By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Senate to explore lighter punishments for Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau
The Conservative government leader in the Senate says he will discuss options for easing the proposed sanctions against three senators as he faces resistance within his caucus to the idea of lengthy suspensions without pay or benefits.
Claude Carignan said he will consult with Conservative senators in a closed-door meeting on Monday to determine if his motions to suspend the senators should be amended.
At least two Tory senators – Don Plett and Hugh Segal – and one MP spoke out publicly against the motions last week, saying the senators are being punished without being found guilty.
Pamela Wallin, Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau all face the threat of suspension without pay or benefits over what Mr. Carignan has characterized as “gross negligence” in their managing of parliamentary resources.
The allegations relate to tens of thousands of dollars in disputed expense claims.
Between four and seven Conservative senators in total have expressed reservations about the suspension motions, according to sources familiar with the matter. Some of the concerns include questions about whether the senators have been granted due process and a fear that the sanctions could interfere with a police investigation. Several also expressed concern that the suspensions would remove medical benefits for the senators, a source said. Now, lesser punishments are being considered – particularly for Ms. Wallin, a source familiar with the matter said.
Mr. Carignan said he does not envisage accepting suspensions with pay – calling it more of a reward than a sanction. He suggested the Senate will evaluate the situation of the three senators individually, meaning that the sanctions could vary based on last week’s statements, and any further comments on their part before the matter is put to a vote. (Source: Globe & Mail)