By Jim Brown
Let’s be realistic here. It’s impossible to kill the Senate unless you want to re-open the Constitution and we all know how that turned out the last couple of times it was tried. Remember Meech Lake and the Charlottetown Accord?
How about, instead, we get rid of expense claims and just give senators an allowance to spend as they wish on travel, meals and other expenses, say about $50,000 or so. If they manage to spend it all on hookers or gambling junkets in Las Vegas, they’re out of luck – they’ll need to find another Nigel Wright to bail them out. But at least taxpayers won’t be on the hook and ordinary Canucks don’t have to hear about the latest Senate spending scandal on the news channel while trying to hold down their breakfast. Before people start going ballistic just consider how much it’s costing to audit each individual senator – $23 million, far more than the $900,000 in misallocated expenses the Auditor General has discovered so far. The Harper government has better uses for its auditors – for example, going after notorious tax cheats such as ornithological clubs and environmental activists. The bottom line is, give the senators a $50,000 allowance and I bet you executive class airline tickets swiftly turn into economy class and fancy dinners turn into a night at Mickey D’s. And we can all get some blessed relief.