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Should Senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau be Suspended Without Pay?

 

The three senators in question have been involved in the senate scandal and stand accused of illegitimate claims.  They have paid back the claims in question, but they are still acting senators.

 

Senator Pamela Wallin repayed the $121,348 of improper expense claims.4  Wallin is now an independant senator.

 

Senator Mike Duffy repayed the $90,172 of improper expense claims after recieving a gift of that amount from Nigel Wright.4  Duffy is now an independant senator.  See also: Harpers role in the Senate Scandal

 

Senator Patrick Brazeau repayed the $51,482 of improper expense claims.4  Brazeau is now an independant senator after being expelled from the Conservative caucus following an arrest for domestic and sexual assualt.4

 

A fourth Senator involved in the scandal, Mac Harb, retired after repaying the $180,166.17 he owed.

 

The Senators should be immediately suspended without pay

The Senators should not be suspended without pay until after further investigation

Proof Of Wrongdoing

The act of paying back their claims constitutes confession of guilt.  The audit findings are sufficient evidence on which to base disciplinary action up to and including suspension without pay.

Proof of Wrongdoing

The audit showed that the claims were not ligitimate, but findings have also shown that the guidelines for claims were unclear.  It has not been sufficiently proven that the senators had behaved in a unethical manner, rather than simply making a mistake.  No action should be made until the RCMP investigation is complete.

Public Opinion

Canadian public opinion is in favor of suspending the senators.1

Public Opinion

Suspension should not be based on public opinion but instead on careful analysis of the facts.

RCMP investigation

Claims that suspending the senators would interfere with RCMP investigation are untrue.  There is no "double jeopardy" because the suspension of the senators does not imply criminal activity.3  Rather, the suspension is a result of a failure to follow the standards of behavior expected by senators.

RCMP investigation

The senate is a body capable of "judicial procedings" as defined by section 118 of the Criminal Code, which may mean that after suspension of pay RCMP investigations would need to stop to prevent "double jeopardy" allegations.3  If this is the case, Harper and Wright may never be called to the stand to testify concerning their involvement.

   

Alternatives

The evidence may be different for each of the three senators, making a blanket decision unreasonable.

 

References

1.     The Star: Most Canadians think senators should be suspended with no pay: poll

2.     City News: Attempts to suspend senators without pay mired in confusion

3.     The Hill Times: Move to suspend Sen. Duffy from Senate could prevent Harper, Wright from testifying in a court over $90,000 cheque, says Grit Senator, but criminal lawyer says not likely

 4.     Wikipedia

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