Well the auditors are done with at least three of our Senators. They met with two of them and the third, Mike Duffy was apparently far too busy to meet with them or even bother to send them the paperwork they requested.
Maybe their request was too confusing. However Duffy did let them know as they were wrapping things up that he was open to a meeting. The Senate subcommittee decided they didn’t need Mike anyhow. The auditors had pieced together his attendance and where he was by using his cell phone records and the records from his Government Issue Amex Card.
I saw the news gathering on TV. It was Conservative Senate Leader Marjory LaBreton came out to make her statement to the media. She seemed a bit disappointed that the Liberal side of the Senate weren’t ready to put this all behind them and wanted more time to consider the matter. Ms. LaBreton seems to feel that if the money is repaid then there is no harm and no fouls.
Some of the media pushed her on that, pointing out that if they were over claiming on their expenses they wouldn’t have their jobs very long. She seemed noncommittal when asked about whether the RCMP would be called. If the police want to investigate it’s their call, not the Senate’s it seems.
So what have we got? Conservative Senator Mike Duffy says he was confused and paid the money back, even the per diems he received when he was in Florida and not eligible for. He blames a temp in his office, but he signed for it. Apparently Mike doesn’t bother to read things that are put in front of him to sign.
Former Conservative and now independent Senator Brazeau isn’t saying anything. He’s in enough trouble as it is, he’s probably smart for keeping his mouth shut.
Former Liberal and now independent Senator Mac Harb is going to fight this. He thinks he has done nothing wrong. I disagree, but at least he’s standing behind what he did, and if he loses his case then he’ll pay back the money with even more interest. That is if he loses.
The bottom line is that out of 105 Senators 101 appear to be following the rules, well at least they’re not being investigated. The auditors and the subcommittee are done with three of them and we’re still waiting to hear on Senator Pamela Wallin.
But just when you think things can’t get any weirder… the reports on Brazeau and Harb say the rules about residency are unambiguous but that section gets left out of the report on Duffy. How odd the only one who claims he was confused is not told how clear the rules are. You’d think that would be the other way around, wouldn’t you?
Look, if you or I were to pull these kinds of games on our employers, we’d be on the street looking for a new job if we were lucky… we might just as likely be charged with fraud. I don’t care if they are greedy or just thick, ignorance of the law is no excuse. Taking money you are not entitled to is a crime for citizens and it should be for Senators too.
When I was watching the press conference with Marjory LaBreton, I heard her say one thing that I have to agree with… there is no honour in the Senate.
Imagine that, I’m agreeing with a Conservative…
…and I’m usually the one defending the Senate…
I need a beer.
This just in… Liberal Senator James Cowan is saying that the RCMP is indeed interested in examining the expenses of three Senators. Is this the same RCMP the Senate was chastising this past week? It could get interesting…