Some senators across Canada are welcoming the Auditor-General’s broad review of expenses - while others are staying quiet.
Auditor General Michael Ferguson told a Senate committee on Tuesday that he plans on auditing the travel and office expenses of all senators, after being invited in by the Senate in June. At that time, he left wiggle room on how wide the scope could be. He publicly confirmed the plan Friday, saying the audit could take 18 months but may include interim updates.
The audit comes after reviews of the expenses of senators Patrick Brazeau, Mike Duffy, Mac Harb and Pamela Wallin. All four have paid back, or have been ordered to pay back, certain expenses, though some are fighting the orders. The Globe contacted the other 96 senators this week asking about the audit, and whether they welcomed a review of all expenses. Many didn't respond, while those who did - by phone or e-mail - overwhelmingly welcomed the audit, with some hopeful it could demonstrate that spending problems are not widespread.
"[The auditor's announcement] is really just a continuation of the AG's work with Senator Marshall and seems to be adding more details as to how he intends to proceed." - Marjory LeBreton, Conservative and former Leader of the Government in the Senate
"The auditor will go where he goes. There’ll be no restrictions on the audit, and I’m sure we’ll learn from his [findings]... It’d be nice to say, well, it’s never going to happen. But these things do happen in every business, in my view." - James Cowan, Liberal leader in the Senate
"Great news. Start with the top ten spenders." - Thomas Johnson McInnis, Conservative
"Good idea. Senate, as unelected body, should set the gold standard for public access to spending practices." - Bob Runciman, Conservative
"Of course the Auditor-General is welcome." - Jim Munson, Liberal
"I welcome the opportunity to have the AG audit my expenses." - JoAnne Buth, Conservative
"That was my understanding when the Senate passed the motion this spring." - Pierrette Ringuette, Liberal
"For the future, it’s good for the Senate if we don’t find a problem." - Jean-Guy Dagenais, Conservative
"I understand that the AG will look at whatever he wants to look at. I would assume that would be a quite thorough study." - Joan Fraser, Liberal
"I welcome it, and also think it should be a regular practice." - Salma Ataullahjan, Conservative
"I agreed with the Senate leadership to have the Auditor General audit the Senate, including Senators. But I have had that position for a long time! Auditors not only find errors - they advise on improvements and best practices, etc." - Raynell Andreychuk, Conservative
"It’s the proper thing to do, and we invited him back in June." - Art Eggleton, Liberal
"I am fine with that if it has been decided." - Vern White, Conservative
"I welcome the audit." - Don Plett, Conservative
"The independence of the Auditor General, using normative standards used in other government departments, will be a huge improvement. Committees that change rules every time there is a new crisis can, despite the best of intentions, cause more problems than they seek to address." - Hugh Segal, Conservative
"I think that is fine. We have nothing to hide." - Nancy Ruth, Conservative
"I think we’re expected to do good work on taxpayers’ behalf, and I think we’re obligated to justify, along the way, our expenses." - Leo Housakos, Conservative