As of May 19, Senator Pamela Wallin can breathe a little easier due to the news that the RCMP has closed its three-year-long investigation into allegations about fraudulent expense claims. This closure follows on the heels of Senator Patrick Duffy’s acquittal last month on 31 charges of breach of trust, bribery, and fraud.
“I am of course thrilled for Senator Duffy,” Senator Wallin told Wadena News at the time. “Justice was finally and decisively done.”
Justice is finally being done for Senator Wallin. As she told the Globe and Mail, “It has been a very long three years.”
It now seems evident that even from 2009, the Senate, under the leadership of Marjorie Le Breton, had problems with the way it processed senators’ expenses and allocated repayments. It also seems even more plausible that Senator Wallin’s work ethic caused resentment, as was suggested by Wallin when she stood in the Senate and accused Le Breton and Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen of resenting her for being “an activist senator.”
On May 17, 2013, as a result of an internal audit that had been dragging on since December 2012, Wallin was one of the senators singled out and ordered to pay back expenses. Wallin, however, did admit to making errors in filing her expenses. Her lawyer Terrence O’Sullivan said that due to an administrative error, corporate board expenses were submitted to the Senate. “There was no possibility for personal gain for Ms. Wallin,” he said, “because the expenses would have been covered by the corporate boards she was serving on, had she sent her expense claims to them.”
“When we found mistakes, we acknowledged them and I repaid the amounts immediately,” Wallin said. But then in August 2013, the RCMP were called in and, after initial investigations, alleged in court documents that Wallin had committed fraud and breach of trust by filing fraudulent expense claims. The fact that after three years the RCMP have dropped all investigations questions the validity of those initial allegations.
With Senator Duffy and Senator Wallin having returned to the Senate, and the possibility of acquittal hanging over senators who are still under investigation, one has to ask, has this whole scandal been about personal jealousies and rivalries, disguised as something else?
“It has been a long and difficult road and I only wish my mom and dad were here to witness the clearing of my name. This was hardest on them and my family,” wrote Senator Wallin in an email to Wadena News.
“I am relieved that the nightmare is finally over, but justice was too long delayed. And I am saddened that the rule of law was ignored in one of our most important institutions — the Parliament of Canada.
“I intend to continue my work in the Senate on behalf of Saskatchewan and the veterans of Canada, who deserve our respect and attention.”
By Andy Labdon