The federal Auditor General (at the time of this writing) was yet to release results of his audit of expense claims by senators, but already the whining had begun, underscoring that at least some of “job and pension for life” mob are unwilling to accept limitation, expectation and oversight.
Case in point? Conservative senator Nancy Ruth who bristled at auditors questioning her refusal to be satisfied with airline breakfasts, which according to media reports, in the senator’s words “are pretty awful.” “If you want ice-cold camembert with broken crackers, have it” barked the senator. Such deplorable fare caused senator Ruth to opt for something more to her liking, billing you, me and the rest of us for the upgrade. And how much is a glass of orange juice senator?
The senator told reporters “I just don’t think they (auditors) understand anything of what it’s like to have to fly around the world to get here to Ottawa.” Around the world?? The senator lives in Toronto. I’ll take a leap here and not fact-check, but assume global circumnavigation is not required because direct flights from Toronto to Ottawa are still available. Just over 100 senators expense claims are being subjected to the audit which requires confirmation claims were made only for matters directly related to senate business.
A question here. Why aren’t all senators being audited? A second question. What makes members of parliament immune from an identical audit?
Federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair trumpets his demand for information on the AG’s findings, yet Mr. Mulcair fails
to suggest a call for an MP audit. Mr. Mulcair, if you indeed want transparency and accountability then volunteer for a public expenses audit conducted by a fully independent and recognized auditing firm. Then call on former NDP
MPs of the last decade to volunteer to be included. Such a decision would generate much voter support. How much support would be heard from within your ranks would be interesting.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau should act similarly. Mr. Trudeau believes his jettisoning of Liberal senators from
the party caucus last year clears him of any contact with now former Liberal senators who perhaps might not satisfy the Auditor General’s expense claims scrutiny. Won’t work Mr. Trudeau. Prime MInister Stephen Harper may face the greatest challenge and not only perhaps find himself weighed down by senators still within the party caucus, but also
by former Conservative senators facing investigation, trial and public scrutiny. The PM as well though has opportunity to take the lead by volunteering a current and former Conservative MP expense claims audit.
None of the party leaders will agree. They have, through their caucus spokes-voices on the issue already ridiculed any thought of a required MP audit.
Members of parliament and the senate are terrified at the prospect of full and public audits of expense-spending. It speaks volumes only one MP willingly, openly and voluntarily made Canadians aware of her expense-spending. Former Liberal member of parliament Michelle Simson posted all of her expense claims online. Initially Ms. Simson, a regular contributor to my radio program, was ordered to stop the practice. When she refused the MP was punished by her caucus whip. Included in that punishment was the refusal to allow Ms. Simson any opportunity to speak in parliament. She was denied even to publicly acknowledge the death of a 21 year old constituent and member of Canada’s military, killed while on duty in Afghanistan.
Michelle Simson also found herself shunned by parliamentarians from all parties. For? Doing exactly what she should have. And exactly what neither Mr. Harper, Mr. Mulcair, nor Mr. Trudeau will agree to, unless dragged before the federal Auditor General’s examiners by a Canadian public unwilling to accept anything but a full accounting each expense dollar claimed. Well?