Editor, The Times:
Recently I have heard from constituents expressing their outrage over recent events involving four Senators and the former Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister’s Office. Firstly, I hope the actions of these few individuals don’t lead you to paint all Senators with the same brush. We are fortunate to have Senators like Nancy Greene Raine who are dedicated to serving the people of British Columbia and Canada with integrity and honour.
In regards to the recent allegations, all taxpayers are rightfully intolerant of any abuse of their hard earned dollars, and this case is no different. I am equally frustrated and unhappy with these allegations of abuse of public funds. I am troubled that Parliament is constrained by a set of legislative rules that do not allow us to remove someone from public office for a breach of trust. However, if someone is in contravention of the law there are a number of actions that can be taken.
As this situation continues to unfold, we must understand that one of Canada’s founding values is that of fair and due process under the law. This is a situation that is currently being investigated by the Ethics Commissioner, independent auditors and the RCMP. We all anxiously await their findings in order to fully understand who is ultimately responsible. It is important that in the name of fair and due process we allow the truth to be uncovered, and to take appropriate action based on the facts once they are known.
In the meantime the Supreme Court of Canada is reviewing a reference by Parliament as to whether the reforms we have proposed to the Senate can be accomplished by Parliament alone, and to rule on options for abolishing the Senate completely. These reforms are intended to hold the Senate to a higher standard of accountability. The Supreme Court decision is expected to come out this fall.
At the end of the day, there is no excuse for any individual who holds public office to claim ignorance of the law. If an individual at the highest level of government doesn’t abide by the rules, they simply aren’t fit for the position.
Cathy McLeod, MP