POLITICS

Some of what was said Tuesday in the wake of auditor general's Senate audit

06/09/2015 05:52 EDT | Updated 06/09/2016 05:59 EDT
OTTAWA - Some of what was said Tuesday both in, and about, auditor general Michael Ferguson's comprehensive audit of Senate expense claims:

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"We found that the oversight, accountability, and transparency of Senators’ expenses was quite simply not adequate." — excerpt from the overview of the report.

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"We also found that senators did not always consider the requirement to ensure that expenses funded through the public purse were justifiable, reasonable, and appropriate. We have noted areas where senators could make decisions that would be more economical for taxpayers." — Another excerpt from the overview.

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"The weaknesses and problems uncovered in the course of this comprehensive audit of senators' expenses call for a transformational change in the way expenses are claimed, managed, controlled, and reviewed. Simply changing or adding to existing rules will not be enough. Improvements in oversight, accountability, transparency and senators’ consideration for the cost to taxpayers are needed to resolve the issues that we have identified."— Another excerpt from the overview.

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"I am struck by the overall lack of transparency and accountability around senators' expenses, both at the level of the oversight exercised by the institution as a whole and at the level of some individuals. This is an institution whose members have not been required to be fully transparent about their spending or accountable to Canadians for that spending." — Auditor general Michael Ferguson at his news conference.

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"Canadians are fed up with high-spending, unelected and unaccountable senators making laws for them." — NDP deputy ethics critic Alexandre Boulerice.

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"Conservatives were elected on a promise to reform the Senate and fix Ottawa, they failed miserably at both." — NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus.

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"Remember a prime minister who came to Ottawa riding a white horse? Instead he'll be leaving flogging a dead horse." — Angus in question period.

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"I acknowledge there needs to be change in the Senate, not just to the rules and procedures but also the culture." — Government Senate leader Claude Carignan.

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"We absolutely agree with the auditor general recommendations for more oversight, disclosure, and internal controls with due regard for taxpayers, especially where senators' expenses are concerned." — Carignan.

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"Today's report just reinforces Saskatchewan's position that the Senate should be abolished. If the Senate was necessary to the proper functioning of Canadian democracy, I would say clean it up and getting it working properly. But it isn't necessary and it isn't making any sort of a positive contribution." — Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall.

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"I Iike to restore old cars. But that's only worth doing if, when you get finished, the car is going to run properly and it's at least worth the money you put into it. The Senate is never going to run properly and it's never going to be worth the money we put into it. So it should be scrapped." — Wall.

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"Sunlight is the best disinfectant. If every politician and bureaucrat in Ottawa knew that every expense receipt would be posted online for all Canadians to see, you can be certain it would make them more vigilant about following the rules to the letter." — Aaron Wudrick, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

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