Over $400 a day to Travel

Wrote this a couple weeks ago, and forgot to publish it. Here it is, in some hindsight.

The math outlines the extreme expense incurred by Conservative Senator Pamela Wallin to travel.

Wallin’s travel expenses, which total more than $350,000 over the past 27 months, are currently the subject of an audit.

350K/27mon/30days/mon= $432.09/day roughly
She must be absolutely exhausted, because it would take me flying between Ottawa and Regina, and staying in a hotel nearly every other day to make that kind of expense work. The senator from Wadena really must be a workaholic.

This amount doesn’t consider her housing allowance, which is how she got into hot water in the first place, as other senators drew criticism for their questionable housing and residency claims.

Since first writing, these two news items have come to light.

ADDED Aug 14, 2013: Here’s a list of examples for how she made bogus travel claims.


6 responses to “Over $400 a day to Travel

  1. http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Senior+Tory+senator+earned+over+corporate+fees+2012/8426814/story.html

    Senior Tory senator earned over $290,000 in corporate fees in 2012
    By GLEN MCGREGOR, Ottawa Citizen May 23, 2013 5:41 PM

    Tory Senator Irving Gerstein is the chair of the Senate banking committee and he also sits on the finance committee.

    OTTAWA — A wealthy Conservative party fundraiser named to the Senate by Stephen Harper collected more than $290,000 in directors fees on top of his Senate salary while attending dozens of corporate board meetings in 2012.

    Corporate filings show that Irving Gerstein, the former official agent of the Conservative Party, was listed as in attendance for at least 48 board meetings last year.

    Gerstein, 72, chairs the board of Atlantic Power Corp., a Boston-based energy company. He is also a director on the boards of Medical Facilities Corp., owner of surgical centres in the U.S., and Student Transportation Inc., which operates school buses in Canada and the U.S.

    His annual director’s fees and other compensation from the publicly-traded companies totaled $290,250 USD.

    As a senator, he earns $135,200 annually plus an additional $11,200 as chair of the Senate banking committee.

    Senate rules allow senators to moonlight with private businesses and sit on boards of directors, provided they declare the involvement to the ethics officer, as Gerstein did.

    Few, however, have such a busy schedule of corporate obligations on top of their Senate work.

    Senate attendance records show that Gerstein, who was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2011, missed 14 sitting days in 2012 due to illness. He also missed three other days for unspecified reasons. Gerstein rarely spoke in the Senate chamber this year, with Hansard recording five brief statements on the tabling of reports and other procedural matters related to the Senate banking committee he chairs.

    Over the same period, Gerstein attended 13 board meetings of Medical Facilities Corp., and chaired 26 meetings of the Atlantic Power board. He was also was listed in attendance at nine additional meetings of the company’s audit, compensation and corporate governance committees. In the year ending June 2012, he attend four meetings of the Student Transportation Inc. board.

    Gerstein did not respond to calls and email requesting comment.

    The corporate records do not list the exact dates of the meetings so it is not possible to compare these to Gerstein’s Senate attendance record. Also, they do not indicate whether Gerstein attended the board meetings in person or by teleconference.

    Attendance records show that Gerstein was absent from the Senate chamber on November 8, 2012, the day Student Transportation Inc. held a meeting of shareholders in Toronto to vote on the board of directors, Gerstein among them.

    Gerstein, the former president of the Peoples Jewelers retail chain, was a key figure behind the Conservative Party’s fundraising efforts that paved the way for electoral victories in 2006 and 2008.

    He was appointed to the Senate by Harper in 2009. In addition to chairing the Senate banking committee Gerstein sits on the finance committee.

    Along with late Conservative Senator Doug Finley and two other party officials, Gerstein was charged by Elections Canada for elections law violations over the in-and-out financing of advertising purchases in the 2006 campaign. The charges against them were dropped in November 2011 when the party agreed to plead guilty and pay the maximum fines.

    The corporate filings show Gerstein holds common shares in the three companies that are today worth about $1.1 million, likely a small part of his personal fortune amassed in the jewelry business.

    Over the twelve months ended in March, Gerstein claimed from the Senate $10,685 in living expenses for his time in Ottawa and another $25,653 in travel costs.

    In addition to his corporate work and Conservative Party and Senate duties, Gerstein also chairs the board of the management committee of the Toronto Club, a private social club.

  2. http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/05/31/senate_spending_scandal_in_midst_of_mike_duffy_storm_conservatives_brace_for_hurricane_wallin_tim_harper.html

    Senate spending scandal: In midst of Mike Duffy storm, Conservatives brace for Hurricane Wallin: Tim Harper

    Those who once lauded the duo have pivoted in a bid to salvage their own reputations and putting as much distance between them and the toxic pair as possible.

    Harper, once a staunch defender of Wallin and her travel expenses, struck a much different tone this week about the woman he appointed in 2008 and who now sits as an independent, bereft of allies.

    “She obviously will not be readmitted (to Conservative caucus) unless those matters are resolved,” he said. “If she has in any way acted improperly, she will be subject to the appropriate authorities and the consequences for those actions.”

    Brad Wall, the premier of Wallin’s home province of Saskatchewan, once defended the senator’s time spent in the province. Now he calls for the abolition of the Senate.

    Colleagues in the Senate, of either political stripe, are eager to tell tales of Wallin’s imperious style as a committee chair, her refusal to hear witnesses, her decision to quash biparty motions for hearings, her ruthlessness with the gavel.

    They will tell you about her treatment of her staff, her overweening ambition, they will whisper that there is a pattern of wanton spending in her previous posts.

    Senate expense reports show that from Sept. 1, 2010, to the end of February this year, Wallin claimed $30,238 for “regular” travel from Ottawa to her Saskatchewan home, but $321,842 for “other” travel, leading to charges she has been billing the Senate for corporate travel.

    But they won’t explain how Wallin has been allowed to pay back more than $40,000 in expenses in two separate payments while she is the subject of an audit.

  3. Pingback: “I have looked at the numbers.” – PM about Wallin’s Expenses | Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff

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