Senator Joseph A. Day
Appendix B—Files recommended for review by the Standing Senate Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration Senator Joseph A. Day
Province: New Brunswick
Appointment date: 4 October 2001
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 of travel expenses claimed by the Senator that were not for parliamentary business.
1. The Senator submitted four travel claims that included activities for a youth organization for which the Senator is a member of the board of directors and honorary legal counsel. For those claims, the Senator stated that many members of both houses of Parliament attend the youth organization’s award ceremonies. He also stated that the support by parliamentarians is essential to recognizing Canadian youth who excel in their communities and serve as role models for their peers. We found that those trips were primarily in the corporate interest of the youth organization. The total amount of the four travel claims was $12,812.
2. The Senator claimed travel expenses for a trip, from 27 to 29 April 2011, which included a political party election event in Toronto and a meeting at the head office of the same youth organization. The claim included travel to Toronto, accommodations, and per diems. The Senator stated that the Senate travel policy allowed participation in party activities that were related to the work of a Senator or the Senate and its proceedings. However, we found that the expenses were ineligible because the Senator engaged in personal activities and because activities related to an election are not eligible for reimbursement under the Senate’s rules, policies, and guidelines. The total amount of this trip was $2,849.
3. We also found that, for three travel claims, the information about the Senator’s itinerary did not reflect all the locations he visited, some of which were for personal activities.
- For 26 and 27 December 2011, the Senator submitted a travel claim, with the purpose stated as “Overnight in Montreal (St-Jérôme) & then on to Ottawa.” On the basis of the information available, including the Senator’s calendar and telecommunications records, we found that he was on vacation until 3 January, and could have spent only about an hour in Ottawa on 27 December. We determined that this trip was taken primarily for personal activities. The incremental cost, for mileage, per diems, and accommodations, was $854.
- The Senator submitted a travel claim for the period from 18 to 23 September 2012, with the purpose stated as “Attended to Senate business in Ottawa.” The Senate was not sitting during this period. On the basis of the information available, we found that the Senator was in Plattsburgh, New York on 19 and 20 September. He was in Ottawa for two days. We determined that certain costs for this trip were primarily for personal activities. The incremental cost, for mileage, per diems, and accommodations, was $119.
- The Senator submitted a travel claim for the period from 4 to 8 January 2013, stating that he worked on Senate business in his Ottawa office on 5 and 6 January. The travel claim also stated that the Senator “drove personal vehicle from NB to Ottawa on 4 & 5 January [...].” However, on the basis of the information available, we found that the Senator was in the City of Québec area for personal activities from 27 December 2012 to 3 January 2013, and arrived in Ottawa after this trip. We determined that certain costs for this trip were primarily for personal activities. The incremental cost, including mileage, accommodations, parking, and per diems, was $1,366.
4. The Senator claimed $508 for airfare, taxis, and per diems from Toronto to Ottawa on 29 January 2012 on his return from personal travel to Mexico. As this cost was incurred for a personal trip, we have determined that the trip was not conducted for parliamentary business.
5. According to the Senate’s policies and guidelines, all hospitality events held in private residences of Senators are ineligible expenses unless approval is received prior to the event. We found that there were expenses related to hospitality events held at one of the Senator’s private residences that were not preapproved. These expenses totalled $1,126.
The Senator’s comments
Each of the matters you find as not parliamentary business was approved by Senate Finance. Please see my response to your findings:
The organization in question is the Canadian Branch of the Duke of Edinburgh International Award. It is a registered charity and I volunteer all my time and receive no remuneration. The Governor General is the Honorary Patron. I believe it important that parliamentarians lead by example to encourage participation by Canadian youth and see such activities as a crucial part of my parliamentary functions. I regularly speak to high schools in my province and participate in cadet activities across Canada.
I was invited as a parliamentarian to a charity celebratory dinner at the Royal Military College in Kingston where General Hillier was the keynote speaker. That was by any definition public business for any parliamentarian and was the purpose of my travel. To reach Kingston from NB requires flying through Toronto. While in Toronto I met with the Director of the Duke of Edinburgh Award (See 1. Above) and in my free time I dropped in to a public political event where I met with and spoke to my parliamentary leader. To disqualify the entire travel claim because I dropped in to this public political event in my free time is not reasonable.
(a) I needed to travel to Ottawa from NB to pick-up documents and be briefed for an Asia Pacific Parliamentary Conference that I was attending in Japan on January 6th. I spent full days in my office on January 3 & 4th. This was the purpose of my travel to Ottawa. Had I flown from NB the airfare would have been at least $1000. Instead I drove and claimed $625. I cannot agree that my travel to Ottawa for this parliamentary function was “personal”.
(b) The claim on September 18-23 was clearly an administrative error on my arrival dates only; I arrived on the 20th and worked in the office for 2 days to prepare for the upcoming National Finance meetings.
(c) I made no claim for the period from December 27 to January 3, 2013. Because of an administrative office error, mileage from Quebec to Ottawa should have been charged instead of NB to Ottawa. However, this differential plus one night accommodation does not amount to $1366. The purpose of the travel to Ottawa was to attend the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum Conference.
Since it was less expensive to fly to Ottawa from Toronto than from NB, Senate Finance preapproved this travel. I do not understand why the Auditor General would insist on the more costly option for taxpayers. I was required to be in Ottawa for NATO activities.
At no time did Senate Finance question the location of my reception, which I held annually over the last several years. If the policy had changed I should have been advised when my claim was being processed.