As the very existence of the Senate is called into question over less than $1 million in allegedly improper spending by 30 senators, more than double that number of MPs have been accused over the past five years of mis-spending more than quadruple that amount.
Yet unlike the Senate, there have been no external audits, no suspensions, no referrals to the police, no criminal investigations, no charges laid, and no auditor general poring over the minutiae of how MPs spend taxpayers' dollars.
Transgressions by MPs have been handled solely by the secretive, multi-party board of internal economy, which polices House of Commons spending and typically demands only that the improperly spent funds be reimbursed.
A double standard?
No question, says Garry Clement, a retired police chief and former RCMP superintendent in charge of financial crime investigations.
"When you look at those cases (involving MPs) and actually what happened, it's breach of trust," Clement said in an interview.
"I would suggest that every one of those could be supported under a criminal charge."
Since 2010, the board has demanded reimbursement from:
- Liberal MP Judy Sgro, $60,000 in improperly claimed living expenses for renting an Ottawa condo she had sold to her children.
- Liberal MP Wayne Easter, $8,050 in living expenses claimed for a property he no longer owned.
- Former Liberal MP John Cannis, $106,842 for living expenses claimed for an apartment rented from his wife.
- 68 current and former NDP MPs, $2.7 million for allegedly improperly using their Commons budgets to pay the salaries of staffers in satellite party offices.
- 23 NDP MPs, $1.17 million for allegedly improperly using free parliamentary mailing privileges to send almost 2 million partisan missives....