Three Big Myths about the Senate Expenses and Residency Scandals

 
 
  August, 1, 2013
    Senator Lillian E. Dyck
 

Myth #1:  The Senate itself has no power or authority over the use of funds by individual senators.

Under section 19 of the Parliament of Canada Act, the Senate holds primary powers and authority over the use of funds and resources by individual senators. These determinations are made by the Senate Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, and then reported to the Senate. (http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/P-1/page-5.html#docCont)

The Senate Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration may invite the Auditor General of Canada to conduct an audit of Senate Administration and Senator office expenses; however, the Committee sets out the terms and scope of the audit.

 

Myth #2:  Senators who have claimed improper expenses can just pay back the money and there are no further consequences.

 The Rules of the Senate of Canada, section 15, outline possible disciplinary measures, whereby the senate can:

 

Myth #3:  The senate cannot get rid of a senator who has been found guilty of committing fraud or not meeting their requirement to reside in their home province or territory.

The senate can declare a senator's seat vacant under these and other circumstances

Rules of the Senate, [15-5. 2 (c)] (http://www.parl.gc.ca/About/Senate/Rules/senate-rules_15-e.htm#C15R52);

s.31 and s.33, The Constitution Act (http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/Const/page-2.html#h-5)