Senate Speaker Leo Housakos speaks with the media in the Foyer of the Senate on Parliament Hill on May 26, 2015. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/CP)Harder wants the Senate to heed auditor general Michael Ferguson's recommendation to run regular internal audits, and create an outside body to oversee spending instead of having senators police themselves.
Focus on MP spending: HousakosHe said the Liberal government should be focused more on opening up spending information in the House of Commons and less time lecturing senators. "They have to understand that the Senate is run by senators and not by the government and this government keeps forgetting that," Housakos said. "It's not for the leader of the government (in the Senate) to be lecturing the Senate of how it should be operating, but second of all it's terrible when he's giving interviews and he knows full well the stuff he's commenting on have either been addressed or are in the process of being addressed." The letter details the changes in expense rules in the wake of the spending scandal, the two-year-long review of claims by auditor general Michael Ferguson, and outlines work that was underway at the time of Harder's comments — specifically the creation of the oversight body.
"They have to understand that the Senate is run by senators and not by the government and this government keeps forgetting that."The Senate is set to unveil the details of the proposed new spending oversight body when senators return to Parliament Hill after the winter break. Housakos said the body would see senators and non-senators decide what expenses are appropriate, and which ones cross a line. "This oversight body will be the first of its kind in any parliament in Canada, so we're also very cognizant that we need to set the bar very high," Housakos said. "We hope we do such a good job with it that the House of Commons and other provincial legislatures will find it incumbent upon themselves to show the same degree of transparency that the Senate has over the last year and a half."
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