26 Liberal Senators AND 20 Conservative Senators Spent Over $1,000,000 Tax Dollars In Travel Costs During Last Federal Election ...
Canadians should not be all that 'thankful' for our Senate free-loaders on this Thanksgiving Day - 2013. The Hill Times has disclosed that Canada's unelected, undemocratic Conservative and Liberal Party Senators spent over 1 Million tax dollars to campaign for their political party during the last federal election.
Would someone please tell me why the Senate has not yet been abolished? (Liberal / Tory ... same old story)!
"The Senate spent more than $1-million to pay for Senators to travel between Ottawa and their regions during a period that covered the May 2011 election, according to online expenditure reports which also show that 46 Senators received reimbursements at least double their average quarterly travel amounts.
In all, 26 Liberal Senators and 20 Conservative Senators were reimbursed twice as much than their personal average for travel during the March 1 to May 31, 2011 quarterly period when there were 11 Senate sitting days. Parliament was dissolved between March 26 and June 1 for the 41st general election which took place on May 2, 2011. During this period, the Senate also reimbursed members $415,000 for travel outside of the national capital region, totalling $1.15-million for all travel.
An analysis of Senators’ expenditure records by former Senate staffer Barbara Robson Bond, obtained by The Hill Times, shows that some Senators had spikes in their travel claims during the March 1 to May 31, 2011, quarter which also shows that their expense patterns differed during this time.
For example, in the first two quarters where expense reports are available online, Saskatchewan Conservative Senator Raynell Andreychuk spent $3,029.73 from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30, 2010 and $14,949.73 in the second quarter from Dec. 1, 2010 to Feb. 28, 2011. In the third quarter’s filing, which included the election campaign, she spent $23,019.64. In the next quarterly filing after the election period from June 1 to Aug. 31, 2011, Sen. Andreychuk reduced her travel expenses to $14,850.96. All of her subsequent travel expenses ranged from about $6,200 to about $14,000.
Sen.Andreychuk was travelling overseas on Senate business last week, but her office told The Hill Times that her spending was within the allowable limits and that an explanation for the increased expenses could be because of higher ticket costs during that time. An assistant in her office also said that the number of Senate sitting days is an inaccurate indicator of Parliamentary duties. “Business goes on,” the staffer said.
Sen. Andreychuk is a member of the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committee and chairs the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Group and therefore is meeting often with ambassadors and others relevant to her committee work and interests, her staffer said.
Senators are allowed 64 return trips in the form of points. This includes a maximum of 52 for “regular travel” for Senate business between a Senator’s province and Parliament Hill and travel within the Senator’s province. The Senate Internal Economy Committee amended the travel policy in the spring to allow only a maximum of 12 points for other regional and national travel while on Senate business, including a maximum of four points available for travel to New York and Washington, D.C., whereas before they could use as many of their 64 points for “other” travel as they wanted.
The analysis of expenditure reports, prompted by the Senate spending scandal, examined three years of quarterly financial reports filed by 125 senators starting in September 2010. The Senate expenses scandal erupted last fall when Senators’ travel and housing expenses were being looked at for several irregularities. After an initial internal investigation, the Senate Internal Economy Committee contracted forensic auditing firm Deloitte to look at former Conservative Senators Mr. Duffy, Patrick Brazeau (Quebec) and Pamela Wallin’s (Saskatchewan) expenses as well as former Liberal Senator Mac Harb’s.
Sen. Wallin’s expenses warranted extra scrutiny because of the $374,032.71 of “other travel” expenses she claimed over the last three years.
After a lengthy investigation into Sen. Wallin’s travel expenses, Deloitte found that she inappropriately claimed $121,348 worth of travel expenses and an extra $20,978 in questionable expenses to be determined by the Senate Internal Economy whether she should pay it back. The Senate Internal Economy Committee ordered her to repay a total of $138,969 because her travel claims did not meet criteria for “Senate business.” Sen. Wallin repaid all of the money, she said in a statement: “I wish to make it clear. I was not treated fairly by the Deloitte review, which was not conducted in accordance with generally accepted accounting principle, nor have I been treated fairly by the Senate Committee. Evidence that casts doubt on the correctness of the amounts owing was either ignored or disregarded during the review.”
When the Deloitte report was released, Sen. Wallin said: “Travel expenses which were approved and paid by Senate Finance in 2009, in 2010, in 2011, have in a number of cases now been disallowed. The basis for this latter decision is apparently some arbitrary and undefined sense of what constitutes Senate business or common Senate practice. And by Deloitte’s own admission, no inquiries were made of other Senators as to their definition or views on this subject.”
The Hill Times