Nasty case of cannibalism breaks out in Canadian Senate ..... Yikes, someone call the RCMP the "Senators" are starting to bite and chew each other!
Americans must think Canadian senators are a bunch of idiots but then again, the nation that prides itself on being the most powerful in the world seems to lurch from one national debt crisis to another.
Here's the deal. We'll trade you Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau for your six worst senators plus as an added bonus throw in Stephen Harper and his wife. Final offer!
Besides, even if Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau survive this latest train wreck which senate committee would want them as members (not to mention political parties) they're radioactive! So what do they do for taxpayers to earn their lavish salaries and benefits packages?
Clare L. Pieuk
Dispute over Canadian Senator's expenses balloons into larger political scandal
By Ian Austin
Thursday, October 24, 2013
OTTAWA — It began as a seemingly mundane dispute over expense claims from four members of Canada’s Senate, an appointed body rife with patronage and long a source of minor scandals. And while the amount of money involved is not vast, it has become a major political scandal for Canada’s prime minister and his government.
The Senate debated into Thursday night on whether to suspend three of those senators without pay. A fourth had already resigned. And whether the Senate should continue to exist is being debated inside and outside the halls of government here.
Last week, when a new session of Parliament opened, the legislative agenda for Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government said: “The government continues to believe the status quo in the Senate of Canada is unacceptable. The Senate must be reformed or, as with its provincial counterparts, vanish.”
Mr. Harper, a Conservative, first came to power in part by crusading against corruption in the Liberal Party.
Hugh Segal, a senator from Mr. Harper’s Conservative Party, said he did not favor abolishing the Senate, but he acknowledged in an interview that making the case for its overhaul would not be easy. “At some level many Canadians just don’t think that the institution is legitimate,” Mr. Segal said. “It has no democratic validation.”
Michael Bliss, a prominent Canadian historian and a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto, said the current scandal, which has angered Conservatives as much as their political opponents, will only accelerate the Senate’s demise.
“In what ways has the Senate made a difference for the better?” Professor Bliss asked. “Frankly, I can’t think of any. You will not, in fact, find anybody who can cite a single significant Senate debate in Canadian history.”
Established to give the provinces a voice in Parliament, the Senate has traditionally deferred to the elected House of Commons. While distinguished Canadians have accepted appointments to the Senate, the tendency of governments to use it to reward retired politicians or party operatives has, over time, made it fertile ground for political cartoonists. Under normal circumstances, all 105 senators are guaranteed a job until mandatory retirement at 75.
Three senators in the current controversy are Conservatives appointed by Mr. Harper despite his promise on taking office in 2006 to introduce an election system for the Senate.
Two of the three, Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin, were well-known broadcast journalists who, after joining the Senate, often used their celebrity to draw crowds at Conservative fund-raisers throughout the country.
At the heart of the controversy are rules that allow senators who live more than 100 kilometers, about 62 miles, from the capital to claim living expenses when here.
Mr. Duffy was appointed as a senator for Prince Edward Island, his birthplace, although has lived far to the west in Ottawa for most of his adult life. It was not until after his appointment that he declared his summer cottage on the island his permanent residence for Senate purposes. But a Senate inquiry found that when it came to everything else, including as his government health insurance and driver’s license, Mr. Duffy claimed residency in suburban Ottawa.
The Conservatives first tried to quell the controversy by announcing that Mr. Duffy had voluntarily repaid $90,000 for expenses collected over four years. But that gesture only made matters worse when CTV — coincidentally the network for which Mr. Duffy and Ms. Wallin had worked — reported that Mr. Harper’s chief of staff, Nigel Wright, had given Mr. Duffy a personal check to cover the $90,000 reimbursement. Mr. Wright resigned from Mr. Harper’s staff soon after news of the check became public.
The prime minister, who has a reputation as a micromanager, has denied knowing anything about Mr. Wright’s check before it became public and has offered no explanation for Mr. Wright’s generosity.
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Mac Harb, the sole Liberal among the four senators, had been in the House of Commons, representing the downtown Ottawa electoral district that includes the Senate chamber, before he was appointed to the Senate. But court statements filed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to obtain a search warrant indicate that once a Senate appointee, Mr. Harb changed his declared residence to a house just outside the 100-kilometer limit, allowing him to claim expenses. However, that dwelling, the police said, was uninhabitable for an extended period. Mr. Harb recently repaid $232,649.07 in expenses and resigned; he now collects a parliamentary pension of more than $100,000 a year for his service in both houses.
The Conservative motion to suspend Mr. Duffy, Ms. Wallin and a third senator, Patrick Brazeau, who is also accused of lying about the location of his primary residence to collect expenses, seems to have only added to public skepticism about Mr. Harper’s role and his knowledge.
In a speech in the Senate on Tuesday, Mr. Duffy said the check from Mr. Wright followed several discussions with officials from Mr. Harper’s office about the fact that Mr. Duffy could not afford to repay the $90,000, but he did not link the prime minister directly to Mr. Wright’s reimbursement.
Mr. Duffy did say that at a meeting between him, Mr. Harper and Mr. Wright, the prime minister was uninterested in what rules Mr. Duffy had broken by claiming expense money to which he was not entitled. At the meeting, Mr. Harper said, in Mr. Duffy’s words, “It’s not about what you did; it’s about the perception of what you did.”
The opposition New Democratic Party, which has long advocated abolishing the Senate and does not allow its members to sit there, said Mr. Harper’s meeting with the other two men has undermined his credibility.
“Stephen Harper is at the center of this deep scandal,” said Tom Mulcair, the leader of the New Democrats. “Every step of the way, Stephen Harper has been aware of this. It’s his office, he’s responsible for it.”