candidates.
O’Toole’s office has reportedly said the leader was aware of the involvement, and has checked to make sure all rules were followed.
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Before he was hired as deputy chief of staff, Outhouse was campaign manager for Conservative party leadership hopeful Leslyn Lewis, who was supported by Jansen.
Lewis, a Toronto lawyer who had the backing of many social conservatives, placed third in the contest that selected O’Toole, despite never holding office and entering the race as a near-total unknown.
At the time, Jansen noted that in her riding, Lewis “beat out all three [rival party leader] candidates in the riding of Cloverdale — Langley City by a wide margin.”
In a social media posting Jansen expressed “special thanks to Steve Outhouse for being such a principled guy. You are an inspiration.”
Former Cloverdale-Langley City Liberal MP John Aldag, who will be running to regain his seat from Jansen in the next election, said Outhouse is known to be socially conservative on issues such as abortion and LGBTQ rights, and paying him to handle communications work from an MP’s taxpayer-funded budget “begs the question, what files was Mr. Outhouse working on?”
“Generally, parties try to keep a separation between the parliamentary side and the partisan side,” Aldag added.
“Mr. Outhouse has his feet on both sides.”
Langley Advance Times has reached out to Intercede and O’Toole’s office for comment.
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