Expenses from trips to Atlantic Canada and Toronto were meant to be split among the candidates Mr. Duffy visited, Elections Canada records indicate, but not all of them reported Mr. Duffy’s claims.
Mr. Duffy charged his travel costs to individual campaigns, surprising some campaign workers. His expenses included airline tickets (one executive class, one economy), rental of a Jeep Liberty, gas, cab trips and hotel rooms. He also campaigned in the Ontario election. On Sept. 8, 2011, when the Senate was not in session, the PEI senator attended an Ottawa party event while claiming, on the same day, a per diem for Senate business in the city.
After the election, his party-related efforts continued. Mr. Duffy spoke at a $100-a-plate fundraiser in Delhi, Ont., with Senator Doug Finley and his wife, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley, in 2012. On the same day, he claimed a Senate per diem saying he was on “other business” outside Ottawa.
Mr. Plett, who calls Mr. Duffy “one of the harder-working senators that we have on the Hill,” said he does not know anything about Mr. Duffy’s expense claims while campaigning. “There most certainly should not be any double dipping, charging through the party and then charging through the Senate,” he said.
Mr. Duffy has repeatedly refused to comment when contacted by The Globe. However, he told reporters on Thursday in Ottawa he wants a “full and open inquiry” into his expenses.
Ms. Wallin says she campaigned during an 11-day period in 2011 in Saskatchewan, but declined to say where. One of her speeches was in Moose Jaw, in MP Ray Boughen’s riding. According to audio posted by a local news agency, Ms. Wallin prefaced her speech by saying, “You’re going to hear a pretty partisan set of comments.”
Gilles Duceppe makes her “twitch” and NDP leader Jack Layton did not want an election because “his wife [MP Olivia Chow] doesn’t qualify for her parliamentary pension yet,” Ms. Wallin told the crowd. E-mails filed as part of elections returns show Ms. Wallin, at the request of the campaign, billed it for a hotel room, two days’ car rental and an $85 per diem. There is nothing to indicate Ms. Wallin billed the Senate for her expenses on days she was at campaign events.
It is common for senators to attend rallies for friends or nearby candidates. But the idea does not sit well with all members.
“I have not sponsored any function … that’s my particular choice. I’m not saying that others cannot do that. I think that has to be clear. I just personally have not done that,” said Raynell Andreychuk, a Conservative senator from Saskatchewan who was appointed by Brian Mulroney and is chair of the Senate’s Conflict of Interest Committee.
Ms. Wallin attended other events outside the election period. Later that year, she campaigned for Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party, which has close ties with Mr. Harper’s Conservatives. And she attended a $100-a-plate fundraiser in MP Garry Breitkreuz’s Saskatchewan riding in January, 2011.
“She’s very well-known. That was why we wanted to have her come. We knew she’d be a good drawing-card,” said Beth Berg, who helped organize the 2011 fundraiser.
Now, many are disappointed that Senate expenses are in the news. “If there’s fault, I guess it needs to be found out about. The persons themselves, they’re above reproach in my own personal opinion,” Ms. Berg says.
Mr. Wall, Saskatchewan’s Premier, declined to comment on Ms. Wallin, who now sits as an independent.
The storm over Senate expenses began to develop late last year, when questions were raised about whether senators from outside the National Capital Region who spend most of their time in Ottawa should get a housing allowance worth up to $22,000 per year for accommodation in the capital.
Mr. Duffy represents Prince Edward Island but has lived and worked in Ottawa for decades. His housing allowance claims were sent to auditors for further review, along with those of Mac Harb, a Senator who recently left the Liberal caucus, and Patrick Brazeau, who was kicked out of the Conservative caucus.