No special treatment on Wallin health card, Saskatchewan says
Saskatchewan Health Minister Dustin Duncan says there was no fast-tracking of Senator Pamela Wallin's health card.
Officials with Wallin's office told CBC News Wednesday that she has a Saskatchewan health card, ending months of queries from the media about the subject.
Wallin's office refused to say when Wallin received the card, or whether it was a new card or a renewal.
The confirmation from Wallin staffers followed a report in the Globe and Mail indicating that Wallin wrote to the Senate in May saying she was denied a health card both in Ontario and Saskatchewan.
Duncan responds to questions about Wallin
Asked about Wallin Thursday, Duncan said she was given no special treatment.
"It has not been raised with me by the ministry that there has been any work done by the ministry to treat Senator Wallin any different than we would any other person in this province," he said.
Duncan said the health card application process has also changed and people now receive their card in a little more than a week, rather than weeks or months.
Wallin, a former broadcaster and diplomat who grew up in Wadena and was appointed to represent Saskatchewan in 2009, is one of four senators whose expenses have come under official scrutiny in recent months.
The others are Mac Harb, Patrick Brazeau and Mike Duffy.
Questions raised about Duffy's health card, too
Like Wallin, Duffy has been under the media spotlight amid questions about whether he lives in Ontario or the province he is supposed to represent in the Senate — in his case, Prince Edward Island.
In February, he was under fire over his living expenses after it was revealed he had applied for a new health card from the P.E.I. government.
The Duffy application came a few weeks after a Senate committee said it would order an audit to assess "whether all senators' declarations of primary and secondary residence are supported by sufficient documentation."
Meanwhile, results of an audit on Wallin's travel expenses are expected later this summer.
She confirmed to CBC News earlier this month that she has repaid some $38,000 in expense money.