QP Live: Senators spent how much on airfare?

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Pierre Poilievre, the Minister for Democratic Reform, talked up his electoral reform bill at committee. Conservative Sen. Scott Tannas admitted to being “embarrassed” about expensive executive-class flights between Calgary and Ottawa. The Conservative caucus seems to be split, as it were, over the party’s 2011 promise to enact income splitting as soon as it balanced federal books. There’s also the small matter of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s latest budget, a document with which the opposition has some problems.

So, given that fodder, where will the opposition start today? The NDP pines for renewed Senate scandal. That means the CBC’s unearthing of receipts that show several Conservative senators flew business class with their spouses, all at hefty taxpayer expense, may be too tantalizing for the NDP to ignore. The Liberals, who name-check Canada’s middle class at any opportunity, are no doubt tempted by the Tory cracks on income splitting, a measure that critics (including Flaherty) say only benefits few families.

And then there’s electoral reform, an issue rekindled by Poilievre’s committee appearance. Expect QP to scatter its fire. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair NDP Deputy Leader Megan Leslie may jump from one to the next in his her opening round, hoping to trip up the government’s talking points.

Maclean’s is your home for the daily political theatre that is Question Period, when MPs trade barbs and take names for 45 minutes every day. If you’ve never watched, check out our primer, which we produced with J-Source. Today, QP runs from 2:15 p.m. until just past 3. We tell you who to watch, we stream it live, and we liveblog all the action. The whole thing only matters if you participate. Chime in on Twitter with #QP.

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Pierre Poilievre will continue to defend his electoral reform proposals. The Prime Minister, or his designated stand-in, will handle the imbroglio over Senate expenses.

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QP Live: Senators spent how much on airfare?

  1. At least in this story the CBC admitted that the only looked at Conservative Senators. Apparently, when Trudeau dis-owned his senators….it made seeing their expense accounts a little more difficult. Hmm…coincidence I wonder?
    That being said….here’s a proposal.
    For the Senators that like to spend thousands on Air travel…..either pay the money back, or next time….you walk home.
    The fact they spent that amount is outrageous enough…but what is more outrageous is that apparently no rules were broken.

      • Wow, what a scoop! Trudeau totally found a way to keep his senators’ expenses secret! Not a coincidence at all, it must be a CBC-Liberal Party (but I repeat myself) conspiracy!

        Except… oh… “A spokesman for Senate Liberal Caucus leader James Cowan says Grit senators are now working to come up with their own system of “proactive disclosure” that goes beyond the general figures for expenses publicly posted by the Senate every three months.”

        So it’s a transition thing, where the senators are trying to decide the website on which they will proactively post their expenses going forward.

        Honestly john g… you’re too smart to shill this kind of bullsh*t. Set your sights a little higher please.

        • Now now

          Don’t go spoiling paranoid conspiracy theories with facts.

  2. Senator Scott Tannas has done nothing wrong. He is simply entitled to his entitlements.

    He’ll be there until 2037.

    • Tannas said he will continue to fly in business class because it’s allowed and he will continue to fly his wife to Ottawa using public money. He said he was not aware of a policy that specifies spousal travel must be for the purposes of a “family reunion.”

      Seems he’s entitled to his non-entitlements too.

      • Well that may be a ‘policy’, but it’s not a rule…..and ‘family reunion’ means she could take a separate flight to Ottawa to be with him.

    • Did Harper appoint him, because if so, he is going to resign after 8 years.

      Right? Right?

      • LOL well Harper appointed him, but he’s one of those elected-in-Alberta senators….so I doubt he’ll be resigning…anymore than the rest of them will be.

        Thing of it is….they’re all entitled to this perk, so resign or not……….

        • Just watch – once 8 years have gone by it will be “well we cannot resign because if we do, Trudeau will be filling the senate with non partisans, and we can’t have that!”

          • Ooooh yeah….I think a couple of them have already hinted they ain’t leavin’…..and there’s no way he can make them.

            I’d put the lot of them on permanent layoff…but that’s just me.

          • This is my new ID. My computer ate my old password

          • I noticed the change….wondered what happened.

          • Progressives that can’t handle the truth.

          • What progressives?

          • Bri….no one knows WHAT progressives you’re talking about. Or why you’d be against progress. Or what ‘truth’ it is they can’t handle.

            Cryptic remarks aren’t helpful

    • I think Emily, hit the main point.
      According to the “rules” these Senators have followed what is allowable. If I’m not mistaken, it was also allowable for them to claim expenses for many activities and not provide a receipt. We are to assume that having the word “Honourable” in front of one’s name means it is so.
      Clearly, this is not always the case. This cost for this Senator’s trip with his wife, is more than most average Canadians’ pay in taxes each year.

      • Well we never know what the rules are….so we have no idea if they’re broken.

        I have no problem with air fare and other perks….senators make more money than most Canadians as well.

        However, if it’s allowable….then he’s done nothing wrong.

  3. Just get rid of the federal politicians. We don’t need a federal government that does nothing. And Ontario is fed up of footing the bills for the country. Every province should just take care of themselves. Thus, no need for federal government, no need for Parliament. We are all better off as provinces.

    • That’s pretty stupid if you take a step back and think of it

    • LInda, given what McGinty, and now Wynne have done to Ontario…….you may want to reconsider.
      The Provincial Libs have made an utter mess of this Province. Gonna take years to fix it…..and currently, there is no one in the wings capable of doing it.

  4. Of course the CBC wouldn’t wait for fair and balanced. Nope, just go after the conservative senators and effectively work with the liberals to point the spotlight on the conservatives.
    The media going down with the SS Trudeau.

  5. A more appropriate headline would be “Air Canada is Robbing Canadians” . If someone has to fly anywhere in this country on relatively short notice Air Canada’s rates are triple or quadruple the normal rates. Mr. Tannas has apologized for not booking in advance at a lower rate, however, his travel expense is with a commercial airline, ‘Air Canada’ – he did not book a private jet, or receive any special treatment. The the only think Mr. Tannas is guilty of is ” not booking his flight 21 days in advance “.

    I hope the CBC does an article on AIR CANADA’s billing practices and price gouging, they simply should not be able to charge what they are charging. Mr. Tannas had to be in Ottawa and had to pay the price demanded by Air Canada, most of the last minute flights are priced the same for Business Class and Economy. I believe there should be some restrictions placed on Air Canada and their price gouging which is obviously occurring.

    Food for Thought: The Liberals ‘dis-owned’ their Senators the week that the CBC conducted this “investigation”.

    • So the new line is “It’s Air Canada’s fault?”.

      God forbid conservatives EVER be held accountable for their own actions.

      • There is no Conservative or Liberal bias, the facts are simple: there are limited options available to make the 3,500 kilometer flight from the West to Ottawa on short notice. By virtue of demographics, Eastern Canadians have more inexpensive options available to to them. I do not believe it is reasonable to ask a Canadian Senator to take the Greyhound on the 60 hour journey to Ottawa. If Air Canada is the only option available there is simply no choice but to pay for the flight to serve Canadians.

        • Was the Greyhound actually suggested?

    • I’m sure whatever business Mr. Tannis had to see to in Ottawa….he didn’t need to bring his wife.
      I’m sure when the records come to light, we’ll see the same behaviour; if not worse, from the Liberal Senators.
      Time for some rule changes in the Senate.
      Simple rule: Instead of paying 100% of transportation costs, as is currently the practice, Senators (and MP’s) will now need to kick in for 10 or 15% of the costs out of pocket. I don’t think it would be long before they started travelling economy like the rest of us…and then only when it was necessary.

      • “I’m sure when the records come to light, we’ll see the same behaviour; if not worse, from the Liberal Senators.”

        Or we won’t James

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