Questions raised about Sen. Dennis Patterson’s residency claims
Published Thursday, February 14, 2013 10:06PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 14, 2013 11:41PM EST
Conservative Sen. Dennis Patterson has been representing Nunavut in the upper chamber since 2009, but questions are now being raised over whether he actually lives in the territory.
Provincial land title records show Patterson owns a home in Vancouver and municipal records show that he claimed a homeowner grant from the government of British Columbia, which is only available to those who primarily live in the province.
To be eligible for the grant, homeowners must have most of their personal belongings in B.C. and have or be eligible for a B.C. driver’s licence and medical insurance. They must also file a B.C. tax income return.
Patterson, however, told CTV News that he rented out his Vancouver home last year and purchased a condo in Ottawa.
The senator has lived and worked as private consultant in Vancouver before he was appointed to the Red Chamber.
Patterson also said he voted in Nunavut in the last federal election, but Elections Canada records show he was registered as a voter in B.C., not in the territory.
Patterson, a former Northwest Territories premier, collects an annual $22,000 housing allowance given to senators whose primary residence is located more than 100 kilometres from Ottawa. He has also racked up $205, 369 in air travel since September 2010.
CTV News spent days trying to ask Patterson about his residence claims. On Thursday, the senator said it is a “complex matter with many facets.”
“I don’t believe national television is the place to examine all the facets,” he said. “I’ve had a residence in Nunavut since I was appointed to the Senate.”
But some say they rarely see the senator in Nunavut, except at official functions.
“He hasn’t been here for at least 10 years,” said Akeeshoo Pootoolik.
According to Iqaluit city hall records, Patterson is the legal lease holder on one property there. It has been rented out to someone else.
“It now appears he’s always remained a resident of British Columbia and we are going to have to look at his case as well,” NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair said.
Late Thursday, Patterson emailed CTV News to say he resides in a rented apartment in Iqaluit.
He said his regular travel expenses include trips to Nunavut “or any Senate business within the Northwestern Region defined by the Senate Administration Rules.”
“I pay for any personal travel using personal funds,” he wrote.
Patterson said he has provided relevant information to the Senate’s internal economy committee.
“I look forward to the results of the review and I do believe that I have conducted my affairs in a way that is in compliance with the rules,” he wrote.
“It has been an honour to serve as both Premier and Senator for the region and I am confident that I have conducted my affairs in a way that respects taxpayers and the rules.”
The Senate has already asked for an independent audit of housing expenses claimed by three senators: Conservative Sen. Mike Duffy, Liberal Sen. Mac Harb and Sen. Patrick Brazeau, who was forced to sit as an Independent after being charged with assault and sexual assault.
Conservative Sen. Pamela Wallin is also being audited for hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel expenses over the past three years.
All four senators have denied any wrongdoing.
Marjory LeBreton, the Leader of the government in the Senate, said the results of those audits will be made public.
With a report from CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife and Field Producer Philip Ling