Money coming back to the Senate from repaid expenses will be significantly less than expected.
After contesting the findings of the auditor general’s expense report, 10 of 14 senators have had their total amount owing reduced. In a binding arbitration held Monday morning, retired Supreme Court justice Ian Binnie announced his findings after giving the 2015 report a second look.
The amount to be repaid between all 14 senate members has shrunk from $322,611 to $177,898 as announced by Binnie.
LISTEN: Guest Host Jill Bennett and Global National correspondent Mike Le Couteur on Senate expenses
Global National Ottawa Correspondent Mike Le Couteur explains that this kind of second chance for senators to appeal the auditor general’s findings is not typical, or fair in the eyes of many.
They believed that their senators deserved a second crack at explaining their expenses here, something that I think a lot of people would realize, that in the private sector nobody else has this second crack at justice.
Le Couteur says this announcement was a positive one for the senators who had drastic cuts to their amount owing, including senator Pierre-Hughes Boisvenu among others.
Some of them have seen their total bills slashed by two-thirds, some of them half, and when you consider the amounts owing I mean that’s quite a bit. Pierre-Hughes Boisvenu, a conservative senator, was supposed to owe $60,168. Now the amount that he will be forced to repay according to Justice Ian Binnie is just $20,467.
The kind of spending that led to this level of payback, Le Couteur says, was like treating every expense, no matter the size, as a ‘business lunch.’
It’s basically like saying, and I’m sure we have friends that do this, that you’ll meet with somebody, an old friend, and say look as long as we talk business for 5 minutes of this meal I can expense the whole thing. Well that’s in the private sector and maybe, you know, that’s sort of dubious on their own account. But when it’s public money and you’re trying to use that kind of a practice, I think that there’s a different standard that we hold people to.
Senators will have 30 days to reimburse the outstanding amount.