Chair of Senate expenses watchdog committee resigns for health reasons

OTTAWA – Conservative Sen. David Tkachuk is stepping down as chairman of the committee that’s been investigating dubious expense claims by senators.

The Saskatchewan senator says he’s resigning from the chair of the internal economy committee because he is about to start treatment next week for bladder cancer.

Tkachuk has been thrust into the spotlight over the past few months as the Senate expenses scandal has mushroomed.

His committee ordered external audits of housing and living allowance claims by three senators —Mike Duffy, Patrick Brazeau and Mac Harb — and the travel expenses of Pamela Wallin.

Tkachuk has been accused of tipping off Duffy to some controversial audit findings and of working with other Conservatives on the committee to whitewash the final report on the Duffy audit.

However, the committee subsequently asked the RCMP to investigate after it was revealed the prime minister’s chief of staff, Nigel Wright, had personally given Duffy $90,000 so that he could reimburse his invalid expense claims.