Thursday, May 07, 2015

The Mike Duffy annual award for Senatorial spendthriftiness!

Good Day Readers:

Next month the Auditor General of Canada will release his long awaited report on senate spending. It's expected to cite about 40 senators for questionable spending 5-10 of whom will run into the tens of thousands of dollars and could be turned over to the RCMP for further investigation.

CyberSmokeBlog is proposing the highly secretive and paranoid (and well it should be) Internal Board of Economy convene a special meeting once a year. Members could vote on the Senator who ....ed away the most taxpayer dollars while doing the least amount of work. The winner would then receive the Mike Duffy Golden Arse Award presented by the Governor General at a special ceremony held at Rideau Hall.

The Mike Duffy Golden Arse Award

Much like an Order of Canada the recipient would be presented with a prestigious lapel pin (shown above) by David Johnston immediately recognized by taxpayers as someone who has accomplished a significant achievement.

Clare L. Pieuk
Senators who fail their audit will be named, Speaker pledges

By Jordan Press
Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Leo Housakos is the newly named Speaker of the Senate. (Jean Levac/Ottaws Citixen)

Canadians will know in June which senators have been abusing the public purse, with the red chamber prepared to name names and “aggressively” and “harshly” punish those in the wrong, says the new Senate Speaker.

Auditor General Michael Ferguson’s final report will name names, and the public will get its first look at the details when the Senate publicly releases the report. Senate Speaker Leo Housakos vowed Wednesday to make that report public as soon as possible after he receives it.

Those whom Ferguson singles out as having a pattern of problematic expense claims could be suspended without pay, just as senators Patrick Brazeau, Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin were.

The emotional debate in the fall of 2013 to suspend the trio without pay could reignite in a big way. Up to one-third of the 117 senators under review by the auditor general could face questions about their expenses in Ferguson’s final report, according to Senate sources.

Housakos wouldn’t speculate on what will be in Ferguson’s report, but was clear the Senate would “be intolerant of any misbehaviour and intolerant of impropriety.”

“There could be cases that come out of that report where there are administrative errors, there could be cases where senators have made mistakes in good faith … You accept those, you build upon them and they’re errors of good faith,” Housakos said in an interview with the Citizen.

“When you have errors where you have patterns of misbehaviour, or patterns of inappropriate expense claims, then that’s a whole other story. Then we have to be very intolerant with that, and we will have to deal with it as aggressively and as harshly as we have in the past.”

Senate sources have said Ferguson’s report will likely flag five to 10 senators as having serious issues that could require a review by the RCMP. Some of the senators in this category have already retired from the upper chamber.

Dozens more – it’s not clear how many – will face serious concerns that go beyond administrative errors. Senators in this group can expect to be challenged on: thousands of dollars worth of claims for travel that didn’t have an obvious parliamentary business component; questionable housing expenses; and contracts handed out through their office budget that have raised flags.

The vast majority of senators subject to the review are expected to receive a clean bill of financial health.

Housakos will receive Ferguson’s report in the first week of June and pledges to make it public quickly. He called it a “watershed moment” in the history of the upper chamber.

“It’s going to be helpful in making the changes in strengthening the institution,” Housakos said. “I’m committed … to move quickly on the recommendations that are brought forward.”

Ferguson’s office wouldn’t comment on how the findings will be outlined in that report.

“We work very hard to protect the information contained in the draft versions of our reports because it is only the final report – the one that is tabled – which accurately represents our final audit findings and conclusions,” Ferguson’s office said in an email.


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