NDP says Wallin's Senate travel bill suggests 2011 campaign work on public dime

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Senator Pamela Wallin charged taxpayers nearly $26,000 in travel expenses during the last federal election period while appearing at a series of Conservative campaign events.

NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus is demanding to know whether Wallin — the latest senator to become embroiled in expense questions in the appointed upper chamber — used her Senate travel budget for partisan party business.

He cited Wallin's 2011 election stops in Collingwood, Ont., and Moose Jaw, Sask., as evidence the former broadcaster was not travelling on Senate business.

Wallin's travel expenses total more than $350,000 in the past 27 months and are currently the subject of an audit.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says all MPs and senators are happy to have their expenses examined, and says Wallin's annual travel bill is less than that of many NDP MPs from western Canada.

Three others senators — Liberal Mac Harb, Conservative Mike Duffy and former Conservative Patrick Brazeau — are all being audited following questions about their housing expense claims.