Senate scandal keeps growing

Since the beginning of the summer break in Parliament, there have been some important developments on the Senate scandal which keeps going and growing, so here is a bit of an update.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper took a beating about the Senate scandal in Question Period in the lead-up to the summer break and now has decided that the scrutiny is becoming a little too intense at this point.
So instead of Parliament returning as scheduled, Mr. Harper has decided to prorogue and bring the MPs back in late October or early November, when he hopes the whole Senate mess will have died down a bit.
The looming prorogation, however, hasn’t stopped the Senate scandal story from moving forward as the RCMP recently confirmed it is formally investigating—and investigators believe they have grounds to lay “breach of public trust” charges upon one or more people involved.
Unidentified sources also apparently have confirmed that “numerous” individuals in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Senate have been interviewed by the RCMP in its investigation so far.
In another development last month, Auditor General Michael Ferguson agreed to look at the travel and expenses of every senator (more than 100 in all) who sits in our unelected chamber.
Mr. Ferguson wants an in-depth look at their spending on housing, travel, and office expenses.
We should recall at this point that the current Senate scandal came to be after a routine and superficial audit of just seven random senators that happen to include Sens. Duffy, Brazeau, and Wallin.
With more than 90 additional audits coming over the next two years, I think we can expect many more fraudulent expense claims—or worse—to surface. Stay tuned on this one.
More recently, in the past few days, Lyse Ricard, the Senate Ethics Commissioner (yes, they actually have one!), agreed to look into the conduct of yet another Harper Senate appointee—Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu.
Ms. Ricard’s investigation will focus on whether Mr. Boisvenu has violated the conflict of interest code for senators—and is expected to focus on two types of activities that senators are prohibited from undertaking while serving.
According to conflict of interest rules, senators are not allowed to use their official position to further their own or another person’s private interests nor attempt to influence someone else’s decisions to further those private interests.
So these are the most recent developments in the ongoing and ever-growing Senate scandal. I fully expect much more news to come to light in the days and weeks ahead, and that charges are likely to be laid against some senators—and perhaps members of Prime Minister Harper’s own office.
Is it any wonder now why New Democrats have sought to abolish our embarrassing “Triple-U” (unelected, unaccountable, and under investigation) Senate for more than 40 years?

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