Travel expenses: 70 per cent of senators take a hint - Macleans.ca
 

Travel expenses: 70 per cent of senators take a hint

An interactive breakdown of the Senate’s travel spending


 

Canadian senators have been listening to the controversy surrounding their travel expenses, and have responded en masse. According to an analysis of the most recent senate quarterly expense report (released last week), a whopping 70 per cent of senators have reduced their spending on travel.

Last week, journalist Stephen Maher determined that top Senate spenders reduced their travel expenses from the previous quarter. His analysis was fascinating, but what if last quarter was especially high for travel expenses? Or particularly low? How did the rest fare?

I kicked his analysis up a notch and looked even further back by comparing the recently released expense report with each senator’s average (per quarter) travel expenses. Each senator’s average travel expenses were determined by looking at every quarterly expense report since September 2010 (including both “regular” and “other” travel).

The findings were surprising: Almost three quarters of senators reduced their spending from their own average. Three senators reduced their spending by 100 per cent, five reduced spending by more than 80 per cent, and when all was said and done, almost one in four reduced their spending between 50 and 100 per cent.

Below is an interactive bar chart comparing each senator’s average per quarter travel spending (in blue) with what they spent on travel in just the last quarter (in red). Note: New senators, and those who have just left, have not been included in the analysis, or the chart.


 
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Travel expenses: 70 per cent of senators take a hint

  1. We should ask an accountant or statistician (or Colby Cosh for that matter) to comment on the validity of this analysis. In business accounting, quarterly results should be compared to the results of the same quarter of the previous year. A comparison against average amounts doesn’t indicate anything useful unless it was for the whole year. Having said that, what kind of a fiscal year does the Senate use? I was under the impression that for government programs, the fiscal year was from 1 April to 31 March. If December-January-February are in the same Quarter, the fiscal year could be from 1 December to 30 November.

  2. What exactly do they do beside spending our money?
    Some of them with their personal background don’t even qualify to make any decition
    for us.

  3. It would be nice if the locations of where these senators come from would have been added to the data. The further they live, the more travel costs they’ll have. Now Nick Sibbeston, a Liberal Senator, represents the Northwest Territories. It’s not cheap to travel there. In other words, we need all the data to be well informed, which of course the media is often reluctant to do because it doesn’t always fit their agenda.

  4. Yes I agree with ykw – would bve interesting to factor distance and northerly regions which are much higher travel costs. Well done thus far Amanda!! This needs to be done by the press much more!!