Watch: Sen. Gerald Comeau, head of the Senate board of internal economy, says an independent audit into travel expense claims filed by Sen. Pamela Wallin has been referred to the RCMP
OTTAWA – A Senate committee is ordering Sen. Pamela Wallin to pay back tens of thousands of dollars she received for questionable expenses – plus interest – and has referred the matter to the RCMP.
Scroll down to read the Senate’s summary of the report, and click here for the full text from Deloitte
The chamber’s board of internal economy is also restricting Wallin’s ability to travel at taxpayer expense and pledging to keep a close eye on future expense claims for at least the next year.
Sen. Gerald Comeau, the chairman of the committee, made the announcement after a review of recommendations from a three-member panel on what to do about the audit of Wallin’s expenses, conducted by Deloitte.
“I believe I can speak for my colleagues on both sides when I say we found aspects of the Deloitte report very troubling,” said Liberal Sen. George Furey, a member of the panel.
“We’re very conscious of our responsibility as committee members to ensure that all Senate resources are properly allocated.”
READ MORE: Sen. Pamela Wallin’s full statement
The report takes issue with about $121,000 in travel expenses filed by Wallin, and calls for further review of nearly $21,000 in additional claims. Wallin herself has already paid back about $38,000.
During the news conference, however, Comeau mentioned a lower figure – $90,000, which he said includes the repayment Wallin has already made. The reason for the discrepancy was not immediately clear.
Furey said the impact of the ongoing scandal surrounding expenses – which has already ensnared senators Mike Duffy, Mac Harb and Patrick Brazeau – has been a black eye for the Senate.
“Colleagues that I spoke to during the summer tell me that everywhere they go, they’re being mocked,” Furey said.
“They find it very difficult. It’s a difficult time for the institution, no question.”
A defiant Wallin described the audit as “fundamentally flawed and unfair.”
Wallin has already said she would pay back any disallowed expenses, plus interest, citing her desire to get back to representing the people of Saskatchewan.
Wallin has said high travel costs are part of the job, and she made no apologies for traversing the country to champion important causes.
“When appointed to the Senate in 2009, I was determined to be an activist senator – one who saw it as her job to advance causes that are important to Canadians,” she said Monday.
“When invited to appear publicly and speak … I saw it as my duty to accept whenever I was able to do so. Travel to these public speeches and appearances was – and is, in my continuing view – a legitimate Senate expense.”
Read the Senate’s summary of the report below and click here for the full Deloitte report.