Protesters disrupt Trudeau presser on Senate expenses

Sometimes transparency comes with some unintended consequences.

Standing centre stage on Parliament Hill, Justin Trudeau spoke Wednesday about his new plan regarding parliamentarians’ expenses, urging openness and transparency in government.

Also starring in the press conference? Construction workers, yogis and protesters.

As the Liberal leader answered questions about his plan that would require parliamentarians to make their expenses public, protesters held signs that read “Justin loves the Senate,” “Canadians want Senate reform. Why does Trudeau want the norm?” and “Justin in over his head,” a phrase echoing that of a recent Conservative attack ad.

“One can see why the Conservatives are so worried,” said Trudeau after taking note of the protesters standing behind him.

He was on the Hill to discuss the Senate, dogged by the continuing expenses scandal.

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Trudeau’s four-point plan would require all MPs and senators to post quarterly details of their travel and hospitality expenses on public websites, as cabinet ministers already do.

Trudeau said Liberals will begin posting their expenses this fall and hopes other parties will follow suit.

Watch the video below: Trudeau proposes new transparency initiatives 

Trudeau’s plan comes as the Senate prepares to debate a motion to call in the auditor general to investigate all expenses in the unelected upper chamber.

In question period today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper accused Trudeau of wanting to keep the Senate operating as normal. The Tories are advocating for Senate reform, while not ruling out abolition. The NDP has never been shy about its disdain for the upper chamber, and will put forward a motion Wednesday to defund the Senate by 2013.

“On this side of the House, unlike in the Liberal party, we think the Senate needs to be reformed,” said Harper during a heated round of QP.

Watch the video below: Opposition continues questioning Harper over Duffy expenses

Earlier that day, while addressing media on the Hill, Trudeau addressed claims that he is against Senate reform.

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“Nobody in this country, including me, can look at the goings-on of the past weeks and months and be in favour of the status quo for the Senate,” said Trudeau.

“I believe in a level of transparency and accountability that I’m demonstrating right here, but I also think that the judgment of the prime minister in how he appointed and who he appointed to the Senate is at the heart of what is wrong.”

Also while on the Hill today, Trudeau had to contend with on-going construction and groups of people practising yoga.

It’s all part of open government, he laughed.

With files from The Canadian Press