Senator Rose-Marie Losier-Cool (retired)
Appendix A—Files recommended for referral to other authorities Senator Rose-Marie Losier-Cool (retired)
Province: New Brunswick
Appointment date: 21 March 1995
Retirement date: 18 June 2012
For the period from 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2013
|Total amount of items referred to the Internal Economy Committee
(including applicable taxes)
We found several instances where expenses claimed by the Senator were ineligible for reimbursement because of an incorrect declaration of her primary residence.
1. According to the Senator’s annual declarations of primary and secondary residences, her primary residence was located in Moncton, New Brunswick, and her secondary residence in Gatineau, Quebec. We expected the Senator’s travel patterns to reflect that situation.
2. During the 448 days of the audit period up to the date of her retirement, the Senator spent 16 days in Moncton. To determine whether that was a regular travel pattern, we examined her travel claims for the 2010–11 fiscal year. We found that the Senator spent 8 days in Moncton during 2010–11. On the basis of the information that was available to us, we determined that the Senator’s primary residence during this period was in Gatineau. The Senator therefore claimed living expenses that would have been ineligible for reimbursement if she had declared her primary residence to be in Gatineau. Her living expenses, which included 442 days of accommodation expenses and 96 days of per diems, totalled $21,359. Further, the Senator and her spouse made trips between Ottawa and Moncton that were not for parliamentary business. Total expenses incurred in this travel, including airfare, per diems, and taxis, amounted to $42,467.
We found several instances of travel expenses claimed by the Senator where there was insufficient information to determine whether they were incurred for parliamentary business.
3. The Senator filed expense claims for several trips during the audit period, but she did not keep her records after she retired in June 2012. The Senate Administrative Rules state that every person who uses Senate resources is responsible to account for that use. We did not obtain any detailed documentation about the purpose of the travel, nor about activities scheduled during the trips. In the absence of relevant supporting documents, we were unable to determine whether the expenses were incurred for parliamentary business. The travel expenses totalled $46,225.
The former Senator’s comments
I hereby provide to you my official response to the OAG’s final conclusions.
On 28 March 2015, I sent the following supporting documents to a member of the audit team:
1) confirmation of my New Brunswick Medicare medical insurance; and
2) my property and municipal taxes assessment notice for Moncton, New Brunswick.
On 8 April 2015, I sent you the following documents:
1) personal identification according to my 2011 income tax return; and
2) a copy of my New Brunswick driver’s licence.
On 11 April 2015, I engaged lawyers to help me complete the necessary research and present arguments related to my residency in New Brunswick. I subsequently tried to obtain more details on the exact information that the OAG sought to obtain by requesting a copy of the Senate guidelines, policies and rules that were in effect before 18 June 2012. I also took all steps necessary to recover from the Senate archives the documents that might contain the additional information requested by the OAG.
On 4 May 2015, my lawyers sent you a letter adding to the explanations previously provided and clearly expressing the responses that I was able to supply to you at this time. In these responses, I shared with you my concerns with regard to the preliminary conclusions of the OAG. It now appears that the OAG rejected each of the explanations, additional supporting documents, and arguments presented in that letter.
Throughout my career in the Senate, I advocated strongly for various causes, including the status of women in Canada and elsewhere in the world, the advancement of francophone minorities outside Quebec and many other causes. The OAG deliberately refuses to consider the particular features of both my work as an Acadian Senator and the expense claims that I submitted, maintaining that the claims were not for activities related to my role as a Senator.
I carefully followed the Senate rules that were in effect on those dates. I remind you that I retired from the Senate in June 2012, and therefore any subsequent amendments to the Senate rules cannot apply retroactively to my years of service.
I can only hope that the OAG will take note of the additional information and arguments supplied in the letter of 4 May 2015 to review its conclusions.