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The Senate Expense Scandal is no Longer About Expenses

I’ll tell you what – once the wheels start to come off, the hairy ride ain’t going to stop until the wagon crashes and the wheels are coming off the conservative party bus.

Remember Richard Nixon?

Somehow, the President of the United States and the smart kids in his office managed to turn a penny-ante break-in of the Democratic National Offices at Watergate, into a full-blown scandal that led to impeachment proceedings against the President.

The President didn’t know about the break-in until after he heard about it in the media; nor did he order it. What he did do was avoid taking immediate and decisive action to hold accountable any and all who were responsible. Instead he applied the ‘political’ fix. He denied, altered his story and eventually became complicit in the cover-up and it is always the cover-up that hangs you.

Fast forward to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

He denied for over a year that he had ever smoked crack or marijuana. Once the infamous video was released, the story changed. He had smoked it once, then on CNN he admitted he had smoked crack more than once. He also admitted to smoking marijuana but was adamant that he hadn’t touched either drug in over a year. That got changed Tuesday when it was made clear that the video in which the Mayor appears to be smoking crack was made only nine months ago.

That’s the problem with the truth. It’s buoyant and sooner or later, it’s going to float up to the surface. The only real issue is whether or not you want to put the truth out there and try to minimize the damage it causes or try to obscure the truth until it pops to the surface and hammers you.

Politicians are notorious for poor issues management and I believe it is because they have an uncomfortable relationship with the truth. You only have to compare their actions after an election with their promises before the vote to understand that.

In 2008, a listeriosis outbreak happened in Canada, linked to products from a Maple Leaf Foods factory in Toronto.  Many got sick and a twenty-three people died. I always respected the way that situation was handled.

Maple Leaf didn’t bob and weave or try to mitigate the situation with excuses; CEO Michael McCain stepped up and publicly took responsibility for what happened. He ordered a voluntary recall of all products from that plant and not just those linked to the outbreak. He was quick to keep the public informed as the investigations unfolded; holding a number of press conferences where he released information and answered all media questions put to him.

I believe it was his open honesty that saved Maple Leaf’s credibility and allowed it to regain consumer confidence. The shame is that we never see that kind of open, accountable and honest leadership from politicians – including our premiers and prime minister.

In Ottawa yesterday, the Information To Obtain (ITO) was released by the RCMP investigating the Senate Expense Scandal and to quote David Aiken over at Sun News – “BOOM!”

The circle involved in the attempt to make the Mike Duffy affair go away has widened. It now includes the Conservative Party’s lawyer, Benjamin Perrin and The Party’s fund manager, Senator Irving Gerstein. The RCMP are also looking for additional material involving Senators Marjory LeBreton, David Tkachuk, and Carolyn Stewart Olsen.

In all, there are now a minimum of 13 people involved in the Senate Expense scandal and they are all directly connected to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The RCMP affidavit alleges that the senators were part of the broader scheme to make the Duffy mess disappear by ‘softening’ the language in the Deloitte audit of Duffy’s expenses.

It should be made clear that nothing has been proven in court and there are no charges laid – yet; but clearly there is something unseemly about the government’s handling of this entire mess and who knew what or did what.

Senators Carolyn Stewart Olsen and Marjorie Lebreton were part of the recent cabal that pushed to suspend Senators Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau. Senator Gerstein and Benjamin Perrin both report to the Leader of the Conservative Party who, coincidentally, happens to be Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

It is becoming clear that while the Prime Minister did not know about Nigel Wright’s check to Mike Duffy, he had approved something and the suspicion is that he approved the Conservative Party repaying Duffy’s housing claims.

The Prime Minister has been clear and unequivocal in his denial that he knew anything about Nigel Wright repaying Duffy’s expenses and I take him at his word. He has, however, always dodged answering whether or not he knew about a plan to have the Conservative Party repay those expenses.

I’m not sure that I see much difference between Nigel Wright repaying Duffy’s expenses and authorizing the Party to do the same thing.

I suppose that this, like all political scandals, will be interpreted by people based on their particular bias. If you are a hard-core right of right conservative who thinks the Prime Minister can do no wrong, you’ll cling to the part of the documents that states there is no evidence that the Prime Minister did anything wrong. If you are suspicious of Stephen Harper, you’ll seize on the email in which Nigel Wright says the Prime Minister has given them a go ahead in the belief that email proves the Prime Minister did approve some kind of repayment and, therefore, did know about a plan to provide cover for Mike Duffy.

People have already begun lining up and the finger is being pointed at the usual suspects; first Mike Duffy, then Nigel Wright and as always, the conservatives favourite whipping boy after Justin Trudeau – the media. Just to be clear; this scandal was not manufactured by the media. They are reporting the news not creating it.

But in all honesty, does any of it really matter?

The simple fact is that this is just one more sordid attack on our democracy; one more situation in which politicians have conducted themselves in dishonourable ways.

The RCMP are investigating Senators and the Prime Minister’s Office. Isn’t that enough to bring us together to defend our political system and our values as Canadians? Isn’t that enough for all conservatives to demand straight answers from the Prime Minister?

Where is the accountability, the integrity or even just doing the honourable thing? What has always frosted my butt since this entire scandal began is that unlike all of his predecessors, this Prime Minister has never once sat down in front of a television camera and offered full disclosure of what he knew or knows to Canadians. He has never apologized for the actions of the people he hired and appointed and who reported to him and for whom he was responsible.

The arrogance and hypocrisy are palpable and in the end – deadly.

The Gomery Inquiry established unequivocally that Jean Chretien did not know what his minions were up to in the Sponsorship Scandal. It didn’t save him or his successor, Paul Martin, who actually had the decency to call the inquiry into the actions of his own party.

The simple truth is that the longer people try to hide the truth, the bigger the scandal grows until it has completely outgrown the original issue. That is happening now. The Senate Expense scandal is no longer about senators and their expenses. Now it’s about the integrity of the Prime Minister and of the Conservative Party.

The thought that the kind of stonewalling that has failed virtually every time in the past will somehow work this time – especially now that the RCMP are all over this like fleas on a junk yard dog – would be almost laughable except for the damage it does to our political institutions and the faith and trust people have in government.

It is also undermining the Conservative Party.

Once again, conservatives will take sides. Some will defend the Prime Minister, some will criticize him but those looking at the internecine conflict within the party will wonder why conservatives continuously squabble over less than honourable conduct by various individuals rather than uniting in defense of our values against all who would violate them; including some of our own.

We promised much including transparent government, accountability and more integrity. Instead we have delivered Rob Ford, the In and Out scandal, robocalls and the new allegations about misrepresentation by some conservative staffers against Michael Sona, illegal election campaign funding, how disgustingly the Harper government has treated our vets and tried to cover it up, and the ongoing Senate Expense scandal. Each new revelation leaves me feeling like I need a shower and what I find most troubling is that there are still too may conservatives trying to justify it all by blaming the Liberals for their past scandals.

That’s nothing but an admission that we’re as dirty as they were.

Quite frankly, blaming the media and the constant hysterical obsession with every stupid thing that comes out of Justin Trudeau’s mouth is starting to wear a little thin. The truth is that conservatives have a need for some serious introspection.

You can’t preserve, promote or protect conservative values by violating them and you can’t protect your democracy by blaming others while supporting those who undermine it.

The RCMP Information To Obtain Documemnt

Plucky Tory staffer stood his ground against PMO on secret Duffy plan

Media commentary on the latest RCMP revelations 

PMO staff worked with senators to whitewash Mike Duffy report: RCMP

RCMP documents put Senate scandal focus on Stephen Harper

New RCMP file details how Harper’s key staff and top senators allegedly colluded to whitewash Duffy report

RCMP probe bribery allegations in PMO

Mike Duffy Senate scandal moves closer to Stephen Harper

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© 2013 Maggie’s Bear

all rights reserved The written content of this article is the sole property of Maggie’s Bear but a link to it may be shared by those who think it may be of interest to others

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  • oldwhiteguy

    inquiring minds want to know, what is illegal about someone, anyone, paying mike duffy’s expenses?

    • MaggiesBear

      Under the criminal code, (sections 118 and ss), it is illegal to give a sitting legislator money or other benefit in exchange for something else. The RCMP are alleging that Nigel Wright bribed Mike Duffy in order to make him stop talking and revealing whatever it is he knew. If the allegation is proven, it is a serious offense punishable by a heavy fine, a prison sentence or both. Nothing has been proven to this point other than the fact that the money transferred hands. Nobody seems very clear on why the PMO wanted to silence Duffy.

      • Bert_1

        You know, that is the part that I have the hardest time with. Nt that I disagree with it but that someone as intelligent as Nigel Wright would do such a thing. Usually, you expect that kind of behavior from organized crime bosses or someone like that, not an intelligent, well respected business man. I hope that it is a misunderstanding but if Wright actually did bribe Duffy, I think he should take the fall for it.

        • MaggiesBear

          I’m writing about what I think happened and will be posting it later today but in my experience; it isn’t bad people and criminals who end up in situations like this; it’s good people. They don’t consciously make a decision to circumvent the lay,they kind of stray into unethical behaviour one small step at a time. I believe it is because they get so focused on fixing and micro-managing the issue, they lose sight of the bigger picture until it’s too late.

          • Bert_1

            I hope you’re right. That aspect of this whole affair has bothered me from the very beginning and made be suspicious that there is more to this than meets the eye. Wright is simply too intelligent for something like this to be an accident, in my opinion.

  • Pingback: The Senate Expense Scandal is no Longer About Expenses | Grumpy Opinions()

  • deb Scott

    well said Bear!!!

    • MaggiesBear

      Thank you although to be perfectly honest, I wish it didn’t have to be said.

  • sharon wilson

    Did you read the RCMP report?
    Boom… the police docs show there was no PMO nefarious scheme to cover up. It was Duffy’s scheme all along with all involved trying to get Duffy to pay back the taxpayer.
    Boom… police docs show PMSH did not know about the plan or that Wright cut the cheque.
    Boom… police docs show that the whitewash of the Senate report was actually following precedent set when the House of Commons handled the Lib MP Judy Sgro’s ineligible housing allowances.
    Boom… police docs show no emails shredded by demand from PMSH and all involved waived their rights to immunity. If that’s a cover up the CPC needs some lessons from the McGuinty and Chretien Liberals on destroying the evidence and paying in untraceable cash with no paper trail.
    Still can’t find the missing $40 million from the Adscam money laundering scheme.

    • Bert_1

      I find this whole affair rather disturbing. I remember when it first surfaced. Duffy said that he was innocent of any wrong doings and I couldn’t decide if he really was innocent, if he just thought he was innocent or if he was lying. Then, the auditor’s report came out and – if I remember correctly – it said that Duffy owed back something like $1050 in ineligible expense claims he made. After that, it jumped up to $90K but I have never seen any justification for that number. The auditors said that his claims were mostly legit and that he had been in PEI when he said that he had been. So, how did we get from Duffy owing $1050 to $90K? Is this some sort of political manoeuvring or were the auditors wrong?

      • MaggiesBear

        I think Duffy is as dirty as the rest of them but the audit specifically said that it was unclear if he was in violation of the rules because the rules themselves were unclear. It further stated unequivically that Patrick Brazeau was not in violation of the rules and that Pamela Wallin was ordered audited under rules that did not exist when the expense claims were made. It was other senators on the Internal Board of Economy who arrived at the decision the three were in violation. Now one of those senators, Stewart Olsen is herself being audited for the same thing.

        • Bert_1

          Then why all of the hellabaloo? And, why has Harper kicked all three of them out of the CPC? It appears that there is more to this story than has been told so far.

          • MaggiesBear

            Now you’re starting to get it Bert. There was no reason to suspend them. There were too many questions about process. Wait until the Auditor General’s report comes in. There are going to be all kinds of senators who have made the same mistakes. Carolyn Stewart Olsen is already having her expenses reviewed for precisely the same reasons as Duffy’s and Wallin;s. Is she going to be next in line to go under Harper’s bus?

            The rules were too vague, the process to casual and it was open to individual interpretation.

            When that was raised with the government, they came up with the line that if the Senators hadn’t violated the letter of the expense process, they had violated the spirit of it. That is an accusation that can be leveled against everyone involved in this mess including the Prime Minister.

            • Bert_1

              I don’t understand why Harper did that. I usually give people the benefit of the doubt in cases like this though; Maybe Harper knows something pertinent about this situation that I don’t. Regardless, it does sit very poorly in the pit of my stomach ejecting people from a party when there is little to no obvious substantiating evidence that they did anything to deserve that. Harper may be able to justify his actions in the future but he had better have a very good reason for doing what he did.

              • MaggiesBear

                Harper is a bully. He proved that with his handling of Helena Guerges who was exonerated by the RCMP. He has a habit of attacking and blaming others but never takes responsibility upon himself and that is why I have been so critical of him. I’m, a conservative and I want a conservative majority government but I am not going to sell my soul, my values or principles to maintain it. Harper is killing conservatism in this country and the Senate Scandal is just one more example.

                • Bert_1

                  Unfortunately, we are at the same point that we were with Ford. If not Harper, then who? Canada cannot afford to experiment with JT. All of the good that Harper has done – and I think you will admit that he has accomplished and amazing amount in a fairly short period of time – can and will be undone by just a few short years of JT in the PMO. We can’t afford that. If Harper is a bully, then he is a bully. I don’t care. I will have to remember to not submit my resume for any position in the PMO. And, no, I do not consider that as selling my soul. In fact, I think that supporting Harper is the best protection my soul can get from the evil of another Trudeau.

                  • MaggiesBear

                    I can’t believe you wrote that. You would actually trade away what made this democracy what it became simply to prevent JT from becoming PM? Unbelievable. It is even more unbelievable that you think that the Conservative Party is so weak that we can’t find anyone any better than Stephen Harper.

                    • sharon wilson

                      I can’t believe you call yourself a Conservative.

                    • MaggiesBear

                      What’s the difference between those people who support Justin Trudeau no matter how absurd the things are that come out of his mouth and people who refuse to look at Stephen Harper with a critical eye whenever he violated conservative principles like protecting our vets, allowing a discussion and debate on when life begins and adhering not only to the letter of the law but the spirit of it. In my eyes, there is none which means I am very happy with my conservative values thank you very much.

                    • Bert_1

                      I agree with everything you just said but I am just not prepared to throw Harper out just yet. He pisses me off with the things you just mentioned and some of the legislation he has and is trying to push through that stomps on personal freedoms. That is not very conservative in my books.

                    • Bert_1

                      What, exactly, do you find so incredible in my reply?

              • sharon wilson

                Duffy lived in his own house in Ottawa and charged taxpayers $90k for food and housing, as if he was working away from home.
                When the Libs on the Senate committee called in the RCMP, what choice did PM have?

                • Bert_1

                  He could have waited for a guilty verdict.

                • MaggiesBear

                  The PM knew about Duffy’s living arrangement before he was appointed to the Senate. In fact, there is independent documentation to show that Duffy was concerned about that before he was appointed but the PMO assured him it was just fine. So tell me please, why it is Duffy alone who is wrong and not those who advised him?

                  • Bert_1

                    I’ve never claimed that Duffy was wrong. I have always said that I don’t know and that the reports I saw said that the regulations were vague and/or confusing. If Harper caused this, then Harper should pay the piper. It would be inexcusable in my opinion for him to have created the environment for this whole thing to occur in the first place.

        • sharon wilson

          The Liberals called in the RCMP, gone are the days when you pay up and shut up;
          as was the case when Lib MP Judy Sgro bought a house, sold it to her kids and then rented it back so as to get the housing allowance.

      • sharon wilson

        Bert, the $1050 was errors in charging per diems when he was not on Senate business,
        then there was the residency dispute where the $32k was a housing allowance given to Duffy when he actually lived in Ottawa (as a primary res not in PEI). That primary residence dispute meant not only was the housing allowance disallowed so were the per diems and meals Duffy charged ( while he lived in his own home in Ottawa!!) Duffy charged taxpayers an additional $60k as if he was living away home.

        • Bert_1

          According to the auditors, he did nothing wrong. From what I understand, the rules regarding housing allowances for Senators (and MP, I assume) are rather vague and ambiguous. They did verify that he spent whatever amount of time he was supposed to spend in his riding (PEI) so that he was entitled to the claims. If that is true, then he shouldn’t owe anything beyond that $1050 or whatever it was since he was, in fact living in a second residence, not his primary residence.

          That’s my understanding, anyway.

    • Fay

      Agree , if the media was fair and balanced they would hold Ontario liberal government to the same standards as Canadian conservative government.

      • MaggiesBear

        Who do you think uncovered the Liberal scandals? Who do you think uncovered AdScam, the ORNGE mess, the gas plant closures and who do you think caused the Quebec government to finally admit to corruption and call an inquiry? It was the media, not a couple of guys sitting in a bar eating chicken wings. Nobody created the mess the conservatives are facing other than conservatives. Trying to suggest that the media is harder on them than on Liberal scandals is uninformed whining and self-victimization

        • Bert_1

          But, the media is harder on conservatives than liberals. I really hate that argument but it is true. No politician that I can think of has been hounded like Rob Ford. Whether he caused the problems himself or not is irrelevant. The media hounds dragged him through the mud. I don’t ever remember a liberal politician at any level get pilloried like that. Hell, that idiot here in Edmonton (I forget his name and can’t find it) who punched out a senior citizen during the last provincial election is now a cabinet minister. Did he get taken to task for his actions?

          I don;t see this as self-victimization, either. It pisses me off to see a $90K scandal in Ottawa getting all the print while a $1B fraud event in Ontario is hardly mentioned any more.

          • MaggiesBear

            What do you expect from the media? They uncovered the corruption; they reported it and quite often. Are they supposed to keep saying the same thing over and over and over indefinitely? There are new stories happening every day and they only have so much space. They have been particularly hard on Justin Trudeau and I can point to a number of columnists outside of Sun who have savaged him.

            I get tired of this constant conservative ‘we are victims’ attitude. I thought we were better than that.

            • Bert_1

              I really don’t like that argument, either. It is like kids arguing “HE started it!!!!” However, when the bias is blatant, I think that it needs to be pointed out. Not as an excuse for unacceptable behavior but as an indication to the populace that they can’t believe everything that they hear from the media. Sometimes, I think that the media supplies more spin than the politicians.

              I know that you don’t like Ezra Levant but the one thing that I like most about him is his tenacity. He finds things that aren’t right and he exposes them. Instead of whitewashing stories, he presents them and lets you decide for your self where you stand on the issue.

              • MaggiesBear

                You talk about pointing out blatant bias – start looking at Ezra Levant with a jaundiced eye becausse he makes the bias at the Toronto Star look positively objective.

                • Bert_1

                  So? The difference is that the a-holes at the Star try to pass themselves off as reporters. Reporters are supposed to report. Nothing else. But, they don’t. They put a spin on the stuff that they do report and ignore a bunch of stuff that doesn’t fit their agenda. They are a far cy from being a reporter. That is also true for the people at CBC. People who claim to be reporters twisting the news to fit their agenda. Disgusting.

                  Ezra, on the other hand, has never – to my knowledge – claimed to be a reporter. He is a political pundit. He does in depth research on whatever topic presents itself to him and he provides his opinion on those topics – legal and political. That is what he is paid to do and that is what he claims he does. And, I, for one, think that he does a very good job at it. Glenn Beck, Charles Krauthammer, Michael Coren, Rush Limbaugh, Chris Matthews and many others do the same thing. And not one of them claim to be reporters because they aren’t.

                  • MaggiesBear

                    The Star has reporters just as Sun News does and it has commentators, just as Sun News has. With the possible exception of Chantal Hebert, The Star is a heavily biased organization that I believe gives the progressive agenda a soft ride and I have criticized them for it. I believe that Sun News does exactly the same thing from the conservative side. There are some good balanced reporters working for the Sun Newspapers and David Aiken, John Robson and Pat Bollard on Sun News do provide both good reporting and commentary but the rest are no better than the hacks at the Star. If were’ going to criticize the bias at the Star, then to be consistent, we have to criticize our own hacks.

                    • Bert_1

                      In my experience, the Sun reporters are real reporters. They report on the news and don’t spin it one way or the other, just as you suggested. But “the others” are all commentators or political pundits. Ezra Levant, Michael Coren, Brian Lilley and [now gone] Charles Adler are all pundits of one form or another and none of them claim to be objective reporters. That’s not their job.

                      The problem, I think, is with your definition of a hack. To me, a hack is someone who proclaims one thing and does something else. In the news business, that would be someone trying to pass themselves off as unbiased, objective reporters when, in fact, they are political pundits who end up twisting the news to support whatever their position is on a subject. The folks I mentioned above from Sun News don’t do that because they do not pretend to be unbiased, objective reporters. They are political pundits and they present themselves as political pundits. That is the honesty that is missing from the MSM.

                      Now, I’m going to go out on a limb: How are you any different than Ezra Levant? I don’t come here to your blog to get the news. I know very well that whatever I find here will be YOUR **OPINION** on whatever subject you happen to have stuck in your craw at the time. That is not a criticism, it is a compliment. You don’t present yourself as a reporter but as a blogger – another term for political pundit. You make no bones about the fact that what people read here is **YOUR OPINION**. Period. You aren’t pretending to be an unbiased, objective reporter. If you did, I would never return to this site. I come here because I value your opinion and I know that even if I disagree with you, your opinion is well thought out and presented as such. That is exactly what Ezra Levant does and I like him for the exact same reason that I like your blog. Honesty.

                    • MaggiesBear

                      I agree with you about the difference between reporters and pundits and I don’t have an issue with pundits being biased. Newspapers have been picking sides in elections since the invention of the printing press. My issue with Sun News Network (not Sun Newspaper) pundits is that they throw in a lot of ‘facts’ that are deceptive in order to prove some point.

                      An example is Levant’s constant harping about the ‘media party’ bias. What are the examples being used by him and Brian Lilly? Ted Kennedy and Chappaquidik and Bill Clinton. Those are American issues that have nothing to do with the media in Canada. He studiously avoids mentioning how the National Post has savaged Justin Trudeau or how CTV broke the story about AdScam.

                      I have no issue with people holding an opinion, my issue is fairness.

                      What’s the difference between me and Levant? I hold everyone to the same standard. I have been as critical of Justin Trudeau and the Liberals as I have of Stephen Harper.

                      As a final point, it’s a good thing you don’t look to me to report the news. I usually only hear about stuff after everyone else has already heard it.

                    • Bert_1

                      I have heard Ezra use Canadian examples of media bias many times. The Liberal scandal in Ontario, Liberal politicians getting a pass on drug use, Theresa Spence getting a pass and more that I can’t remember off the top of my head. And, I have seen him give praise when praise was due to folks at the other stations and newspapers. If they report fairly, he mentioned it if it was pertinent to the story he was presenting.

                      Also, I have found the folks at SNN to be fairly balanced on Ford. They supported him up until the point that he admitted to the crack use and impaired driving. Then, they said that he had gone too far and should resign. Hell, I even remember some lefties being floored by SNN’s coverage because they thought that SNN was just as biased on the right as their normal sources are biased on the left.

                      I know what you mean on the news. I’m a bit behind myself most of the time :-)

                    • MaggiesBear

                      It’s tough to get old. It just slows us down but…..the naps are great.

                    • Bert_1

                      :-) I thought it would be a good idea to get some work done this week so I offered to put in a week of 16 hour shifts. Its been fun but I’ll be glad to get home this afternoon and, if my granddaughter will allow me, to have a nice long nap…

    • MaggiesBear

      The docs show that Stephen Harper did not know about the $90,000 check. They also show that he had approved a plan prior to that.

      • sharon wilson

        You don’t know what that email referred to, it could have been Duffy’s legal fees.
        Today PM said he did not know about Gerstien and Wright planning for the party to pay.
        Check out CTV power play, where real experts Beasley and Walsh said there is no criminality and it very possible PM knew nothing, I believe the experts, not the media maggots.

        • MaggiesBear

          The email advising that Wright wants the PM’s approval before proceeding, he refers to item 3 in Duffy’s list of demands. Item 3 was that ‘he be made whole”, a legal term that he not be out of pocket. In other words, the implication is that whatever Duffy must reimburse, he personally won’t have to pay it.

          I don’t know if that is what the PM approved or not but neither do you and that’s the problem. The PM has specifically avoided answering questions about whether or not he approved the Conservative Party Fund paying Duffy’s expenses. He has always only admitted that he knew nothing about Wright’s cheque.

          The problem with all of this is that it doesn’t pass the smell test. Ultimately, it is his office and his appointments that have done this and which are under police investigation. Remember Helena Geurgis? He threw her under the bus for being investigated by the RCMP, where is his accountability?

  • disqus_4c8wFnvx5z

    My concern is that the bean counters in the bureaucracy are not being investigated for approving all these expenses in the first place. They were not appointed (sic) and will continue in their jobs…

    • MaggiesBear

      The bureaucracy does not approve Senate expenses. They are approved by the Senators themselves. The bureaucracy has nothing to do with any of this.

      • Bert_1

        It’s been a long time since I have been in the feds, but they used to have (still have) something they called “section 34” and “section 35” (I think I have the numbers right). Basically, one person had spending authority and the other payment authority. This is from the Treasury Board. The expense claims of the Senators are paid by that Board and are, therefore, subject to the same laws. There have to be some bureaucrats somewhere in the expense handling process who sign off on them. Someone has authority to sign for the “purchase” and someone else has authority to sign for the payment.

        • MaggiesBear

          It works on an honour system now. That’s one of the big criticism that has been leveled. Senators submit their expenses, nobody does anything more than a cursory check for calculation accuracy and the cheque is issued. That is being changed. The bureaucracy cannot approve or disallow Senate or MP expenses. They merely process the payments.

          • Bert_1

            But, somebody has to have responsibility for the pot of money that senatorial expenses are paid out of. If there isn’t then there is no control over it.

            • MaggiesBear

              That’s the whole point Bert. There was no independent control It was an honour system that had little honour in it. MPs have a similar system although they’re scrambling to change that now that things are starting to get exposed to the public.

            • sharon wilson

              Yes there is, Senate Accounts, but the Senators have complained that they are inconsistent in what they will approve or reject. But they don’t mini-audit, Senators are on honor system that they incurred the expense.

              • Bert_1

                So, there is someone who has overall responsibility for the pot of money, then. I do understand that few people are going to question a Senator’s expense claim, but any irregularities should be noted.

      • sharon wilson

        All the Senate expenses go for approval in Senate Accounts , they approve or reject the expenses submitted.