Senators repay questioned claims

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA—A Liberal and two Conservative senators have repaid dubious expense claims which were detailed in a special arbitrator’s report.
Senate records show Sen. Colin Kenny has paid almost $31,400 in expenses that former Supreme Court justice Ian Binnie deemed unjustified in his report released last month.
Binnie found he questioned trips included overnight stays that didn’t appear necessary and sometimes were scheduled around holidays with friends, time with family, and even a suit fitting in Toronto.
Kenny’s expenses first were flagged by the auditor general last year and sent to the RCMP for review.
Kenny said he won’t make any comment until a final resolution of all issues.
Yesterday, Conservative senators Jean-Guy Dagenais and David Tkachuk, the former chairman of the Senate committee that oversaw the spending rules, paid back money Binnie said they shouldn’t have charged taxpayers.
For Dagenais, that meant repaying almost $2,300 for expenses that included trips a staffer wasn’t eligible to claim.
And for Tkachuk, it meant repaying $1,900 for trips that included a November, 2011 flight to Ottawa from Saskatoon that Binnie said primarily was for Tkachuk’s work on a corporate board.
The repayments leave 12 current and former senators still on the hook for more than $622,000 in improper expenses first flagged by the auditor general last June.
Current senators who don’t pay up before April 22 will have their salaries clawed back until their debt is repaid.
Former senators who fail to repay will be taken to court by the Senate.