Aug 15, 2013
By Jane Brown
The opposition New Democrats on Parliament Hill are renewing a call to abolish the Senate. In the midst of an expense scandal surrounding Senator Pamela Wallin, NDP MP Paul Dewar says the Upper Chamber is “an illegitimate institution created before Canada had electricity”. He also claims most Canadians think the Senate “needs to be sent packing, period”.
Liberal Senate Leader James Cowan, meantime, is blasting Prime Minister Stephen Harper for initially vouching for Wallin’s expense claims while he spoke in the Commons last February. “The immediate action of the prime minister and the people around him was to spring to the defence, to attack those who were raising issues about Senator Duffy, about Senator Wallin, about Mr. Wright,” he explained, “and then when further information comes out and further facts come out and it becomes impossible to continue, then he goes silent.” Prime Minister Harper’s former chief of staff Nigel Wright admitted to paying back $90,000 in questionable expenses by Senator Mike Duffy before resigning his post.
Deloitte auditors flagged $121,000 in inappropriate expenses by Senator Pamela Wallin, and have called for further review of almost $21,000 in additional expenses. Wallin has already repaid $38,000, and has promised to reimburse any expenses that were disallowed.