Please lock up your valuables, Mr. Harper

There is a thief inside the PM’s supposedly secure headquarters

Memo to all staff at the Prime Minister’s Office: don’t leave your valuables unattended. There is a thief (or thieves) lurking inside the Langevin Block, the PM’s supposedly secure headquarters.

For the second year in a row, the Public Accounts of Canada—the federal government’s three-volume, line-by-line spending breakdown—reveals sticky fingers lurking inside the nation’s highest office. The details are scarce (the Privy Council doesn’t discuss internal security issues) but one thing is clear: the PMO crime spree has cost taxpayers $4,440.

As Maclean’s reported in 2010, the first victim was Jason Ransom, one of Stephen Harper’s two official photographers, who was reimbursed $1,298 after someone swiped his personal laptop. (Ransom’s government-issued computer was being repaired that day, so he was using his own laptop at work). An investigation was launched, but neither the crook nor the Mac was ever found.

Now, a year later, the culprit may have struck again—another PMO staffer, Herman Cheung, Harper’s manager of “new media and marketing,” filed a claim for $3,142 following the “theft of personal camera and accessories.”

This time, though, officials are far less willing to discuss specifics. The obvious questions—Where was the camera stolen? When did it go missing? Was a suspect identified?—could not be answered due to vague “security reasons.” Said a spokesman: “The Privy Council Office follows up on all incidents of theft, loss or damage of property or assets to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident and take any remedial/corrective action necessary to minimize the risk of a recurrence in the future.”

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