As the Senate turns

Was Duffy's appointment valid? And if the Senate suspends Brazeau without pay, how can it garnishee his wages?

The Senate will convene at 2pm this afternoon, possibly to debate whether to suspend Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau, possibly with Mr. Duffy, Ms. Wallin and Mr. Brazeau present to take part. As regards yesterday’s allegations, Conservative Senator David Tkachuk, former chair of the Senate’s internal economy committee, says he didn’t threaten Mr. Duffy with expulsion and repeats that he was unaware of Mr. Duffy’s deal with Mr. Wright. As it pertains to Mr. Brazeau, suspending him without pay might make it difficult to garnishee his wages for the purposes of repaying his questionable expense claims.

David Bulger reiterates his belief that Mr. Duffy’s appointment to the Senate to represent Prince Edward Island was invalid. Mr. Bulger first raised this concern five years ago when Mr. Duffy’s appointment was announced.

The NDP, meanwhile, is using its day in the House to put forward the following motion.

That, in the opinion of this House, urgent steps must be taken to improve accountability in the Senate, and, therefore, this House call for the introduction of immediate measures to end Senators’ partisan activities, including participation in Caucus meetings, and to limit Senators’ travel allowances to those activities clearly and directly related to parliamentary business.

Opposition motions are non-binding, of course, but the government says it won’t be supporting the motion anyway. The Liberals apparently agree that accountability must be improved, but that such standards should be applied to MPs as well and they are challenging the NDP to adopt the Liberal approach to expense disclosure (speaking in the House, Stephane Dion has ruled out the ban on caucus participation as unconstitutional).

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