Just about everyone in the country thinks Pamela Wallin should resign with the notable exception of Pamela Wallin. Instead she seems prepared to drag down the Senate with her, not that it had far to fall from grace.
The beleaguered senator, already booted from the Tory caucus, tried desperately Monday to pre-empt the release of an auditor’s report revealing the extent of her phony expense claims. She maintained that the audit process was flawed and unfair.
Her appearance before a Senate committee gave the impression of someone sinking ever deeper into quicksand as they futilely flail about. As revealed on Wednesday, she had already attempted to cover her false-expense tracks by revising her claims electronically.
The report, released Wednesday is an indictment of the senator’s comprehension of straightforward rules if not the integrity of her character. It is the latest revelation in CBC commentator Rex Murphy labels “the snowball from hell.”
While three other senators are embroiled in the scandal, Wallin’s case has put detail to months of speculation. The audit checked every flight that the former broadcaster made from the time of her appointment to the upper chamber in 2009.
Wallin billed the taxpayers of Canada when she attended social functions that had nothing to do with Senate business — the Juno Awards, the National Book Awards, Conservative party fundraisers and a women’s conference in the
Hoping to get out in front of the embarrassment, she insisted that the audit did not consider that senators are expected to perform such official duties on behalf of the government. That’s a stretch, considering what some of her colleagues from the Red Chamber are saying. They’re being mocked everywhere because of the scandal.
Wallin said she wants to put the matter behind her so that she can get back to representing the people of Saskatchewan. She overlooks the fact — the Achille’s heel of all Canadian senators — that the people never elected her to represent them. Even if they had, it’s doubtful many would want her carry on at this late stage.
The only consolation in this messy business is that it may hasten long overdue Senate reforms, even if the Harper government’s current strategy appears destined to fail. At this stage, the government has punted the issue to the Supreme Court, arguing that Senate reform does not require provincial consent. If the court should disagree, it’s back to square one with little likelihood of Quebec consenting to changes.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.