An audit into the expenses of Senator Pamela Wallin is nearly complete and will be made public in just over two weeks, the chair of the Senate committee handling the case says.
In an interview Friday, Senator Gerald Comeau said Deloitte auditors are "on the verge of" finishing the report on Ms. Wallin, a former broadcaster whose expenses are under review. The report will then be sent for translation, sent back to Deloitte for confirmation and handed to the Senate committee led by Mr. Comeau.
The committee plans on meeting to review the report on August 12, and making it public on the afternoon of August 13, Mr. Comeau said. "My understanding is they're very close [to finishing], that the timing is still good," he added.
Mr. Comeau, a Conservative Senator from Nova Scotia appointed by Brian Mulroney, leads the Senate committee overseeing the audit into Ms. Wallin's expenses. The other members are Carolyn Stewart Olsen, a Conservative who was once Prime Minister Stephen Harper's press secretary, and George Furey, a Liberal.
Ms. Wallin has already repaid $38,000 in expenses since the audit began, and sources have told The Globe she could be required to repay another $20,000. Since Sept. 2010, records show Ms. Wallin has charged $375,000 in travel expenses, most of which is categorized as "other travel," or trips not made directly between Ottawa and her home province of Saskatchewan.
In an interview with the CBC last month, she said the focus of her audit is flights she booked, acknowledging she "made mistakes" in her paperwork.
"There's a lot of paperwork, particularly in government, every time you move, every time you go anywhere. Sort of more paperwork than is humanly possible to keep on top of. So I made mistakes," she said at the time.
Ms. Wallin has also resigned from three boards she served on, as the audit proceeds. Mr. Comeau argued the audit will not pull any punches.
"We're going to make the full report available," Mr. Comeau said. "...It's there for everybody to see. People can look at the Deloitte report. It's a professional company, completely arms-length. So people can assess our conclusions based on what they actually read themselves."
During premiers' meetings on Friday, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall urged his counterparts to join him in calling for abolition of the Senate. However, Mr. Wall appears to have had a cool reception. "We thanked him for that presentation and there really was no more discussion," Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who is chairing the council this year, said Friday.
With reports from Kim Mackrael and Adrian Morrow