Canadian Senator Pamela Wallin defends her exorbitant travel expenses by claiming that she is simply unable to do her job sitting at a desk in Ottawa. The truth is she could do her job sitting anywhere. Her job, of course, is to rubberstamp any legislation supported by the person who anointed her to the do-nothing job of being a Canadian senator. That would be Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
The Canadian Conservative government after railing on for years about the need for Senate reform when they were in opposition has taken a distinctly different path since their election in 2006. Pamela is one of 64 Conservative party appointments to the 105-member Senate Chamber. Simple math tells you all you need to know. The members of this do-nothing governmental body routinely vote along party lines ensuring that neither their physical presence nor their thinking process is ever actually needed. The only reform needed for this feckless, inept and pointless appendage of government is to allow votes to be mailed in. That way, she and others of her ilk could wistfully spend her remaining years spending time where they want to spend time. That apparently is not the floor of the Senate.
Pamela, for example, has been hanging out regularly in Wadena Saskatchewan where her parents and sister live and where she maintains two residences and owns a seasonal ice cream store. Allowing her to merely mail in her entirely predictable vote on each and every question that makes its way to the Red Chamber would actually save the taxpayers of this country hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel expense and the cost of a separate residence in the Ottawa area. In the last 2 years alone she allegedly spent over $350,000 in travel costs to and from Ottawa and Saskatchewan. Her excuse: she travels home to represent her constituents, all 1500 of them, in Wadena Saskatchewan. Not likely! Only $28,000 was spent there. The remaining $322,000 went elsewhere–hence the audit on her travel accounts.
One wonders what input, if any, the 1500 residents in Wadena had in any of Pamela’s votes over the last 2 years! Let’s hope they unanimously supported every Conservative legislative initiative. Pamela certainly did. If so, they were extremely well represented! Pamela apparently knows who butters her bread. And based on Pamela’s unfailing loyalty to the cause, Wadena must be considered a staunch Conservative enclave. It seems that she should not have to leave Wadena to deliver such a predictable vote. Think of the savings!
Pamela’s claim of traveling to serve her constituents will eventually unravel to reveal a more disingenuous, deceptive and artful camouflage of her use of taxpayer money. Wherever and however the money was spent, spending almost 6 times the nation’s average income on travel in 2 years demands some straightforward answers. The pork-barrel society that is Canada’s Senate is not in need of reform. Instead, it is in need of abolition. The Senate serves no worthwhile function. Elected members of the federal government should find other ways to pay off their political buddies, preferably from their own pockets and not from the pockets of hard-working Canadians. Pamela Wallin’s squandering of public money serves to highlight the need for abolition.