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Friday, May 17, 2013

Discreditable senate appointments

Dear Mr. Lauzon,

I am writing to complain about the disturbing behaviour of the Prime Minister's Office in regard to the Senate scandal about expense claims.

It is not believable to me that a person like Senator Duffy couldn't find, or borrow, the money to replace his expenses claimed (possibly) in error. The bail out by the Prime Minister's chief-of-staff is a dreadful mistake. It leads to the perception of impropriety, and the branches of Canadian government should be above reproach.

The Conservative government has made much about ethical behaviour and accountability, more than just following the letter of the law. This was important in rebuilding the party after the Mulroney years.

One is often judged by the company one keeps. The Conservative government is being rightly pilloried in the press for bad judgement in picking senators who have discredited to the party.

I can honestly say that I am shocked.

Yours sincerely

Dear Susan,

Thank you for writing to my office regarding the repayment of Senator Duffy’s living expenses to taxpayers. I always appreciate hearing the concerns of my constituents on matters that are important to them.

I can assure you I do not believe that taxpayers should be on the hook for improper expense claims made by Senators. Mr. Duffy agreed to repay the expenses because it was the right thing to do. However, Mr. Duffy was unable to make a timely repayment.  Mr. Wright therefore wrote a cheque from his personal account for the full amount owing so that Mr. Duffy could repay the outstanding amount. The independent external audit by Deloitte looking into Senate expenses was completed and the results tabled. Due to the controversies surrounding Senator Duffy’s improper expense claims, the Senator made the decision to resign from the Conservative Caucus and sit as an independent.

Once again, thank you for writing.

Best regards,

Guy Lauzon
Member of Parliament
Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry

Dear Mr. Lauzon,

Thank you for your prompt reply.

I am sorry, it is not believable that a person of Senator Duffy's status and income could not immediately borrow such funds from a Canadian bank to cover the shortfall. If he could not, the taxpayer was not "on the hook" for this - it is still his responsibility. I am ignoring the possibly misleading statement that was made to the press, that Senator Duffy and his wife had decided to pay back the money. I am also ignoring for now, the idea that someone else, in any other occupation, would be suspended without pay and possibly facing police charges.

I expect the government of Canada to be held to the same or hopefully better standards of behaviour than this. I happen to know, and as you probably know yourself, Mr. Lauzon, that when a new senator or MP is brought into Parliament, there is an extensive orientation and briefings explaining what is allowed and what is not (and the reasons for that).

I am very sorry, that you appear to have to defend this type of behaviour, as I believe that you are a person of unimpeachable honesty and you do a great deal of good work in our community!

Yours sincerely

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