Pamela Wallin’s fall from grace

Maclean’s preview: A sneak peek at our investigation into Sen. Pamela Wallin


(Photo by Dave Chan)

Senator Pamela Wallin has plunged into a scandal that threatens both her reputation and the red chamber. An external audit has found that $138,970 of $532,508 in expenses Wallin billed to the Senate for travel were improper: it was deemed personal or related to Conservative party business.

Wallin has apologized publicly, saying there was no attempt to mislead. Late this afternoon, Wallin released a statement saying that she has “personally reimbursed” the Government of Canada with personal cheques amounting $100,600.98. (Wallin had previously repaid $38,000.)

“I welcome an independent and objective review by the RCMP and I intend to co-operate fully with any such review,” Wallin said in a statement.  “I have not done anything wrong. I am not guilty of any  misconduct. Accordingly I will not resign as a senator.”

For a woman whose work is her life, the total tally has been far higher: In May she was turfed from the Conservative caucus and now sits as an Independent alongside the disgraced Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau. The travel she can claim has been restricted and her file has been transferred to the RCMP for investigation. Wallin has stepped down from lucrative positions on corporate boards. (In 2012, she pulled in $68,202 in directors fees from Gluskin Sheff alone.) She has put her New York co-op on the market for $349,000, for less than she paid in 2005.

Many who bought into Pamela Wallin, the lucrative brand, have turned.

In this week’s cover story, Anne Kingston chronicles the senator’s high-flying life and explains why it came crashing down in a frenzy of backstabbing and bitterness. In the video below, the senior writer talks about just some of what she discovered during her investigation:

The magazine is now on stands. Watch for the digital version in an ebook coming later this fall.


Pamela Wallin’s fall from grace

  1. Often those that hail themselves as honourable, they are really often the most despicable cheats a liars themselves.

    MPs, Senators, not many honourable in the whole lot or we would see far better results than what we get out of Ottawa today.

  2. Would it be fair to say that the majority of Canadians wanted her to resign?
    Regardless of what or did not transpire Ms Wallin has probably lost credibility with the Canadian people.

  3. Give it a rest Pammy, you’re just another turtle on a fence post. The thing about fence post turtles is ya know they didn’t get up there by themselves, it doesn’t belong up there and it doesn’t know what to do while it’s up there. It’s elevated beyond it’s ability to function and you just wonder what kind of a dumba$$ would put it up there in the first place. Well we all know who put her up there don’t we? And if we have to have fence post turtles in our government can we not at least have ones that know the difference between right and wrong.

    • Fence post turtles….love it. LOL.

    • MargaretL
      How wonderfully written. Fence post turtles!!!!!!

      Unfortunately, with Wallin and Duffy, I’ve lost the ability to even trust reporters. Check out all the news stations – same stories – same words. Magpies working for fence post turtles.

    • Hahahahaha…..wipe tears….hahahahaha!!!!

  4. I think a referendum on the next federal election whether to maintain or abolish the senate would be a wise idea. I’m betting most Canadians would get rid of the waste

    • Only if the referendum also refers to the many years of expensive, protracted constitutional negotiations that go with abolishing the senate. People need to understand the consequences of their vote.

  5. If thieves only had to payback the money they STOLE I suggest we would have more grand theft? Simply returning the money that was knowingly pick-pocked from credible Canadians is not even the equivalent of a ‘slap on the wrist’. Any of us who have filled in expense accounts know the difference between an honest claim and one that crosses the line…she knowingly crossed that line many more times than those who paid for her criminal activity!!!

  6. so…..what on earth is she doing that is so important to ‘justify’ spending over $500,000 in travel expenses in less than a couple of years??????? We quibble when our provincial government spends $16K on an overseas travel mission…….and hers is all within Canada. Phew….I want to be a senator too….as Duffy said “it’s a taskless thanks”.

    • She was wrapping up her tenure as Consul in New York City and I believe she also had a sick relative which could account for it.

      • I hate to quibble, but surely her senatorial expenses have absolutely nothing to do with her Consul expenses. My mum got sick and died; I stayed by her side in the city she lived in; my sister flew out from her home province and stayed too. Sometimes we had to fly and forth back for a day or two, but you know, we managed to pay for it on our very regular salaries.

        Why defend the indefensible? She got caught out and she’s paid back. She’s responsible for her own reputation and morals, as are we all.

      • No

  7. I admired Pamela Wallin before she became a senator but totally lost respect for her afterwards, long before any money scandals. I was appalled at her disingenuous toeing and towing of the Harper party line. Unfortunately a “following the money” investigation just costs more money, probably more than was at issue in the first place.

  8. You know, I am no supporter of Wallin, Duffy or Brazeau or for that matter Harb who funnily never gets mentioned in Lib op-ed pieces but they all have a point. These expenses were submitted with receipts etc. and APPROVED by the Senate Finance Committee. They didn’t go out and cut themselves a cheque without the approval of the Senate Administration. How come we don’t see attacks against the intransigence of the Civil Service in approving these expenses? Where was the oversight? This would be like young Mr. Trudeau being made to hand back all his earnings as a public speaker while collecting a Parliamentary paycheque. He had the Ethics Commissioner’s approval, didn’t he? These people were all junior senators. Where was the advice? You don’t just arrive in the Senate with the desire to rip it off. My conclusion is that Wallin, Duffy, Brazeau and Harb are the tip of the iceberg. What we have is a Senate culture and every single member is probably doing the same thing which is why there was no advice, no oversight and the expenses signed off on.

    • I absolutely agree with everything you say. If the Finance Committee approved expenses for any or all of the 4 senators (including Liberal Senator Harb) why are we not attacking the Finance Committee? Anyone who has claimed an item, either expenses or tax credits, knows that sometimes claims will be rejected. If this didn’t happen for these 4 senators, why the attack? Of course I know why. It comes mainly from the left because THE NDP DO NOT HAVE A SINGLE SENATOR IN THE SENATE BECAUSE THEY HAVE NEVER GOVERNED FEDERALLY AND THEREFORE HAVE NOT HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO PUT ANY OF THEIR OWN APPOINTEES IN THE HOUSE. Therefore, they have absolutely no influence in the Senate!! To abolish the Senate is ridiculous of course, since it would destroy our parliamentary system of government. It makes perfect sense to reform it, however, and Mr. Harper has tried to do this for years – i.e. provinces to elect senators – and so far has received no co-operation from the provinces (except Alberta which has already set up an election process). Another thought – since Jean Chretien appointed Pamela Wallin Consulate General to New York in 2007 for a 4 year term, why doesn’t Maclean’s headline read: “Chretien’s diva senator”?


  9. These disgraced, cheating senators have stolen from the Canadian Government and the Canadian people, and should be forced to resign from the Senate. The sooner we reform or abolish the Upper House the better. Yet they all proclaim innocence.

  10. Do Senators have a different law from the rest of us ?
    We would have been thrown out from our position, persecuted and sentenced
    accordingly. She was spending our money freely, yet she can decide to stay as a senator. I strongly agree with Kevin24, the referendum on the next federal election
    whether to maintain or abolish the senate should be up to the Canadian people to
    decide. Looking at their pension plan alone makes you feel upset. We have to work
    25-35 years to get a decent pension. Yet, we reward them with insanely hight pension for just a few years of “service”.
    The question many of us are asking, why do we need senators ?

  11. I think all Canadian Institutions should be audited for waste and over spending. Many of these questionable spending goes on, on a daily bases.

  12. pam gives me a warm feeling down below.

    • That’s called athlete’s foot.

    • Nocturnal emission? LOL!

    • incontinence?

  13. I wander if in their journalism days they were told buy some corrupt polatician if they did not reveal a certain story we’ll give you a senate position wink wink nod nod?

  14. Jeeesuz murphy….this is why I do not, WILL not, ever, ever, ever pick up a Maclean’s Magazine. Haven’t bought an issue in years. I’m reminded why with this horrendous preview and even more horrid video piece.

  15. Let’s not forget Adrienne Clarkson, the Governor General appointed by Jean Chretien. In 2003 (Wikipedia) her office expenses increased by 200% to 41 million dollars. Not to mention her world trips with all her entourage costing the Canadian taxpayer about 6 million dollars.
    The Royal Canadian Airforce Airbus and staff were at her disposal.
    A friend of mine who worked on her Airbus advise there was no limit to the fine foods and expensive wines and Champagne that was served to these parasites.

    Some Politicians from all parties can be greedy and have a sense of entitlement because of their position.

  16. Honorable, well she is allowed to have an opinion and think and say she is honorable , then again what does one expect her to say, I am a despicable lying cheating thieving money grubbing arrogant egotistical Senator, now that would be honorable, then again that would be truthful.l Resign no fired yes!

  17. I’m married and I still dine alone sometimes! I love being alone at a restaurant because I find it empowering. I’m in my late thirties but I’ve always done this since I was in my twenties and single. I do it because #1 I’m hungry and #2 I just don’t care what people think!

  18. She should face the law,like everyone else

  19. Come on Maclean’s–a Diva??
    She denies that she was treated fairly but Pam those numerous plane trips to Toronto and oh yes the 1 to Saskatchewan were all claimed as expenses.
    Do you really think those trips to Toronto were on Senate business? Canadians don’t think so. Your business is for the most part in Ottawa and Saskatchewan–not your favourite fun city of Toronto.

  20. She returns $139,000 which she was not allowed to claim out of more than a half million dollars in expenses. What does she do to warrant spending that amount? If all senators were spending like that it would cost taxpayers close to 56 million dollars not counting their salary and projected pensions.

  21. This is the most biased article I’ve read in a long time. Anne Kingston, friend of Wallin’s, should have interviewed the employees that were fired for bringing to light Wallin’s indiscretions and not those who profited from her being the CG in NYC. Food for thought for future articles on the matter.

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