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Yukon MP's statement on Senate accountability

Yukon Member of Parliament Ryan Leef issued the following statement on May 21.


Fellow Yukoners,

There has been a considerable amount of attention around Senate spending lately. As your Member of Parliament, I have heard the concerns of all Yukon residents.  This morning Prime Minister Harper spoke about recent events and Senate reform, where he reaffirmed his disappointment with the recent conduct of his own office and other public officials. The Prime Minister firmly stated there is no place in public office for those who seek to use it for their own, personal benefit.

The Conservative Government has committed, since 2006, to dramatically strengthen accountability rules in Ottawa, and I stringently apply those standards to myself and  budgetary oversight of my office.

Our Federal Accountability Act, the toughest accountability legislation in the history of this country, forever changed the way business is done in Ottawa. We have strengthened the powers of the Auditor General, toughened the office of the Ethics Commissioner, and reformed political party financing.

We have dramatically tightened lobbying rules, and beefed up auditing and accountability within government departments. Canada now has one of the most accountable and transparent systems of governance in the world. This is something of which I and all Canadians are rightly proud.

In regards to Senate reform specifically, our Government has heard Canadians loud and clear: fundamental, irreversible reform needs to happen and our efforts toward that end must be accelerated.

The Senate status quo cannot continue: changes must be enacted as soon as possible.

Our Government has asked the Supreme Court on whether various reforms can be accomplished by Parliament alone - and if not, we have Conservative Senators willing to stand behind reform as well. Further, we requested the Supreme Court rule on potential options for abolishing the Senate entirely. Until those rulings are handed down, steps are being taken to close loopholes in the Senate's expenditure rules. This will strengthen Senate accountability, which is clearly a pressing need.

Thank you again for sharing your concerns on this issue. I want to assure you that my office will continue listening to Yukoners, and all Canadians', concerns on the Senate, and work toward strengthening accountability measures until the Supreme Court rules on what further actions can be taken. I have the utmost confidence that our Prime Minister will back his words with decisive action.



Ryan Leef
Member of Parliament, Yukon