Nova Scotia

Senate scandal draws sharp words from N.S. PC leader

Nova Scotia's top Tory politician says it's time the prime minister changed the rules to help clean up the "mess" that's going on in Ottawa around Senator Mike Duffy.

Jamie Baillie wants new laws that allow Senators to be fired

Nova Scotia's top Tory politician says it's time the prime minister changed the rules to help clean up the "mess" that’s going on in Ottawa around Senator Mike Duffy.

Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie said politicians who abuse the public trust should face serious consequences.

"[If] Senator Duffy, people like Senator Duffy, are found guilty of abusing taxpayers money, they should be thrown out of office," Baillie said.

"One of the problems I've always had with the Senate is that Senators are not accountable to anyone once they're appointed and they should be – particularly to the taxpayer."

Duffy released a statement Wednesday saying his actions "do not merit criticism" in the Senate spending scandal.

Duffy owed $90,000 in housing living expenses after it was questioned if P.E.I. was his primary residence. Last week, it was revealed that the prime minister’s chief of staff paid the bill.

Duffy has since resigned from the Conservative caucus, as did Senator Pamela Wallin who is also facing questions about her expense claims.

But Baillie said that’s not enough.

"As a Nova Scotian that has seen this before, it's time that they faced the consequences of their actions," he said, referring to the province’s own spending scandal.

Baillie said Nova Scotia has learned by sorry example. He’s calling on the prime minister to create similar laws to the province, which would kick people out of their jobs if they’re caught abusing the public purse money.

"I think people find it ironic that the chief of staff has lost his job, yet Senator Duffy still has his."

Baillie is calling for an independent investigation in the expense scandal.

‘Difficult time’ for the Senate

Meanwhile, Nova Scotia Senator James Cowan says it's time to get the RCMP involved in the Duffy expense scandal.

Cowan is the Liberal leader in upper chamber.

Tuesday night, senators voted to send the matter back to the same committee that initially reviewed Duffy's expenses.

Cowan said that's not good enough.

"There is a concern that if this is seen to be Senators reviewing Senators again, and that the committee which whitewashed Senator Duffy the first time is now going to have a second look at it," he said.

"What assurances do we – and more importantly Canadians – have that this is really going to get to the bottom of it?"

Cowan says this is a difficult time for the senate. He also says it's grown beyond a Senate scandal, now involving the prime minister's office.