Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 02/16/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Sen. Pamela Wallin used to be a national journalist. She should know as well as anyone the days of willy-nilly spending of public money with no accountability are gone. The taxpayers' message has been consistent: It's OUR money, and when you spend it, you had better be responsible with it -- and be prepared to prove it. But the 21st century appears not to have fully penetrated the oak-panelled walls of the Canadian Senate chamber.
At the same time as at least three senators are being examined over dubious out-of-town living expenses (worth $22,000 a year), Wallin is facing an external audit over her travel-expense claims of more than $350,000 over 27 months. The audit will be kept secret, says Conservative Sen. David Tkachuk, who chairs the Senate committee on internal economy.
The protective fog of secrecy and evasion being wrapped around Wallin is completely out of sync with the expectations taxpayers have of accountability and transparency. First, Tkachuk said there was no audit, then later said he misunderstood the question. Then he said the audit was because "There were some unusual items. Nothing illegal, but very unusual." Then he said it was a random audit. Then he said the results of the audit would not be made public unless something wrong was found. Now, he suggests it will not be made public at all. No wonder many Canadians want the Senate abolished.
If Wallin is spending taxpayers' money, she has no right to keep the accounting of how it is spent, or the results of an audit of that accounting, from public view. Shame on her and her colleagues.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 16, 2013 A15
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Feminists online, vocal and unpaid
Islamic State uses modern media
Minimum-wage hike hurts youth employment
Human-caused climate change behind California drought
China should give in to Hong Kong
Katz's regrets a Nixonian moment
Anxiety in Hungary about Ukraine
History abounds in HBC Archive
Will U.S. Customs and Border Protection change?
Modern nationalism is rooted in religion
Hong Kong residents uneasy following protest
A mayor who can bring us together
Abbas does more harm than good
Who really was Jack the Ripper?
Humanity evolving on human rights
Outlook grim as Ebola deaths climb
Recognize name-calling as racism
Cycling's faster than Route 90
Other Opinion: Put new 'eyes' on police
Ukraine’s Somalia scenario
In China, a lone voice silenced
Holder’s successor must push back on 'too big to fail'
Jews in Germany face 'worst time since the Nazis'
Ballooning police costs should be a ballot-box concern
State of question period shows ill democracy
Parents, not government, should teach financial literacy
Time to import German exceptionalism
Genocide is as genocide does
Ebola “fix” still too far away
War in Syria and Iraq not the way to go
How they obstruct your right to know
Justice gone wrong