It was my job to raise the profile of this chamber and to make the case for Senate reform – I agreed to term limits.
I am privileged to have this great honour of being a senator from Saskatchewan – it is my home and it is the place that taught me the value of hard work.
My life is my vocation and my avocation. My function is my duty. It’s no 9 to 5 job.
You all now know I was subjected to a secret investigation, an extended audit process in which details of my life and activities were leaked to the media, my reputation was attacked and I was summarily thrown out of the Conservative Party.
On Friday, May 17, of the May long weekend, I received a panicked phone call ordering me to resign immediately from the Conservative caucus.
It was after 5 eastern time and Senator LeBreton and the prime minister’s principal secretary Ray Novak said they were speaking on behalf of the prime minister and that my being a part of the Conservative caucus was now an embarrassment to the prime minister.
When I attempted to argue that absolutely nothing had changed in my case and to question them about why they were demanding my immediate resignation, I was told again they were speaking for the prime minister, he wanted me gone.
Because the audit was not even finished, we negotiated with the two a statement that said I would recuse myself from caucus, not resign. I had not done anything wrong.
Less than 10 minutes later, Senator LeBreton broke the deal and publicly declared that I had resigned.
My lawyers immediately sent an email to Senator LeBreton and Ray Novak, demanding an explanation.
There was no reply. To this day there has been no reply.
We followed up with another request and to date no reply to that letter either.
Now, having been thrown out of the caucus, the show trial continued. In mid-August I was told I could show up at a closed door Internal Economy meeting where I could make no opening statement and where I was denied legal representation. Once again I was denied due process.
In the end I was ordered by the Committee to pay back the money spent doing the job I was asked to do – objectives promoted by the Senate itself in its own annual report – and I quote:
Modern telecommunications and air travel make it possible for parliamentarians to do much more, much more quickly than was possible in the early days of Parliament …
They organize or speak at events, attend and present to conferences, publish research, raise matters with Cabinet ministers and provide credibility and support to the causes they believe in.
All of you sitting in this chamber have to think about what you have done and where you have been in the past two years, or perhaps your entire tenure – doing your job as a senator.
If todays’ travel and other rules are applied to you retroactively, many of you too may be asked to pay back.
I’m not just speaking theoretically – many of you have privately told me you are concerned.
Shouldn’t the same standard apply to all of us?
Read this motion very carefully – today my name is there.
Tomorrow, next month or next year it could just as easily be yours.
My understanding is that the Auditor General’s audit on all of you will be restricted to a start time of fiscal 2011-2012. But what if the Auditor General demands a broader mandate or makes the rules retroactive?
If this keeps up, if this place continues to function without even a nod to due process, or to the rule of law – then, to paraphrase Senator Segal, eventually you could run out of buses … and the people to throw under them.
If the Senate proceeds with this motion, I believe it is the beginning of the end of this chamber.
It will have denied due process. Surely I am entitled to expect this to be a place where the rule of law is respected – after all, you are all lawmakers.
For the better part of a year the Government has sought to embarrass me and undermine me in the public eye.
It has said things about me which are not true.
This has left my reputation – hard earned over 40 years – in tatters.
Now the Government wants to deprive me of my income or my ability to earn one in the future – so that I cannot afford to mount a proper legal defence.
They hoped all this would force me to resign.
But despite the clear, vindictive intent of this motion, you will never break my spirit.