Senate Expenses: Two sitting senators among the 9 cases to be sent to RCMP
Published Thursday, June 4, 2015 4:05PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 4, 2015 10:57PM EDT
Two sitting senators – Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu and Colin Kenny – are among nine who the Auditor General plans to refer to the RCMP for a criminal investigation, CTV News has learned.
The other seven are all retired. They are:
- Don Oliver (appointed by Brian Mulroney)
- Gerry St. Germain (appointed by Mulroney)
- Sharon Carstairs (appointed by Jean Chretien)
- Rose-Marie Losier-Cool (appointed by Chretien)
- Bill Rompkey (appointed by Chretien)
- Rod Zimmer (appointed by Chretien)
- Marie-Paule Charette-Poulin (appointed by Chretien)
In addition to the nine senators being referred to the RCMP, 21 more will be compelled to repay questionable expenses.
Sources say a special RCMP team is ready to start investigating, not only the nine that will be referred to them but the other 21, for a total of 30 new cases.
That means there are now 30 new senators flagged for questionable spending, in addition to suspended Senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau, and retired Senator Mac Harb.
The Senators who will be named in the report will get a chance to appeal to independent arbitrator Ian Binnie, a former Supreme Court justice who was recently appointed by the Senate to settle disputes.
Senate speaker Leo Housakos said he is looking forward to having the report released next week.
“We’re looking forward to coming clean with the Canadian public on this issue,” he said.
Housakos is among the 21 named. His flagged expenses include $1,500 spent by a staffer who travelled to a charity event, which Housakos said the staffer has paid back.
Housakos’ flagged expenses also include about $6,000 spent on a contract for policy advice, which he said was much cheaper than hiring a full-time policy advisor at the Senate’s expense.
“There’s a disagreement between (the Auditor General) and I on that particular issue and I will be sending it to the independent arbitrator for a final ruling,” he said.
Leader of the opposition in the Senate James Cowan will also be named in the report over questionable travel expenses that amounted to more than $10,000.
Cowan said he was asked for more information on meetings he travelled for and that he “simply doesn’t have” that information. Cowan also plans to appeal to Binnie.
Government leader in the Senate Claude Carignan is also among the 21 named. Carignan said a staffer misinterpreted rules on travel and has paid back $3,000 mistakenly expensed.
Auditor General Michael Ferguson’s sweeping audit of all Senators was provided to the Board of Internal Economy Thursday and will be publicly released next week.
CTV News has previously reported that the Senate audit cost $21 million. That audit has uncovered $978,627 of questionable expenses.
Based on a report by CTV Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife