Thursday, May 01, 2014

"Oh you poor little darling, you've had it so hard for so long it's time to retire with your gilt-edged pension - give taxpayers a break!"

Good Day Readers:

What really stands out is how out of touch Senators remain these days. While so many Canadians struggle every day to make ends meet, they're completely oblivious to their plight instead consumed with taxpayer financed entitlements. Little wonder more and more voters want them turfed out on their collective asses.

Since the Senate is virtually immune from abolition (thanks Supreme Court of Canada) perhaps the only solution is abolition by attrition. Don't appoint any new senators and wait for those remaining to either retire or croak. Picture this. Fast forward to 2050 when the only remaining Senator a by now is, yes, a bald Patrick Brazeau.forced to retire because he reached the mandatory age of 75 with his gilt-edged pension Team Wallin-Duffy-Harb having long since duly departed.

They just don't get it. Canadians are really ....ed off at them.

Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk

Senate expense claims getting second look from staff

Jordan Press
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Senator Majory LeBreton former leader of the government in the red chamber. (Photo: Pat McGrath/Ottawa Citizen)
 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

OTTAWA — A spending chill has become apparent in the Senate as finance officials clamp down on senators’ expense claims, including per diem claims of the sort that helped land suspended Senator Mike Duffy in trouble.

Senator Marjory LeBreton, the former government leader in the upper chamber, said Thursday that meal claims were suddenly being rejected by administration officials because food was being served at a committee meeting that senator was attending.

She also cited complaints from other senators that the expense rules weren’t being applied equally.

The complaint was an example of a crackdown on claims by Senate officials, just as the federal auditor general is probing Senate spending. It also comes as the upper chamber prepares to amend its administrative rules for the second time in as many years.

“The point is that there is no uniformity by Senate finance as to how the rule is applied — some per diems are approved and others are questioned or rejected based on the assumption that a senator was at a meeting where a meal was provided and they actually ate it,” LeBreton told The Citizen.

“In short, Senate administration (is) part of the problem.”

The Senate’s administrative rules — the code that outlines how senators can use taxpayers’ money — is in the midst of a comprehensive review 10 years after being adopted. The rules have undergone some changes since 2004, including last year when the Senate removed a reference to the so-called “honour code” under which senators operated when submitting expense claims.

Now, making those claims has become more difficult.

Senate sources say that finance officials have started rejecting more and more requests, including in March when some senators tried to use up remaining funds in their office budgets for skids of soft drinks.

New rules on when senators can, or cannot, claim meals will be debated by the middle of June, the committee heard. Whenever they arrive, senators are likely to find the way they conduct their affairs changing again.

“Outside of here, this is how business is conducted. This is how you’re responsible to the corporation,” said Senate Liberal Larry Campbell.

“The senator has to take a look and say if a meal is supplied, a meal is supplied. That’s what happens in the real world and it should happen here.”

jpress@ottawacitizen.com
Twitter.com/Jordan_press

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