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Can Marjory LeBreton put out the fire?

The partisan pit bull in pearls bites back


 

Fred Chartrand/CP

Nobody does moral rectitude better than Senator Marjory LeBreton. The long-time Conservative stalwart and former government leader in the Senate has mastered a folksy “Why I never!” indignation that was on full display this week as she countered  allegations made by senators Duffy and Wallin, many in which she featured prominently. LeBreton presents as a very a nice lady who’s perplexed, shocked even, by the sideshow unfolding around her. But, as her performance this week both in the Upper Chamber and the media attests, she’s a partisan pit bull in pearls who has not survived 50-plus years on the Hill for nothing. LeBreton began her career as Diefenbaker’s secretary and honed her skills as deputy chief of staff for Brian Mulroney, who appointed her to the Senate in 1993. In 2006, Harper named her leader of the government in the Senate, which came with a cabinet seat. In July, she stepped down as government leader, two years before her mandatory retirement, a demotion viewed as a rebuke for the handling of the Senate expense scandal.

This week, she earned back Brownie points with the PM. On Wednesday, LeBreton stood in the Upper Chamber issuing a “false, false, false” rejoinder to Pamela Wallin’s accusations, among them that she—along with Conservative Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former director of strategic communications—had waged a “personal vendetta” against her. The two were jealous of her success, Wallin claimed: they “could not abide the fact that I was outspoken in caucus, or critical of their leadership—or that my level of activity brought me into the public eye and once garnered the praise of the prime minister,” Wallin said. “They resented that. They resented me being an activist senator.”

Wallin also accused LeBreton and Stewart Olsen of orchestrating “14 specific targeted leaks” to the media that left her reputation “in tatters.” She called LeBreton a turncoat for reneging on deal made during a May 17 “panicked phone call” to Wallin, along with Ray Novak, Harper’s chief of staff. Both were speaking for Harper who wanted her gone from the Conservative caucus, Wallin said. They agreed Wallin would say she was “recusing” herself and step down; 10 minutes later LeBreton announced publicly Wallin had “resigned.”

In her 10-minute rebuttal to Wallin, LeBreton registered amazement at the notion of a mean-girling agenda, and she peppered her response with such fulsome praise that one couldn’t help wonder whether Wallin had been the victim of gaslighting. LeBreton said she was delighted when Wallin was appointed to the Senate in 2009. “What’s not to like?,” she said of the former journalist. (In other interviews this week, LeBreton admitted she was no fan of Wallin’s coverage of Mulroney back in the day. Previously she has dismissed the “Liberal elites and their media lickspittles,” a group to which Wallin presumably once belonged.) During her Senate rebuttal, LeBreton claimed that she was so complimentary to Wallin that people told her to dial it down. “Why I would ever target a person I admired like Senator Wallin is ludicrous,” LeBreton said.

LeBreton did touch on one “clash” with Wallin related to her work as chair of the national defence committee. That would be a conflict in the Senate over Wallin’s refusal to heed a call within the Senate to investigate sexual harassment in the RCMP in the summer of 2012. “I dealt with her directly. I never made a fuss,” LeBreton said in the Senate on Wednesday. In reality, LeBreton worked around Wallin’s resistance by scheduling a Senate vote to approve the investigation on a day Wallin was away. And her displeasure with Wallin’s imperious ways was no secret, say Senate colleagues.

LeBreton’s rebuttal showed her to be a master of the faint-praise slam down, a female talent often cultivated in high school. One example: “I hate to disappoint my colleagues, but I can’t imagine Carolyn Stewart Olsen and I ever spent more than two minutes talking about Sen. Wallin,” she said,  a statement that suggests Wallin wasn’t worth their time. LeBreton also raised the rampant rumours that Wallin had been angling for her job as government leader in the Senate while sloughing them off: “I was never threatened by Senator Wallin,” she said.

Her rebuttal to Duffy was more pointed, and more personal, as she even slammed his performance on Mike Duffy Live, the skill-set that got him into the Senate: She said she was “bemused by his approach to politics, sometimes frustrated by his style of journalism—trading, as he did more often then not, on gossip and the latest hot rumour; and sometimes I was so disgusted that I felt like putting my foot through the TV set.” She referred to the former journalist as a “great storyteller,” code for “liar,” as she accusing him of delivering “a whopper.”

She denied claims made by Duffy’s lawyer Monday that she’d written an email in 2009 approving Duffy’s PEI residency status so he could claim Ottawa living expenses. She said she “looked high and low” for the memo and asked for it to be tabled. Like Wallin, Duffy claimed LeBreton and Novak strong-armed him in a telephone call: “[LeBreton] said if I didn’t quit the caucus immediately, I would be sent to the ethics committee with orders from the leadership to throw me out of the Senate.” He said she told him it was “the only way to save your pay cheque.” Through it all, LeBreton expressed wide-eyed disbelief: “This makes no sense; the government leader in the Senate does not run the Senate.”

LeBreton, no stranger to cozy off-the-record chats with reporters, understands well the role the press plays in keeping the story going. She has repeatedly said she heard about breaking news on the Senate scandal when the public did. She continued her defence in the media as she also promoted the motions to suspend all three senators. On the CBC Thuursday, she said Wallin had dealt women “a huge blow” by turning the situation into a “catfight.” (In September, she gave this telling interview in which she referred to Sen. Patrick Brazeau as “just a human tragedy and an experiment gone wrong” and predicted Duffy will become “a great hero, I know, of the media, if he decides to say something about any one of us.”)

In the Senate on Wednesday, LeBreton also cited a Maclean’s Sept. 23 cover story on Wallin that quoted Shelley Ambrose, a long-time Wallin friend. Ambrose blamed LeBreton for creating the spending scandal: “LeBreton started a small kitchen-sink fire about Pamela Wallin’s expenses and it has turned into a fire that could burn the house down.” LeBreton reframed the quote slightly: “I read that very interesting story in Maclean’s magazine where a close friend of hers said that I, Marjory LeBreton, started the fire in the kitchen sink that engulfed the whole place. I didn’t start any fire in any kitchen. I simply reported to her what was reported to me by Senate administration. I had every confidence that she would resolve this matter. I never discussed it with anyone. I never went to Internal Economy.”

On Thursday night came more LeBreton news. She was appointed to the powerful Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration committee. Its former members have been sidelined, most recently Stewart Olsen who announced she was stepping down hours before Wallin addressed the Senate. LeBreton joins two new Conservative senators: Daniel Lang and Fabian Manning. The appointment would appear to signal a vote of confidence. The first mission: put out the fire, if it’s not too late.


 

Can Marjory LeBreton put out the fire?

  1. With no sympathy intended toward Wallin or Duffy, or any judgement on their guilt or innocence, you have to say they are in the position of a defendant in court, whose prosecutor controls the judge and the vote of every member of the jury.

    • Exactly right. It makes you wonder if Harper’s long term plan was to destroy the Senate by stuffing it with spineless cowards who would drive it over a cliff while riding inside it.

      • This actually makes sense. Hopefully there is enough in there who can figure out ‘they are not owned’ and can make up their own minds

    • I can see a big law suit coming Harper is now slamming them on radio….I dont recall any body being found guilty ..yet…I think it sounds like defamation..But he can shout louder

    • The issue here is that the Senate makes their own rules, they give it and they can they take it away. Senate is non-justiciable, so they can do whatever they want. And it is a fact that those three abused the system.

      • My comparing the Senate to a courtroom may be technically exaggerated, but it is far better than Harper’s comparison to a private business.
        It’s disappointing to hear the prime minister say the punishment of members of a legally selected and sitting member of a Parliament can be
        expelled in the same way a business employer can fire an errant employee.
        Harper is putting himself in the place of that employer who has right to fire everyone under his employ, and is saying he as pm he has the right to fire from their positions every member of the Parliament of Canada.

      • Actually, that is not the issue at all. The issue is why they make those rules, and whether they should do so simply because the Prime Minister is suffering political damage as a result of his actions.

      • Oh no, the issue is here is that Harper has been mucking about with his Senate leaders in order to save his hide from any political damage. Had he left well enough alone, and let the Senate leadership do it’s job one or more of the three Senators in question might now be facing the full face of the law. Notice that the Liberal Senator who was mucking about was reported to the RCMP right away by Internal Economy and he was charged, found guilty and is now in jail. But, despite Harper’s claim of intolerance of the wasting of taxpayer’s money, he chose to try and whitewash the records of his appointees.

      • The Senate does not, under statute, have the right to deprive any sitting member of pay. Such deprivation would be grounds for a future legal fight. Suspension with pay is legal, but without pay is not. And when those aggrieved Senators fight and win, it will cost Canada millions in compensation.

  2. On Thursday night came more LeBreton news. She was appointed to the powerful Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration committee…The appointment would appear to signal a vote of confidence.

    A wily politician with LeBreton’s survivor’s savvy should be getting a bit of a glimmer by now that such “votes of confidence” don’t end well in Harperland.

    Perhaps she should be expediting her retirement plans.

    • Maybe she will get her ticket for the big blue bus before she gets thrown under it

    • Lebreton’s claim to political fame was being John Diefenbaker’s secretary.
      This high school graduate was never elected for anything.
      Her resolute dedication to the CPC cause reminds me of Brian Mulroney’s famous quote”
      “there’s no who-waa like an old who-waa”

      • She seems to be Chris Alexander’s role model.

  3. Who is investigating her expenses?

    • THAT! would require a stand alone constitutional amendment of its own.

    • Who is investigating all of their expenses..Bring back Sheila Fraser. I think there would be a lot more running for the hills..In fact put her in the PMO s office. Now that would be interesting

    • Deloitte, thank you very much!

      • Coming soon, it will be the Auditor-General and he will be reporting to us.

  4. Marjorie LeBreton…. everyone’s BFF …just don’t let her get behind you with anything sharp or heavy.

  5. ‘a pit bull in pearls’….how very 50s.

    • She is very fifties. She has spent her life standing by men. Up until now, it has worked well for her.

      • She is now past her best before date. She has no value to them now. She is now a liability. She knows where the skeletons are

  6. I listened to Wallins speach and thought that she talked a lot but did not have much to say. Lot of thet are out to get me. Lot of threats that this could happen to them too. Lots of comments about what a fabulous person she is. But nothing that led me to believe she is innocent. She talked about the process being unconstitutional, but people get fired for less and there is no constitutional appeal. She asked plaintively how she, a cancer survivor would cope without her drug plan. The obvious answer is, the same way others do you pay your own premiums. As long as you are already insured, you can pay your own premiums and not lose your benifits.
    I will not cry for these three. They are the ones who got themselves in thier situation. Having said that, the others involved in this sordid affair ( including the PM) are coming off as people I would want nothing to do with either. The only ones looking good here are the OPPOSITION.

    • You appear to be the second person i’ve heard claiming the charter doesn’t apply in the senate; that simply isn’t so. Or did you mean something else entirely?

      It’s hard to know what to feel about these guys, certainly not sympathy. But neither should we applaud the govt’s attempt to deep six whoever Harper feels needs deep sixing the most.

      • I see this as a labour relations issue. The employer has the right to dismiss employees who bring disrepute to the employer. The charter rights applies to criminal proceedings. This is a civil matter. If the Senators feel they were dismissed or suspended wrongly, they have recourse to civil court by bringing a wrongful dismissal suit or, if they feel they were discriminated against, they can complain to a human rights tribunal.
        To take any other position would allow employees who are suspended but not charged with a criminal offence, to appeal to the Charter for protection against their employer. Is that truely what the Charter was intended for when it was written? I think it was not.
        Having said that, I think there is plenty of stink on Harper, the PMO, LeBretten, Stewart Olson, Tkatchuk and the rest. Perhaps they will be dealt with at the convention

        • I’m no legal beagle, but one thing it IS not is a labour relations issue; and i can’t imagine there’s a distinction between criminal and civil law as far as the charter goes. It’s a matter of due process and the ancient right of magna carta – no one can be bunged up with a stroppy cell mate without a hearing before a jury of their peers.
          The concept of innocence until a finding of guilt runs like a golden thread through out our law. I simply can’t agree.

          • Employees are fired or suspended all the time with no trial in advance. Once the employer determines they should be disciplined, he acts. If an employee disagrees it is up to that employee, or his Union, to make the case that the action was wrong. This is normally done through Arbitration, law suit or a complaint to the labour relations board. It is at that point that due process kicks in not before.

          • These guys are senators, members of Parliament – not employees of SH or the Conservative Party. I’m appaulled at your suggestion.

          • I doubt many employers would risk the public embarrassment of permitting employees under investigation themselves to suspend their co-workers without pay in the middle of a police and AG investigation.

          • True, this situation is unique in that sense, but the alternative is to allow people who have done wrong to continue in pay. The ” employer” in this case is the people of Canada and the Constitution states that only the Senate can discipline one of thier own on behalf of Canadians. If they were elected, we could punish them directly, but they are imposed on us and beyond our reach. The Senate, as odeous as they are, is the only mechanism at hand.
            It is interesting that even if they are convicted of crimes, the Senate may choose to let them continue as Senators. It is not automatic that if you are sent to jail that you are expelled. This same group still have to vote them out. This group would likely argue that to do so would be double jeopardy though.

          • Many canadian workers continue to receive wages while they are suspended and under investigation – the Senate needs to develop a transparent process and avoid quick fixes.

          • That may be true in some organizations, but not in most. Once the employer has decided the employee has done wrong, as the Senate leadership has, they move to discipline. They are having what would normally be, in a regular worksite, a hearing with the boss to be disciplined. This motion to suspend is the bosses notice to discipline. The debate could be seen as a parallel process to an arbitration where both the employer and employee pleads their case. The arbitrators are the rest of the senate. The main difference I see is that, if the employee does not like the outcome, they can appeal to the court.
            The other point to be made is that this motion does NOT strip these three of their status as Senators. They remain as such but lose the benefits, rights and privileges for a period of time. ( until the next prorogation or the Senate reinstates them. Which ever comes first.) if they are charged, they may well be thrown out but that is not what this motion does.
            In an workplace situation such as public service, it is common to be suspended without pay if the behaviour is serious ( ie fraud, breach of duty, accepting a bribe, theft etc) and if you are cleared you get reimbursed. I have worked in public service Federally and in two provinces. This is a common way of dealing with employees the management feel have misbehaved.

          • Don’t we have a former parliamentary secretary charged with election fraud still collecting a wage? There’s a police officer charged with murder getting paid out there too.

            The three Senators in question had their expenses approved by the Senate for a time – the rules changed. A wise employer, one setting an example for the entire country, should show respect for their employees and move this issue to committee.

          • It is a fascinating conundrum. Do you think an employee of the Canadian Revenue Service who was accused of embezzlement would be suspended with pay or fired outright? Nurses are fired all of the time for theft of medications without any criminal charges being laid, although they do file a complaint with their professional college.

          • When you talk about not being sent to jail without a hearing, you are right. This process is not sending them to jail. That may come later and they will have all the rights you speak of, but in this process they are being dealt with the same as any other public employee and have the same right to appeal if they do not agree with it.
            I work in the public sector in a quasi legal field. I also have been involved in labour relations matters. This IS how employees are dealt with.perhaps you would like to lobby for changes you suggest be made to the employee disciplinary process. Few of the employees I have seen suspended and even fired, were ever charged or even accused of one.

          • The most appalling thing about this “rush to judgment” is that the Senate is considered to have judicial power and if these three are dismissed from the Senate, they may not have their day in court–that would be “double jeopardy.” Harper may be gunning for just that result so that all the emails that may include damning evidence against him will never be made public.

          • The motion is to suspend not dismiss. They remain Senators but lose their pay and benefits until the suspension is rescinded or Parliament is prorogued again.

          • Thx for that, i see your point clearly now. But this is, in my view, still not simply an employee employer situation.

          • I guess why will have to agree to disagree because we are looking at this from different points of view.

          • No problem.

          • I work in healthcare and I concur that most people are fired without any legal recourse. In fact in Alberta if you belong to a union, you have no legal recourse other than to have your union grieve your firing (ie: you cannot get your own lawyer and sue for wrongful dismissal).

          • I have worked in public service in Alberta and I know labour laws are very draconian. People think public service workers have it so god but they have no idea. At least the Senators get to argue the suspension before it is handed down in front of thier peers.

        • You’re going to have cite me something on this one. Labour law is really complicated. Employers are very aware they could be sued for false dismissal.

          • It depends on the situation, the province and whether the employee belongs to a union. Where I work in Alberta, employees who belong to a union cannot sue for wrongful dismissal. Only their union can “grieve” their dismal. If they lose the grievance they can apply to go before the labor relations board. If the labor relations board will hear the case, you have a chance to win, otherwise you are out of luck.

          • So on the whim of some administrator, based on an unproven allegation ( which is what we have with Duffy etc.) nurses in the public health system are just fired?

          • Did Duffy deny he took money from Nigel Wright? No, he didn’t. What he did was against the rules. There is no unproven allegation, is there?
            A nurse with an addiction steals a medication and gets caught. The nurse gets fired as a result. The union grieves the firing. The nurse cannot hire her own lawyer. OR…if the nurse didn’t steal the medication but the employer believes the nurse did and fires the nurse….same story.

          • You really need to stop seeing everything through the lens of an Alberta nurse. Bgt world out there, different standards etc. Look beyond you’re own experience. All this Duffy stuff needs to be decided in a court of law. I think he’s guilty as hell but if he is, then Wright (and possibly others) are too. Harper’s trying to shove this under the rug, while pretending he’s on a moral high road – chances of succeeding with this, I think is zero.

          • Did I say the Alberta way was right? No. It doesn’t just apply to nurses either. It applies to anyone in the province who belongs to a union.
            As for Duffy needing to go to court, I don’t believe that is true. The overwhelming majority of cases NEVER go to court but are plead out. With the way the court rooms are backed up, the Duffy case might never be tried or it could drag out for years…definitely past 2015 when he will be eligible for a full pension. Just because he doesn’t go to court on a charge of accepting a bribe doesn’t mean Wright and Harper will be off the hook.

          • I really can’t figure out your point on that one.

          • Not saying you think it’s right but you think it’s the norm. What’s happening in the Senate is not the same as canning a part time worker at a 711.

          • Do I think it is “right” that most criminal cases get plead out? What exactly is the other choice? Defendants have right to a relatively “speedy” trial. Given that we could never ever provide every person charged with a criminal offense with a relatively speedy trial, we have no choice but to plead out cases or drop them all together due to overflowing court dockets. In the case of Mr. Duffy, he has already confessed to being guilty of accepting Mr. Wright’s money. What he is claiming is extenuating circumstances that he thinks should allow his guilt to be forgiven. Of course Mr. Duffy is not like a worker at 7-11. There is no restriction stopping a worker at 7-11 from accepting a cash gift. If you are not going to enforce the rules of the senate, then pray tell why have them?

      • I agree. This senate is supposed to represent us “Canadians” they are not supposed to be owned by anyone. Not whipping boys for any party. They are there to represent us the people

        • At the very least surely they should represent due process, absence of political influence etc. If a branch of our government is not using the constitution as a guide for how to proceed, how can they possibly be trusted to share in the administration of justice?

      • This is more of a question of how one interprets the charter than an insistence that the charter doesn’t apply. The senators in question are insisting that the only fair process involved criminal law. However, there’s plenty of precedent in Canada for other approaches to self-regulation. Take professional bodies, for example: doctors, lawyers, engineers, and teachers can be disciplined by internal committees, even stripped of their professional credentials before recourse to the courts. These senators have had the opportunity to make their case before senate committees and auditors; they’ve now had another opportunity to make their case in front of the Senate itself. This is not a case where they’ve been denied a hearing or due process. They could yet take this to the courts as a further challenge. Like most people, their gripe is really the outcome, not the process.

        • Gotcha. i’m with it now. But one of the complaints of the senators is that they have not been able to fully put their case before the various committees or auditors. So, until i see evidence to the contrary i can’t agree they’ve had their opportunity…not fully. That’s one of the very reasons they are desperately trying to defend themselves now. Had the internal audits been open or fair, and the pmo kept its nose out maybe this circus would not have happened? It is still likely they would have been suspended, but distinctions matter, even in their case.
          edit: In addition, those pro bodies do not have carte blanche or fall outside of the charter. If one has the resources and the time any one is free to litigate. The top court is also free to say no way, this is too trivial; although not in so many words…in fact none at all.

        • As someone who has sat as an arbitrator and mediator for a professional organization I can assure you the standards are a lot higher than has been shown here. Especially when you are looking at ones finances and ability to earn a living. One must also leave their prejudice (politics) at the door. It is not always easy or convenient to be fair. You do not change the rules mid stream either. This is getting the bumbs rush. Why? There is more to this story than meets the eye.

          • As a professional myself, I’d argue that the nebulous standards and dubious conduct of many of these people would never be tolerates in a competent professional organization. An ambiguously-worded contract wouldn’t save an engineer’s license in the event that they delivered work that failed to meet practice standards. I’m also amazed that people are somehow shocked! Shocked! to discover that being a member of a political body makes one subject to political considerations.

          • While I agree with you Atomic here is the problem “what are Practice Standards in this case”. They seem to vary in this case from day to day and in whose opinion. I think that is really where the problem starts. The rules appear to be getting made up as they go along. Not a good road map for any organization.

          • Is accepting a bribe/gift part of the practice standards of a a member in good standing in the senate? Is committing the crime of assault one of the practice standards of a member in good standing in the senate? As a registered nurse if I did either of those things, I would go before my professional college for unprofessional conduct and likely receive a suspension of my licence.

          • The courts have yet to be tasked with determining whether a bribe was offered and/or accepted. The police have not released the results of their investigation. That’s what’s wrong here – the cart is way ahead of the horse.

          • I don’t believe Duffy has ever denied accepting the money and Nigel Wright never denied paying it. This is why a court case is unnecessary. Duffy is announcing to all and sundry that he took the money and it is Harper’s fault that he took it. No matter who he blames for his bad decision, he admits he took it. Taking it was against the rules. The question that remains is, how important are the rules? Should senators who break the rules be suspended without pay?

          • So why is the RCMP investigating it? Look up influence peddling, bribing government officials etc.There’s a whole commission in Quebec going on about this sort of thing. It’s kind of like fraud – generally frowned upon.

          • Neither of these situations are good and dont come up to practice standards and I agree with you. The problem is how the senate is trying to do this. They are trying to do it on orders from the PM. The senate is supposed to be independent from all parties. There is more to this story than meets the eye. What is being covered up here? The other thing is that they could mess up the legal case if they go about this the wrong way..It is a mess

          • If Harper can get away with dumping his own Senators, without due process because they are a problem for him, why couldn’t he do it to Liberal and Independent Senators? And if that’s acceptable and the next government is Liberal, would it be allright for Trudeau to fire all the Cons and load it up with his friends and supporters?

          • You just nailed it. He cant and thats why they are having a problem getting this bill passed. Some cons dont agree with him and will vote with the Liberals. Lets hope some more cons grow a spine and vote with Liberals. The Senate is supposed to be independent.

          • That’s not the point. Harper is perfectly entitled to throw them out of his caucus. But is he entitled to strip them of their position?. The PM appoints Judges, but does that mean he can just axe them at will?

        • They haven’t had a chance, that’s the whole problem. Everything has been behind closed doors.

    • The fact is a lot of drugs aren’t covered by either provincial plans or extended benefit plans. And they’re the expensive ones. Is there any record that either Duffy or Wallin, who personally know how screwed they’d be without their current coverage, initiated any legislation toward covering this gap for people without the money to pay for them. You would think they would have had considerable influence with the PM – before this unfortunate situation they find themselves in.

  7. Once you start sending people to the guillotine, it’s only a matter of time before you meet the Hungry Lady yourself.

    • First you gotta make sure she doesn’t garrot you with those pearls before you even reach your place of execution..

    • Just ask Max Robespierre!

  8. Even politicians can self immolate or go one bridge too far for the Prince. A sad ending to her career is what she’ll be remembered for.

    • She a nothing to respect anyway….just anther partisan political hack. She contributed nothing to making Canada a better place. Her partisan behaviour made Canada a worse place.

  9. LeBretons days are over. She is now a liability to PMO. Its only a matter of time before she gets thrown under the big blue bus

    • a big blue double-decker bus

      • Yes with a one way ticket

  10. good lord! who could ever accuse Aunt Marj of anything?

    • What else does she know?

  11. Time for Senators to pay their own expenses, they do not need to travel, But would rather abolish the place, but as usual even though they have not signed the constitution, Quebec is a pain in the butt for rest of us Canadians, the whinning little baby Province and corrupt to the core!

    • BC, Alberta, Sask, Man, Ont, plus two Maritime provinces can change the constitution. Quebec is not the only one stepping reform…..I am not even sure if they oppose reforming it as they have not debated a motion on the matter.

  12. This is politics at it’s worst; now reduced to a Jerry Springer show. I could not be more disgusted or embarrassed with our government representatives. The example you are setting for our young people defies belief. While you children are running around defending your turf and your pensions, who’s running the ship? Nothing except this debacle seems to be discussed in the House of Commons or the Senate. Grow up, take your licks, if deserved, and get on with it. You’re an embarrassment.

  13. So this senator gets appointed to this committee, removed from that committee.
    Who is doing all this rearrangement of the committees in the independent upper house?
    Harper stacks the senate this robots – contrary to the spirit of the upper house which is supposed to be independent of the commons and the PMO.
    Harper makes it an appendix of the PMO, sends senators out on the campaign trail using senate expense money to pay their way, uses senators to generally campaign for the Harper party, using senate expense money, then the moment it turns out all these assignments are illegal uses of senate expense money, turns on his campaigning senators like a cornered rat and denounces them.
    It is poetic justice that the very parliamentary body Harper sought to destroy by bad appointments is turning on him. This may well be the final straw for Canadian voters.
    One can only hope that the Harper party fares worse than the Mulroney party did.

    • The practice of stacking the Senate with the PMs friends is not new. Harper complained the Liberals did this too. So did Mulroney. Trudeau as well. And on it goes. Harper made a lot of electoral mileage out of being critical of the practice which makes him a hypocrite not original. This is why the NDP have always promoted the Senate be abolished and the Liberals and Conservatives have favoure its continuation.

  14. This controversy illustrates the shoddy level of behavior that our senators believe is acceptable. They are scrambling around like rats on sinking ship. The three senators are immoral in that they took tax payers money that they may “technically” have not been excluded from but they would have known it was not money that they were entitled to. Rules have to be made so complex that they become unworkable because it doesn’t matter how well you provide for the senators they will always look any opportunity to take more. I know people who make much less money but have a moral compass that would not allow them to act in such an unethical manner.

    • That is exactly the point. Even if they were able to find a technical reason they could claim this money. Even if others did it too. Even if Harper, Wright, Lebreton, the PMO or anyone else said it was fine, they should not have claimed it. Duffy said he claimed it so that his residency would not be Questioned. He obviously had doubts he was qualified to sit as a Senator from PEI.
      Harper claimed he looked over Wallin’s claims and they were in line with others from Sask. Since hers have been found wanting and the others were similar, why have they not faced discipline? Was he lying or are there two sets of rules? Perhaps there is a vendetta against her. ( not that she was not cheating but why is she singled out but not teach up) Should there not be a whole lot of others being suspended too? Perhaps the suspensions will be strung out until the election……couple more every month or two.

  15. You all seem to be missing the point that if Duffy et all had any shred of integrity they would resign, but no, they are pigs at the trough of the worst kind.

    If these miscreants had claimed false expenses while working for any private sector company they wold be out on their ass for cause.

    • Check your inbox, BB – if you took off from work early Friday you have missed Senator ‘Cardigan’ attempting to make a deal with Brazeau, literally outside the backdoor of the Senate. If this were were a movie it would be dismissed as totally hackneyed. At the same time the PM was on a radio show with John Tory claiming his steadfast dedication to suspend all three bad, bad, bad Senators. Meanwhile today the ‘sweater with the sleeves’ has suggested a deal could be made to reduce sanctions against Brazeau and Wallin. It seems Mr. Duffy has really pee’d Harper off so he’s on full plank walking. I’d suggest you buckle up – this weeks is going to be bumpy for you devotees. For the rest of us – highly entertaining. And how many sleeps before the convention?

      • Been smoking more weed than usual have you?

        • Today we have Steve saying he fired Wright -and you’re accusing me of smoking something?

  16. Marjorie LeBreton has never done an honest days work in her life. She’s been a paid Conservative since she began working for John Diefenbaker in the 1960’s, in her early 20’s. I don’t disparage devoted partisans. Good that they believe in something so fiercely and have done so all of their adult lives. But to have been employed by a political party, and by nobody else, no clock-punching, no waking to an alarm clock, no corporate experience, no independent business experience, no business experience at all, never being measured by your productivity, in all of your adult life is just bizarre. She’s been on an expense account for 50 years. How could any such person understand real life, you know, the one the rest of us live in?

    • She was really rich today on QP. She talked about her retired ‘blue collar worker’ husband who couldn’t possibly understand how anybody could abuse the taxpayer’s money. It was the weirdest attempt to convince us that despite her status, she gets real people’s opinion because – can you believe it – she’s married to one of those welder/plumber types. There is some strange messaging coming out of the PMO.

  17. Jan I think this whole thing is a mess that includes these senators expenses but also the pm office. My problem is this never started in 1 day, 1 month or even 1 year.Who was approving these expenditures, who was covering this up, the pm office obviously knew what was going on but it was convenient to over look it all. Was any of these expenses used doing party work, therefore a party expense which would be covered by election expenses and election act. That really opens a can of worms. It just seems too convenient right now to dump them. They are in such a rush. Why? I think the whole thing needs to be audited by the courts before anything happens. I am not happy about anybody abusing the public purse or position. Right now the lid has just been dented it needs to be pried wide open once and for all and let the chips fall where they may. There are more questions than there is answers. The senate is supposed to be owned by no one. This is about Canada not party politics, that is why they are not elected. We only have to look at the States and the elected senate. Big business owns them and pay millions every 4 yrs to cover their elections. Not the best model but it is the real world

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