Pamela Wallin resigns from paid board positions amid audit

Ottawa — The Globe and Mail

Senator Pamela Wallin leaves the Senate June 04, 2013 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. (Dave Chan For The Globe and Mail)

Senator Pamela Wallin has resigned from all three of the paid positions she held outside the Senate, documents filed with the Office of the Senate Ethics Officer show.

Ms. Wallin filed a report with the office last week indicating that she had stepped down as a director on the boards of Porter Airlines and Gluskin Sheff + Associates Inc., a Toronto-based wealth management firm. She also said that she left her position as a member of the advisory board for an organization called the Ideas Council, where she was previously paid an honorarium of at least $2,000 per year.

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Senators are allowed to take on paid positions outside the Red Chamber as long as they disclose any roles for which they earn more than $2,000 annually. They do not have to say how much, exactly, they earn for each position.

Ms. Wallin’s expense claims are currently under review by external auditors who have said that they expect to complete a report on the matter by the end of July. The Saskatchewan Senator told the CBC last month that she made mistakes in filing some of her expenses, and has paid back at least $38,000 since the time the audit began.

The Office of the Senate Ethics Officer requires senators to file a statement of material change within 60 days of any changes to their confidential disclosure statements, which are posted online. Ms. Wallin filed her statement of material change on June 28.

A separate statement of material change, dated June 12, indicates that Senator Mac Harb recently took out a loan which he reported to the Office of the Senate Ethics Officer. The Senate confirmed on Friday that Mr. Harb issued a cheque to the Receiver General of Canada for more than $51,000 in expenses he was ordered to repay after his residency claims were audited earlier this year.

Mr. Harb has filed an application for judicial review of the Senate’s decision, in which he claims that the committee that handled his audit treated him unfairly and did not give him a reasonable opportunity to represent himself. The Senate has not yet responded formally to the allegations.

“Senator Gerald A. Comeau, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration has received a cheque to the Receiver General for the amount of $51,482.90,” a spokeswoman for the Senate wrote in an e-mail Friday afternoon. “Senator Harb has advised the Chairman that he forwards this cheque under protest, which means that he vigorously denies any liability and he intends to pursue his Judicial Review Application in the Ontario Divisional Court.”