Quote: Originally Posted by JLM
You know damn well, none of the rotten bastards can be good for too long! -
JLM, I know you are a closet Liberal.Yes I am LMAO now.
Chris Selley: Pamela Wallin’s behaviour disappointing, even in best case scenario | National Post
Let’s assume that the many thousands of dollars in travel expenses she and her staff admitted were improperly billed to the Senate were an honest mistake.
Let’s accept Ms. Wallin’s claims that auditors unfairly applied new spending rules retroactively — despite Deloitte’s claim that the basic “principles of the [travel] policy did not change; i.e., that travel costs would be reimbursed if the purpose of the travel was to carry out the Senator’s parliamentary functions.”
Let’s assume, though he denies it, that former chair of the Senate’s internal economy committee, fellow Conservative senator David Tkachuk, did indeed tell Sen. Wallin that as she was “active in the community, representing the Senate” (as Deloitte puts it), she could claim expenses for activities such as her duties serving as chancellor of the University of Guelph.
Let’s assume, though he denies it, that Sen. Tkachuk also told Sen. Wallin she should retroactively edit her Outlook calendar to include dozens of items of “Senate business” that hadn’t been there before (Deloitte had archived copies) and to polish up some other calendar items that looked distinctly partisan in nature: for example, “Saskatoon Event (4 riding fundraiser)” mysteriously became “Saskatoon Event.”
Let’s assume that Sen. Wallin genuinely believed that in addition to her chancellor duties at Guelph, she was also entitled to claim travel expenses to attend Conservative and Ontario Progressive Conservative party fundraisers, corporate functions for Porter Airlines (she had sat on the board), an event honouring Brian Mulroney, the 2011 Juno Awards, and a federal election-night television panel in Toronto where she represented the Conservatives.
Let’s assume she genuinely thought she was allowed to claim a flight to Toronto (in the words of her office) “to catch a flight the next day to Punta Cana” to speak at a women’s conference at which she had been invited to speak.
Let’s assume that she genuinely considered the following to represent legitimate “Senate business”: a meeting with the “Chair of the Board for a publishing company re: media and government relations”; a meeting with the “Executive Director of [an] awards foundation … to discuss [an] upcoming awards presentation and her role as Co-Host”; and a meeting “regarding a book project to discuss approaching leading business and political figures (herself included).”
That’s the best case scenario for Sen. Wallin now: She meant well, made a few admitted mistakes, was doing her job as she understood it and billed Canadians for what she thought was allowed.
But there has never been any rule demanding that Senators claim back every single thing they think they might be able to get away with. Deloitte, the RCMP and perhaps prosecutors will need to consult the rule book in order to judge Sen. Wallin — which explains her Hail Mary complaint about the supposedly altered rules. Ordinary Canadians don’t need the rule book in the slightest.
With apologies to Samuel Johnson, rules are the last refuge of a scoundrel
The best-case scenario above would reveal Pamela Wallin as someone who didn’t just think it was allowed, but appropriate, to ding the Canadian taxpayer on behalf of the University of Guelph, Porter Airlines, the Juno Awards and the Conservative Party of Canada; and to alter incriminating calendar entries, and update dozens of others, in order to justify travel expenses. Whatever the rules say, that’s transparently skeevy behaviour.
With apologies to Samuel Johnson, rules are the last refuge of a scoundrel. No one held a gun to Sen. Wallin’s head. And neither reimbursement nor a shrug from the RCMP can rehabilitate her reputation on its own — nor can it restore any faith in or respect for the Senate and Parliament. “Technically allowed” and “not criminal” are miserable standards to hold oneself to. We have a right to expect better from all Canadians, and a higher standard still from parliamentarians — but at this point, we would be fools to expect the latter.
Senators, either individually or en masse, need to provide concrete evidence that shenanigans from the likes of Pamela Wallin, Mike Duffy and Mac Harb really are shocking aberrations. Failing that, we’re going to need a lot more auditors.