MP REPORT: Senate audit is tabled

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla and writes this weekly report for his constituents.

Although there are a number of events occurring in Ottawa this week, the issue that is dominating most of the media spotlight is the recently released audit of the Senate from the Office of the Auditor General (OAG).

This audit of the Senate covered the fiscal periods of 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, reviewed $186 million in spending contained in roughly 80,000 expense items involving 116 sitting and recently retired Senators.

The findings? Of the $186 million reviewed in the AG Senate Audit approximately $975,000 has been identified as either questionable or spent in a manner that is not in accordance with Senate rules.  This questionable spending involves 30 of the 116 Senators audited; 21 of the 30 Senators have been publicly listed in the OAG Senate audit while the remaining nine of these 30 Senators, also publicly named, have been referred to law enforcement for further investigation.

The OAG Senate audit also provided an opportunity for Senators identified in the audit to respond to the expense claims that have been referenced in addition there is also Senate created process that involves dispute resolution where there is disagreement.  The Senate expense resolution process will be led by retired Supreme Court justice Ian Binnie. While it is not possible in the space of this column to list all of the Senator responses to the audit to date some Senators have admitted error in certain cases and made repayments while other claims are in dispute.

Auditor General Michael Ferguson has also made observations and recommendations regarding the Senate audit that include concerns over a lack of accountability and transparency and that in many areas Senators can make decisions that are more economical for taxpayers. In total the AG has called for a transformational change in how expenses are administered and the need to do so in a more accountable and transparent manner.

My thoughts? I have long been a supporter of increased transparency and accountability. This is why I make a point of publishing an annual accountability report that includes many items either not normally publicly disclosed or not easily located.  To date my annual accountability reports have been well received and I encourage all elected officials to find ways to share similar information.  Once concerning aspect of the Senate audit is that while just under $1 million in potentially questionable spending has been identified, the cost of this particular OAG Audit of the Senate is currently listed as $23.6 million. While I continue to fully support increased accountability and transparency it is also important for cost effective solutions to be identified. Canadians deserve a process that creates confidence in how your tax dollars are spent with regard to expenses of elected Members of Parliament and un-elected Senators.

It is also important to recognize that while some have promoted the idea of eliminating or de-funding the Senate, this could not be achieved without a national constitutional consensus among all of our Canadian Provinces and Territories. For more information on the Canadian Senate please see my February 26, 2013 MP report.  For more information on the OAG Senate Audit or any matter before the House of Commons please contact me dan.albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla and writes this weekly report for his constituents.

 

 

Just Posted

James Miller, the managing editor at the Penticton Herald, has been voted in for Jake Kimberley’s vacated council seat. (Submitted)
James Miller elected as Penticton city councillor

Penticton also voted yes to allowing up to 25 years for a Skaha Marina contract

The Eyes of the Tigers on the 2021 Beer Run on June 19. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton Beer Runners take trip around local beaches and brews

Over 160 people signed up to come back after the 2020 run was cancelled

There was high voter turnout for the first of three advance voting days for the Penticton city by-election.
Penticton city by-election general voting day is today, June 19

737 voters on June 9 in comparison to 2018 general election, which had 1,001 on first day

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 Penticton-area men charged with Kamloops brothers’ double homicide

Brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May in Naramata

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read