I am in complete agreement with Senator Comeau – Chair of the Senate’s Committee on Internal Economy – that the Senate should move to a single expense reporting system that improves consistency and reduces administrative burden. Senator Comeau’s comments can be found in a recent PostMedia article by Jordan Press here.
As I said when I put my detailed expense statements on my website last spring, I intend to continue to refine my approach and work with others to ensure that such disclosures simply and clearly provide necessary and relevant information to taxpayers. In my recently released 7-point action plan to improve the Senate’s relationship with Canadians, I called for more detailed online disclosure of Senators’ travel and hospitality expenses, and I am pleased to see growing momentum in that direction. I look forward to seeing proposals this fall as to how the Senate can improve expense transparency and accountability. In the meantime, I will continue to release detailed statements of my own expenses here on my website.
I also agree with Senator Comeau that the Senate needs to improve the understanding of what is and is not an eligible expense, for the benefit of both the public and Senators. We must ensure that rules are stringent enough to protect the interests of Canadian taxpayers, but not so restrictive that they handcuff Senators to Ottawa and prevent them from getting out and listening to Canadians.