Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Wallin repays travel expenses

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OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper muted his staunch defence of Pamela Wallin following reports Tuesday the Saskatchewan senator has repaid a substantial amount of her eyebrow-raising travel expenses.

Earlier this month, Harper seemed unequivocal in his defence of Wallin, who has racked up travel expenses of $321,000 since September 2010. He appeared to suggest he'd personally reviewed Wallin's expenses and concluded they're comparable to those of other parliamentarians from Saskatchewan.

"In terms of Sen. Wallin, I have looked at the numbers," Harper told the House of Commons two weeks ago.

"Her travel costs are comparable to any parliamentarian travelling from that particular area of the country over that period of time."

On Tuesday, however, Harper was much more circumspect when NDP Leader Tom Mulcair reminded him he'd "personally reviewed" Wallin's file and found no problems.

"We have been very clear, as has the Senate and all senators," Harper said, avoiding even a mention of Wallin's name.

"They are reviewing all of their expenses to ensure not only that the expenses are appropriate but the rules in the future for governing such expenses are appropriate. That is a commitment that has been made on this side."

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 27, 2013 A8

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