Clement vows to make ousted senators ineligible for pension
Published Thursday, November 7, 2013 3:51PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, November 7, 2013 10:18PM EST
Treasury Board President Tony Clement is hoping to change the rules so Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau will not be eligible to receive a pension when their two-year suspension from the Senate ends.
Under current regulations, their absence will still count toward the six years of service required to become eligible to collect a pension.
But Clement said he has the power to change that.
“I’ve already directed my department to look at any kind of regulation change that is necessary to ensure that this is not pensionable time,” he said Thursday.
The three senators were removed from the Senate over allegations of improper expense claims Tuesday, leaving them with no salary or benefits -- other than dental, life and health insurance -- for the duration of their suspension, set to end with the current parliamentary session.
The term is expected to end in 2015, when all three suspended senators would, under normal circumstances, be eligible for a pension.
Wallin’s lawyer told a Saskatchewan talk radio show Thursday that if his client’s eligibility is deemed invalid, her only choice may be legal action.
“If we think there’s a viable case we will bring it, because we believe that we can find the right vehicle to do it,” said Terrence O’Sullivan. “The courts in this country will be concerned about what seems to have been the use of power for political expediency.”
Senate House Leader Claude Carignan said the Senate will review the legal advice -- provided by Clement’s department -- and may seek another opinion.
“Sometimes you have legal advice and another lawyer can say another thing,” he said.
Wallin also spoke out Thursday on the same radio show as O’Sullivan, saying that despite the suspension, she believes she, Duffy and Brazeau have been “expelled for life” from the Senate.
“Everything has been locked down, we’re out, our staff was fired unceremoniously yesterday,” she said. “This is a brutal, brutal process.”
With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Deputy Bureau Chief Laurie Graham and files from The Canadian Press