June 07, 2015

Why was Senator Jaffer so "nervous" about expensing her trips to NYC on "UN business"?

Ezra LevantRebel Commander

A massive audit has discovered more Canadian senators padding their expense accounts. Some of these cases have been referred to the RCMP.

It reminds me of the Mike Duffy scandal, of course, but also of an email exchange I had with Liberal Senator Mobina Jaffer.

She told other senators last year that she was "nervous" about claiming expenses when she travelled to New York City, "working on issues that are around resolutions of the UN."

In other words, she was there "on UN business" except, well... it's a bit vague, isn't it?

The UN passes resolutions about all kinds of "issues." I "work" on those "issues" every day when I report on world affairs.

So I wrote her a letter asking her why she was so "nervous" about claiming her expenses if she was in New York on official business.

Find out what she told me!

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commented 2015-06-09 10:54:59 -0400
She had better be billing the UN if that is what her business was for. She likely stuck the Canadian tax payers with the bill, and if this is the case, then she needs to reimburse the Canadian taxpayers. And all her expenses should now be handled by those who know what they are doing.
commented 2015-06-08 16:25:02 -0400
Bourque Newswatch has an article of the names of Senators identified by the AG as suspect of improper expense claims. The top five who account for more than a half million, break down into 4 appointed by Chretien/Martin Liberals and one by Harper with a Quebec sounding name. The remainder of the list kind of follows this Liberal/Tory breakdown, including some appointed by Mulroney as well. Perhaps the most disappointing (albeit with just over 2 thousand questionable) is Nancy Greene appointed by Harper.
commented 2015-06-08 12:08:50 -0400
In a number of cultures around the world telling transparently obvious lies in reply to normal questions
is not an attempt to deceive, it is an expression of contempt for the questioner(s).
commented 2015-06-08 10:26:40 -0400
Noel – you seem to put the onus on the PM to reform the Senate….it is not as easy as an Act of Parliament – it requires the Constitution to be amended – also a near unanimity from the Provincial and Territorial Legislatures. Opening the Constitution in this country is a slippery slope and I doubt there is the political will. Hate to be a ‘Negative Nellie’….cheers.
commented 2015-06-08 10:15:57 -0400
Ezra should be on the panel questioning their expenses.
commented 2015-06-08 10:10:58 -0400
Hmmm….“I was thinking about a UN matter while I was in NYC so therefore the Canadian taxpayer needs to pay for that trip”…..OMG – I would be fired. Something needs to be done about the Senate. Just wondering how much appetite there is with the Provincial Legislatures to reopen the Constitution….
commented 2015-06-08 09:00:43 -0400
is this a way for mr. harper’s REFORM history to manifest? if this is the only way for him to REFORM the senate, too bad it took so long. is Stornoway next? under the b…………..
commented 2015-06-07 21:28:57 -0400
Could the numbers be changed? Let’s say 2 senators from each province, with appointments being people actually residing in the province they represent. The senate rules will be clearly defined to state the duties, expense claims, any outside duties that could be allowed, if any. (With less than 30 senators, they should have enough work to do so long as the House is in session. When the House rises, the Senators go to their home locations.) Such an arrangement should cost less, but would anyone be willing to serve?
commented 2015-06-07 21:13:45 -0400
Rick, I think Alberta does have elections for their senator appointments and Harper has obliged by selecting appropriately from the elected Alberta senator. It is an option I think the provinces know about already and Harper will honour their choice, but only Alberta has done it so far. You are right that nothing will happen until after the election, abd if the shiny pony wins, then none of it will happen. There is a greater possibility that the NDP might try to abolish the senate altogether if they take office in October, but I kinda doubt it.
commented 2015-06-07 20:56:28 -0400
It’s really unfortunate that a few unscrupulous individuals have so tarnished the reputation of the senate that most people want to abolish it. It could be a very useful institution if it was legitimate (elected) and if it equally represented the provinces (or at least the regions) to provide a counterbalance to the representation by population in the House of Commons. Certainly the rules regarding what can be legitimately expensed, need to be greatly tightened up. Constitutions shouldn’t be written in stone. Somehow a way needs to be found to make it easier to amend ours.
commented 2015-06-07 19:23:28 -0400
Good questions and follow up, just be honest, admit your responsibilities, yet the silence treatment comes into force…oh oh
commented 2015-06-07 19:06:38 -0400
I am suspicious of ANY politician who works closely with UN committees and travels on “UN business” because these are nothing more than the trans-national cocktail and hors d’oeuvre junket – at any given time there is some UN travel/epicurean orgy taking place on all 7 continents. Being a UN “committee associate” is a ticket to one big luau/potlatch at the expense of people who will never experience these luxuries and who can’t vote to stop these mutts lapping up the gravy at the UN feed trough.

There is a reason super 8 and Howard Johnston’s never host a UN “meeting”. There’s a reason all long term UN committee workers are mostly obese.
commented 2015-06-07 18:53:38 -0400
And no wonder troodo cut loose the liberal pig senators – watch the liberal senators squeal and watch pig troodo run the other way.
Senate expense scandals – the end of the liberal pigs party. Hang that other pig wynne too.
commented 2015-06-07 18:08:03 -0400
Hasn’t Harper attempted to do just this with the Senate? And look at the backlash he’s faced. What kind of a Senate (if any) would we be looking at should any province (or provinces) invoke some kind of “notwithstanding” clause so as not to co-operate with the rest of the provinces? We think we have a dysfunctional Senate now (and we do) — what kind of dysfunction would we see if half the Senate was elected, and the other half not?

As regards the Supreme Court, does anyone think those judges would willingly step down from their high-paying posts and actually give up their political meddling? And again, if some judges were elected and the others appointed, how effective would this Judicial branch be?

Before any serious reform is done to either of these Houses/Branches/entities, it might be smart to actually have a game plan that Canadians (never mind the MPs) could actually get behind…
commented 2015-06-07 17:54:02 -0400
Peter. Do an end run around the process to avoid constitutional issues. Have the Provinces conduct elections for both the senate and the SCOC. When the winner is confirmed, the PM picks that person. Fixed Terms can be implemented by regulation. It really is an employment contract after all. In respect of turfing the present incumbents, the Notwithstanding Clause of the Constitution comes to mind. Of course, the leftys will be apopcalytic! I don’t think anything is possible until after the election. If the current goverment is returned with a majority, they can do it and take the flak from the “entitled to their entitlements” lieberal left. In four years, the general public won’t remember or care. Might be a good time to deal with the CBC as well!
commented 2015-06-07 16:43:05 -0400
Zee, George, interesting suggestions, but not very practical. :)

The fact that no one seems to have a good suggestion as how to change the SCoC and Senate to elected bodies with fixed terms indicates just how difficult change would be.

Historically, such similar governmental changes in other cultures and other times have only come through more, shall we say, turbulent methods.
commented 2015-06-07 15:38:38 -0400
Make them an offer they can’t refuse.
Tell each organization that the first one that turns itself into an elected body gets to live on.
The one that comes in second gets to take that flying leap that I mentioned earlier.
commented 2015-06-07 13:46:37 -0400
Rick, I agree with you 100%. The question is how? With changing the Senate, the constitution will need to be opened and that takes over 50% of the population representing 7 or more provinces and the changes have to pass both the HoC and the Senate. The Senate will have to pass a bill to change itself. I am not sure that is possible, especially in light of today’s polarization in the political climate. I am not sure about the SCoC, but it is probably the same for changing the SCoC.
commented 2015-06-07 13:23:47 -0400
Both the Senate and the Supreme Court should be elected positions with fixed terms. That is the only way this perfidy can be stopped!
commented 2015-06-07 13:08:51 -0400
That the Supreme Court have taken it upon themselves to give up being part of the process that enforces the law, and now appears to have replaced the Senate as the institution that provides so-called sober second thought to our government’s intentions, that to me is as good a reason as any for one of these two organisations to go and take a flying leap, and I don’t particularly care which one does.
commented 2015-06-07 11:52:11 -0400
Ezra is relentless when it comes to getting the facts. …and some folks are just as relentless in stonewalling. The Senate circus is going to get a lot more entertaining. No doubt about it.
commented 2015-06-07 11:21:35 -0400
Jaffer – Liberal-leaning political family, right?
commented 2015-06-07 10:56:15 -0400
So mush bull around this issue. Every single Senator should be audited and made to pay back what they stole from the taxpayer. That’s what it is in black and white " Stealing". There are a few cocky ass Senators I would love to see knocked down a peg or three by the judicial system. Dissolve the Senate. What do they do for us anyway except cause us grief.