PMO stands firm on proposed suspensions for Wallin, Duffy and Brazeau
The Prime Minister's Office has affirmed its support of a Senate motion that's seeking to suspend senators Pamela Wallin, Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau without pay for allegedly claiming inappropriate expenses.
In a statement to CTV News, the PMO said the senators have already been found to have claimed ineligible expenses in an independent audit.
“It's the Prime Minister's view, therefore, that they shouldn't be collecting a public paycheque," Harper's director of communications Jason MacDonald said Sunday.
MacDonald was responding to a media report that Conservative Sen. Claude Carignan, leader of the government in the Senate, is open to amendments to the suspension motion.
"They know what they did is wrong, that's why the Prime Minister supports the Senate motion and wants to see them vote on it," he said.
MacDonald said the PMO does not direct the activities of the Senate and cannot comment on any discussions senators may be having.
However, he said the Prime Minister's stance on the issue remains the same.
"We remain firm on this important point: Senators who have already been found to have claimed inappropriate expenses should not be collecting a public paycheque," he said in the statment.
Carignan told Radio-Canada Sunday that there is the possibility to change the sanctions for Wallin, Duffy and Brazeau, if the motion to suspend them is approved. He said that the Conservative caucus will meet Monday to consider any changes.
As it stands, the motion to suspend the three would see the senators not receive pay or benefits. It would also cut off their access to Senate resources.
The debate over the suspension motions will resume Monday, following a dramatic week that saw a number of bombshells dropped in the Upper Chamber.
Senators are also expected to debate a closure motion, presented by Tory Sen. Yonah Martin last week, that would limit debate on the suspensions and push a vote on the matter.
The vote on Martin's motion could happen on Monday or Tuesday, while the vote on the proposed suspensions could happen as early as Wednesday.
The Conservative convention is set to begin Thursday in Calgary.
Earlier this year, Wallin, Duffy and Brazeau were forced to repay thousands of dollars earlier after outside audits by Deloitte found ineligible expense claims.
Wallin repaid more than $120,000 in travel expenses, while Duffy repaid $90,000 in housing and other expenses. Brazeau was ordered to repay about $48,000 but missed his repayment deadline and his Senate pay is being garnished.
The RCMP is investigating the expenses of all three senators, along with those of retired senator Mac Harb. No charges have been laid.