POLITICS

Five things to know about Ian Binnie, Senate expenses and the auditor general

05/26/2015 03:33 EDT | Updated 05/26/2016 05:59 EDT
OTTAWA - Five things to know about the Senate decision to appoint former Supreme Court justice Ian Binnie as its special arbitrator in the auditor general's audit:

1. There are up to 40 senators who will have their spending challenged by auditor general Michael Ferguson. All will have the chance to go through Binnie's dispute resolution process, which could save them thousands of dollars and avoid having the RCMP called in to review their file.

2. All of Binnie's decisions will be made public.

3. Binnie won't be the ultimate authority on who should pay and who shouldn't. That decision still lies with the Senate's internal economy committee — the same committee that was accused of whitewashing Sen. Mike Duffy's final audit report, eliminating references that criticized his travel and housing claims.

4. Neither Duffy nor suspended senators Patrick Brazeau and Pamela Wallin had arbitration as an option when they were suspended in November 2013.

5. Senators against whom Binnie rules will receive a repayment notice from the Senate. If they refuse, the Senate will claw back their salary until all funds are recouped; if a retired senator refuses to repay, the Senate will take them to court.