OTTAWA – In the midst of a raging scandal over the abuse of taxpayers’ money by senators, the Senate has hired two speakers to help denizens of the maligned upper chamber feel better about themselves.
All senators, their staff and Senate employees have been invited to attend talks by communications consultant Barry McLoughlin and motivational speaker Marc-Andre Morel.
According to an email sent out by the Senate clerk’s office, the pair will talk about what it describes as “the enduring value of the Senate and help bring a little perspective to the current situation.”
The subject line of the email invitation tells recipients that “the Senate values you and the work you do — come find out why.”
The talks are scheduled for Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. (ET) — when the Senate is supposed to be sitting.
It’s not immediately clear how much the Senate is paying for the speakers or whose idea it was to invite them.
McLoughlin’s biography bills him as “one of North America’s leading communications consultants;” his company specializes in training politicians, governments and corporations in how to deal with the media.
Morel is touted as an internationally-renowned expert on “the themes of personal and professional success.”
The Senate has been rocked for the past six months by a scandal involving four senators and their alleged abuse of living and travel expenses.
In the case of Sen. Mike Duffy, the scandal is now under investigation by the RCMP. Duffy accepted a $90,000 “gift” from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff, Nigel Wright, which he used to reimburse his improper expense claims.