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.