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
Post-crisis economic response needs to soften
The limits of blasphemy
Jan. 28 a big day for Manitoba women
Lessons from 9/11 still need learning
Selinger's foes suck and blow
The price of comfort
Time to regulate marijuana
Tax hikes for transit in Vancouver?
Africa’s Islamic state
Wynne’s fiscal imprudence
The needs of landlords
Putin cuts media
The search for convenient alcohol
Deflated football matters
We don’t know Chris Kyle
Racism part of our collective story
Manitoba Senate seats sit empty
Veto-power use significant in U.S. history
When an cherished name offends
Islamic State’s silver lining
Je suis Muslim
Francis making the Church more humane
Makayla Sault should not have died
What would Hillary do?
The West needs more compassion for Muslims
Obama needs to give more for moderate Cons
Erdogan’s Turkish remake: Derisive, scary
Change in Cuba: slow as she goes
Red tape stifling Manitoba
New media age for Canadian Forces
Clinton is #ready
Car makers remain committed to electric cars
Je suis Charlie fails to address problems
New Year may mean time to rethink drinking
Time for a social democracy reboot in Manitoba?
Hydro lacks authority to build Bipole
Winnipeg public transit has great potential, if we give it the resources it needs