The special arbitrator in charge of assessing questionable expense claims by 14 senators has submitted his final report to the Senate, Global News has learned.
Former Supreme Court justice Ian Binnie confirmed on Tuesday that the report is now being translated before being passed along to the Senate Standing committee on Internal economy, Budgets and Administration. It is unclear when the committee might formally table it, however, meaning the public could have to wait a while to see what it contains.
“There is nothing more for me to say,” Binnie wrote in response to an email query from Global News. “As you know, at this stage the contents of the report are confidential.”
Binnie was appointed last May to carry out a dispute resolution process after the federal auditor general released an explosive report into Senate expense claims that flagged claims made by 30 current and former senators. The claims totalled nearly $1 million. Of the 30 senators, 14 opted for arbitration to challenge the auditor’s findings.
On the lower end of the spectrum of possible repayments is Tory senator Don Plett, who is contesting $1,120 of the $4,095 the auditor said he owed. Senate Liberal Sandra Lovelace Nicholas, meanwhile, is challenging $75,227.
Senate spokesperson Jacqui Delaney said the dispute resolution process was completely independent.
“Justice Binnie has never been in consultation, direct or otherwise, with the committee on internal economy, budgets and administration, or steering since he was hired to oversee the dispute resolution process,” Delaney wrote in an email.
-With files from Monique Muise.