Arbitrator Decides Senators to Repay Some Expenses Claimed from Senate

The retired Supreme Court justice, Ian Binnie, appointed to oversee a binding arbitration process for senators who wanted to appeal the findings contained in the June 2015 report by auditor general, Michael Ferguson, has finally revealed the results on Monday morning. The binding arbitration was not a complete victory for either sides, including the 14 senators who had challenged the findings or the auditor general’s report into the expenses scandal.

The binding arbitration has concluded that a total of $177,898 will be retuned to the Senate from the 14 senators. The executive summary of the ruling reveals that “implementation of these rules, policies and guidelines call for discretion, judgment and common sense. However, they are perfectly workable in the hands of a senator who wishes to comply with the obvious purposes of a rule, as well as its literal text.” Furthermore, Binnie pointed out that it is the responsibility of individual senators, not the administrative staff, to determine what is right what is wrong to claim. It was explained that “the Senate expects its staff to serve as helpful watchdogs, not bloodhounds.”

Binnie further remarked in the decision that “I have on occasion found to be justified some of the expenditures questioned by the auditor general. This does not necessarily indicate a disagreement with the auditor general. In many cases, the differing opinions may just be the result of an expanded evidentiary record available in the special arbitration.”

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