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Surrey Conservative MP defends his parliamentary expenses

As the controversy over MPs' expenses continues to grow, South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale Conservative MP Russ Hiebert has defended his expenses -- the highest in B.C. -- as necessary to keep his family together.

In the parliamentary report on MPs' expenses for 2007-2008, Hiebert shows travel expenses of $8,178 out of his Member's Office Budget, with an additional $163,258 in travel paid for out of Goods and Services Provided by the House.

In 2008-2009, Hiebert spent $5,727 on travel from of his office budget, plus $214,360 from the House.

According to a CTV report, that put Hiebert over $200,000 above the national average for MPs' expenses.

CTV quoted Hiebert as saying:

"Because my wife and I made a commitment to keep our family together, that means my wife and kids come with me when the house is in session."

Hiebert's own website, on Tuesday evening, had nothing to say about the issue.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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