Canadian Senate expenses scandal

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The Canadian Senate expenses scandal was a controversy concerning the unrelated expense claims of several Canadian senators which began in late 2012 and ended in 2016. Senators Patrick Brazeau, Mike Duffy, Mac Harb, and Pamela Wallin claimed travel and living allowance expenses from the Senate. After an audit conducted by Deloitte LLP, Duffy -- whose expenses were later found by a Superior Court of Ontario judge to be legitimate -- Harb, and Wallin repaid some expenses. Harb retired a few months later. In November 2013, Brazeau, Duffy, and Wallin were suspended from the Senate without pay but were eventually reinstated. Duffy, the only senator to face criminal charges, was acquitted, with the judge in the case calling the charges an abuse of state power. [1] Charges against Harb were withdrawn and no charges were laid against Wallin.[2]

The Auditor General of Canada examined expense claims made by 116 senators and former senators over a two-year period. In a June 2015 report, the Auditor General alleged thirty senators' claims were inappropriate. The report recommended nine cases be referred for police investigation. No charges were laid in those cases. [3] Fourteen of these senators opted for binding arbitration by former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Ian Binnie, and his report was issued on March 21, 2016.[4]

Senator Wallin delivered a speech in the Senate, where she condemned the body for ignoring the rule of law when it expelled four of its own members without any hearing or process:

"Why is the Senate acting as accuser, judge, jury, and executioner before I have had a day in court? That's exactly why this whole process [is] flawed. If this chamber can take this extreme action with regard to a sitting senator, imagine what it can do to an ordinary citizen who crosses the government of the day. ... The issue is no longer about expenses, or audits, or transparency, or accountability, or even the reputation of this chamber — it's about an abuse of power. ... They were targeted leaks, many of them incorrect, designed to cast my conduct in the worst possible light. They were personal and vindictive, and they violated the rules of this place. ... The government [put] the sentencing before the trial..."[5]


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ R. v. Duffy, 2016 ONCJ 220 (CanLII) (http://canlii.ca/t/gplvk) Retrieved June 4, 2016
  2. ^ Laura Payton. [1] "Senate scandal puts Harper's brand at risk, poll suggests". CBC News. 01 November 2013.
  3. ^ Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the Senate of Canada—Senators' Expenses, (http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/docs/parl_otp_201506_e_40494.pdf). June 4, 2015.
  4. ^ "Report of the special arbitrator on the expense claims identified by the Auditor General in his report dated June 4, 2015". Retrieved from http://sen.parl.gc.ca/portal/reporting/AG/index-e-htm
  5. ^ "Debates of the Senate (Hansard)". Parliament of Canada. Senate of Canada. 23 October 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2015.