Senate adopts "11 tough new rules" on expenses

Harper and LeBreton
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is seen with Marjory LeBreton, Government Leader in the Senate after speaking to his National Caucus at Parliament Hill in Ottawa May 21, 2013. (Andre Forget/QMI Agency)

Just distributed to the Parliamentary Press Gallery at 10:30 pm ET this evening from Senator Marjory LeBreton, the leader of the government in the Senate. Read it for yourself. My only comment would be that LeBreton has been the leader of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government in the Senate for 7 years now and her party has had an absolute majority in that chamber for more than three years now. So I don’t think it’s inappropriate to ask: What the heck took so long?! Anyhow, I’ll get out of the way now and let Sen. LeBreton continue :

“Our Government is focused on delivering meaningful reform to the Senate – including elections, term limits and tough spending oversight.

“Canadians understand that our Senate, as it stands today, must either change, or like the old Upper Houses of our provinces, vanish.

“Today, the Senate adopted our Conservative Government’s 11 tough new rules governing Senate travel and expenses proposed by Conservative Senators.

“While we are bringing tougher accountability measures for Senate expenses, Justin Trudeau has come out as the champion of the status quo, demanding that the Senate remain unelected and unaccountable, because it’s “an advantage for Quebec. Time and time again Justin Trudeau takes pot shots at the west and then comes to the House and pretends he is defending its interests. Western Canadians know better.

“We said we would fix the Senate’s rules governing travel and expenses, and we delivered.”
BACKGROUND: Our 11 new measures will:

1. Remove the principal from the Senate Administrative Rules that states a Senator is presumed to act honorably with respect to expenses.

2. Clarify and make consistent terminology surrounding residency for the purposes of expense claims.

3. Require a Senator to provide a specific purpose for travel when claiming expenses.

4. Require Senators to maintain mileage logs for the purpose of claiming mileage.

5. Require taxi receipts be providing when claiming taxi expenses.

6. Restrict per diems in the NCR to days the Senate sits, days the Senator attends committee meetings and up to 20 additional days while on approved Senate business.

7. Amend the 64 point travel system to limit Senators to 12 trips not between the NCR and the Senator’s provincial residence.

8. Restrict a Senator’s designated traveler to a spouse or partner.

9. Require Administration to provide Internal Economy with monthly reports on travel patterns.

10. Amend the categories of travel to Regular Senate Business Travel and Other Senate Business Travel.

11. Eliminate the ability to use a travel point for international travel except for the currently authorized maximum of four trips in total to New York City (for UN-related business only) and Washington, D.C.

8 thoughts on “Senate adopts "11 tough new rules" on expenses”

  1. Nice release, too bad TAXPAYERS who face rules by employers which would have MOST Senators fired for their conduct are not adopted.

    The throw in of Justin Trudeaus stance, easily dismissed when Senators actually resigned for breaking rules/laws. But when Harper Stuffs the Senate full of Criminals who Tarnish the Senate and don’t take responsibility for their actions, one like Justin could only hope for a Senate that is filled with people of Integrity and Honor, UNLIKE the Majority of CONSERVATIVE appointed CRIMINALS and THIEVES appointed by PM HARPER!

  2. Reform in the senate should have happened years ago, but I guess it’s better late than never. Let’s all hope this will bring to light the corrupt criminals in the system (not that we don’t already know who they are) and bring about “FULL DISCLOSURE”. It is a bit unclear as to exactly what accountability and what, it any, consequences will be, or whether the changes will benefit the populace or not. As many posters in previous articles have stated, anyone who makes false/fraudulent claims should “LOSE THEIR POSITION AND SHOULD FACE REAL CONSEQUENCES” for any breach (criminal behaviour), just as they would if in the private sector. I don’t understand why or how anyone can misunderstand the difference between “within 100 km or further than 100 km” that their main residence is from the house (how much more clear do they need it?), so to use the excuse that “I misunderstood what that meant” is nothing short of FRAUD and any who do this should be charged and if found guilty, then be “PUNISHED TO THE FULL EXTENT OF THE LAW”. I am sick and tired of politicians who feel they are exempt from or above the law, and feel it is long past time that this deplorable practice should be abolished PERMANENTLY or close out the government altogether and find a better way.

  3. It’s either these new rules or the Senate vanishes as Marjory Le Breton states. Instead of the extra manpower required to police these rules just abandon the Senate altogether. We need to practice austerity and this government seems to want to hit the working classes to save money while their top heavy bureaucrats go unscathed. Harper should eliminate the Senate or resign himself. Which will it be?

  4. Thank you for allowing me to voice my opinion in this matter. I firmly believe that all the senators involved in things that take taxpayers dollars and spend in a means that involves FRAUD should be charged under the criminal code. That ALL Senators, Members of Parliament, PMO staff, and others must allow all of their expenses to be seen by all Canadian citizens.
    That all senators be elected to their positions and that all the seated senators must vacate the senate and an elected senate take over. That
    expenses of each senator be investigated thoroughly. That there is nothing taken for granted any longer.
    Those of us Canada Pension or Canada Pension Disability should have their drugs paid for, vision care, and dental care taken care of like those in politics. We pay for that so our veterans and those on disability pensions as well as those on Canada Pension and Old Aged security should have these extremely costly expenses paid for by the government.
    It is high time that all of our citizens whether in government or not have the same access to quality care.

  5. Despite their majority in both the House & the Senate, the Conservatives have faced much opposition from a number of sides, constitutional experts among them. So to now ask why the government has not gone ahead with its proposed reforms (term limits & electing senators, the latter not done by most provinces) is a rather simplistic question.

    “Harper facing mounting opposition on Senate reform
    by on Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    The Ontario government is speaking out against Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Senate reform agenda, opening the door for a constitutional challenge of the newly tabled legislation. “We do believe it requires provincial consent to move forward,” Ontario Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Monique Smith told the Toronto Star on Tuesday. Québec has already served notice that it will issue a legal challenge of the reform bill, echoing Ontario in arguing that the provinces must be consulted in order for Senate reform to be legitimate. The federal NDP, as well as the governments of Ontario, Nova Scotia and Manitoba, feel the Senate should simply be abolished. Reports have also emerged that some Conservatives senators are opposing the reforms. Harper’s legislation would impose nine-year term limits on all senators appointed after 2008, and would create a voluntary framework for provinces to elect potential Senate appointees.”

  6. You know what Gabby, not once has the media including ever bothered to inform the public of HARPER’S eight year term for senator.
    Frankly speaking, it doesn’t matter to what is being done or said or else, if the media did care. the mention of the eight year term and etc would be on the lips of every reporter.

    What the media want though, is to see coalition agreement between the ndp/lib and bloc and senatorial appointment of each other remains in place.
    If the media was that interested in the senators expenditure, not only would the cpc senate names be mention only, but the liberal senators as well. Unfortunately it is not to be.

    Do you really think that the coalition parties would abandon the senate- NOT A CHANCE. What they will do is stack their senate with every tom dick or harry of their chosen and not of those who are truly elected by the province’s citizens.

    The senate has been there for decades and it now the media is giving attention to it. WHAT A JOKE.

    The PM sat before the Senate then all liberals, on Sept 7, 2006 to inform them of his intentions of reforming the senate and the term limit. Unfortunately for the PM, he had a minority gov and was limitted to passing bills. Did the media ever mention this or showed the video to the public. No, they did not. NOR THEY EVER WILL.

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