Last week, Conservative MPs and Senators began posting their expenses online. In an interview with Postmedia, I reiterated this to be a necessary step towards an accountable, transparent, and more effective Senate. I am excited to continue working with my colleagues towards improving the Senate to ensure it meets the needs and expectations of today’s Canadians.
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.
I spoke with Tencer and Grose from 630 CHED this morning to discuss the role of the Senate, expenses and transparency. Listen here (Sept 9, hr 2): http://bit.ly/16figcl
Meet the one senator who wants you to look through his expenses: Globe and Mail
Questions about personal expenses aren’t new for Doug Black – the only senator in Canada to post his expenses online is a man who has been through this before.
Since joining the Senate earlier this year, Mr. Black has been voluntarily publishing everything at a time when senators’ expenses are under scrutiny amid reviews of claims made by several current and former senators, including Patrick Brazeau, Mike Duffy, Mac Harb and Pamela Wallin.
In revealing all his claims, Mr. Black hopes to clear the air of what he calls the “baloney” questions about some spending and focus on issues.
“This whole discussion we’ve had over the past couple of months on expenses, senators’ expenses, has been a tremendous distraction. And I went to Ottawa to talk about the issues that are affecting Albertans. And I thought the best way to clean that up and to get through that was to just put it all out there for the whole world to see,” said Mr. Black, who says his top issue is market access for Canada’s energy sector. “…We need to get through this baloney to talk about the issues that matter.”
To read the full article, please click here (subscribers only).
Excerpt below. Read the full article here.
September 6, 2013
OTTAWA – Sen. Doug Black says he’s already getting questions about his $179.99 office coffee-maker.
But the freshly appointed, elected Conservative senator from Alberta says public reaction to his online posting of itemized, taxpayer-funded expenses has been “overwhelmingly” positive — and “a ton of work.”
The Senate expense scandal that continues to rock the Conservative government has prompted a common understanding on Parliament Hill that the reporting of MP and senator expenses requires much greater transparency, timeliness and vigour.
Amid much partisan jockeying over reforms, it is two Conservative senators who are leading the way by example.
Bob Runciman, a former Ontario cabinet minister, announced this week he’ll join trailblazer Black in the upper chamber by posting itemized expenses online every three months.
Runciman says he’s trying to “help Doug out in encouraging others to follow the lead.”
Black has been posting his expenses — right down to individual cab fares, hospitality charges and office supply purchases — since the spring. Continue Reading »