Maclean’s ebook: The Senate Scandals

From Wallin to Duffy to Wright: How the Senate became the symbol of all that’s wrong with Ottawa


Sir George-Étienne Cartier, one of the Fathers of Confederation, saw the Senate as a place to counteract “the will of the mob.”

Given the mob’s opinion of the place these days, at best the Senate seems a relatively safe place to hide from it.

Four senators—the Liberal Mac Harb and a trio Stephen Harper appointed to the red chamber at the end of 2008, Patrick Brazeau, Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy—have brought more discredit on the Senate from inside its pretty red walls than five generations of critics could manage from without. Yet each claims he or she was only following the rules when it came to travel and housing. That the rules, in their reading, generated jaw-dropping bills footed by the taxpayer was just bad luck.

A year into this mess, it’s just getting bigger. The Senate scandal has cost Stephen Harper his chief of staff and led to a string of RCMP interviews with potential witnesses in criminal cases. Maclean’s has been there for every development. For decades the Senate has seemed a sideshow in Ottawa. Suddenly it’s the main stage for a fascinating, if dispiriting, human drama.

You can read all about it in The Senate Scandals, a new ebook now live in Apple, Kobo and Amazon.

In the video below, senior writer Jonathon Gatehouse talks about Mike Duffy, Canada’s senator non grata: 

… and here’s senior writer Anne Kingston on Pamela Wallin:

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Maclean’s ebook: The Senate Scandals

  1. you got to stop blaming the senate and blame the guy(harper) who hired this mob of derelicts. the senate, always as the author said, has just been a sideshow and may continue.

    • Harper didn’t hire Mac Harb. Furthermore, all these senators had their expenses signed off on by Finance. They didn’t just show up at a bank with a “pay now” receipt. The question should be asked what other expenses has Senate Finance approved? These people were all rookie senators. Who gave them the advice on what to claim? I think the story is deeper than the media wants to investigate.

      • mac harb had the guts to quit, whether you liked the reason or not and he didn’t stick around the senate and rub it in taxpayers noses. the story is not about harb anyway, its about the hum coming from steve harpers office(PMO).

        • No, that’s what you are trying to make it out to be. The fact of the matter is that the expenses claimed by the Senators were authorized by the financial wing of the Senate. Stephen Harper didn’t sign off on their expenses, nor did he sign their cheques. The Senate bureaucracy did.

          • so what your telling me is, steve didn’t know what was going on. well he shouldn’t be a PM. and if he did know what was going, he should be censured.

          • You really are determined to make this all Harper’s fault, aren’t you. He didn’t devise the rules for Senate expenses either. Harb was doing this for over ten years. The rules haven’t changed. Does the CEO of a company run down and check the individual expense claims of his sales reps? No, he calls the Director of Accounting who calls in the Manager of Accounts Payable who assures them all that policy has been followed in the signing of expenses. That’s what Harper did when he said he was confident that the expense claims were in order. Senate Finance assured him that the rules had been followed and the expenses signed off on. It’s the policy that is off the rails and that’s been in place for a long time. That is why I’m sure once the Senate audit is finished they are going to find a lot of Senators with dodgy expenses.

          • Have a look at Harper’s appointments in all areas of government. If his political judgement is as bad as his judgement of the character of those he has appointed to many sensitive positions then we are in trouble. He is responsible for those he appointed and must take responsibility for the reasons he appointed them.
            Wallin and Duffy were appointed for party political purposes to do party political work while being paid Senators and he did that knowing he was abusing the Senate.
            As for the CEO of the company example, the CEO probably wouldn’t say at shareholder’s meeting that he had reviewed the books and saw nothing wrong with them. Harper said just that about Wallin’s expenses. Also as a CEO they are ultimately responsible for the running of their company, if there are too many mistakes, the shareholders will replace them; we, the people, are the shareholders in this country……

          • You don’t get it. The corruption is beneath the surface. The expense reports were fine. They followed policy. A CEO of Senate Inc would say he had reviewed the books and saw nothing wrong with them because there is nothing wrong with them. What is wrong is people declaring where they actually live. If Joe Smith is renting an exclusive town house in Ottawa from Betty Jones while declaring his domicile as Grand Bend, it will be signed off on. What is unknown is that Joe and Elizabeth Smith own an exclusive lake front property at Grand Bend and a town house in Ottawa under Elizabeth’s maiden name. That will not show up on an expense report. As for Harper’s bad choices, Wallin was a favourite of the Martin Liberals and her name was probably brought forward by a number of people. Duffy was a mistake, and Brazeau and Arthur Porter were affirmative action appointments to increase our multicult credentials.

          • Rubbish, they were all Tory supporters and it wouldn’t surprise me to find out is it runs deeper.
            He thought he was being smart appointing hand picked people to do his bidding. It turned out this clown has a habit of thinking he is clever including the two times he had to prorogue Parliament to cover for his mistakes.
            If he was a CEO in any business he would be toast by now, but the terminally befuddled and clueless keep on covering for him.

          • Well sit a stew in your delusions.

          • delusions?

            all I see is winged monkeys flocking to defend a corrupt PM and if it takes an excursion into the realms of conspiracy theory then so be it.

  2. the biggest argument against a triple e senate is taking shape in the US. legislative gridlock as two elected bodies claim legitimacy. let’s appoint genuine states people to the Senate who genuinely care about Canada.

  3. Mac Harb does not like his picture taken? Or does Macleans not like to take Mac Harb’s picture.

    Wait until all the senate audits are done and find out how much of a Liberal scandal it is going to be.

    • You would swear that it was all Wallin’s and Duffy’s issue whereas the biggest sleeze was Harb.

  4. The accused Senators are all disgusting….and Harper is even worse. Every expense, by every politician, should be posted to an online site. There is no better way to prevent abuse than shine a light.

    I find Pamela Wallin’s behaviour sickening. She is combative, argumentative and delusional. This woman should by forced to resign immediately.

  5. When are we going to get rid of these useless fat cats? What a complete waste of taxpayers money. Harper’s patrionage appointments have no place in the future of this country. This is one part of government that is not needed. Get these slugs off the gravy train and become more fiscally responsible.

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