Senator Noël A. Kinsella (resigned)

Appendix B—Files recommended for review by the Standing Senate Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration Senator Noël A. Kinsella (resigned)

Province: New Brunswick

Appointment date: 12 September 1990

Resignation date: 27 November 2014

Senator Kinsella was Speaker of the Senate from 8 February 2006 to 26 November 2014. We found that the expense claims showed little distinction between the expenses incurred as Senator and those incurred as Speaker of the Senate. All hospitality charges had been made to the Speaker’s budget. We have separated the remaining expenses on the basis of available information and the budgets to which these expenses had been charged.

Results as Senator

For the period from 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2013

Total amount of items referred to the Internal Economy Committee
(including applicable taxes)
Amount repaid after 5 June 2013 and before 7 May 2015 $262


We found two instances of travel expenses claimed by the Senator that were not for parliamentary business.

1. The Senator and his spouse took a three-day return trip from Ottawa to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, where they attended the funeral of his sister’s husband. According to the Senator, the deceased had been a leader in the Italian-Canadian community and had been important to New Brunswick, as he had played for the University of New Brunswick football team. He also stated that the deceased had attended several Speeches from the Throne. The Senator said that he attended the funeral in his role as a Senator and as the Speaker of the Senate, and that the decision to attend and speak at the funeral was not influenced by his personal relationship with the deceased. He also said that he would not have attended the funeral if he were not Speaker of the Senate. However, we determined that the trip was for personal activities. The cost of the trip for the Senator and his spouse was $5,663.

2. The Senator claimed for airfare from Toronto to Ottawa, on his return from personal travel to Orlando, Florida. Though the Senator travelled regularly to Florida during the audit period, this was the only occurrence charged to the Senate. We have determined that this expense was incurred for personal activities, in the amount of $636.


We found instances of costs for services incurred by the Senator that were not for parliamentary business.

3. The Senator incurred $1,406 in relation to expenditures for telecommunications charges incurred during periods of personal travel and for per diems claimed by the Senator and his spouse while not on travel status. The Senator repaid $262 for personal telecommunications expenses.

Results as Speaker of the Senate (Former Speaker Kinsella)

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 one instance of travel expenses claimed by the Speaker that were not for parliamentary business.

4. An international parliamentary exchange trip was planned for the Speaker, his spouse, and one member of the Speaker’s staff. The joint Senate–House of Commons International and Interparliamentary Affairs Directorate (IIA) informed us that one leg of the trip was scheduled as a working visit, rather than a more formal official visit. This was because both the main constitutional bodies in that country were on a two-week break at the time, and unable to accommodate an official visit on the dates suggested by the Speaker’s office. An official visit was rescheduled to that country later in the year. The IIA said that, before booking tickets for this leg of the trip, it had made attempts to confirm meetings for the Speaker. At the time of booking the airline tickets, no meetings with officials in the host country had been confirmed. By the date of departure, one meeting had been confirmed for the Speaker, but there were hopes that other tentatively scheduled meetings would be confirmed. Consequently, the Speaker, his spouse, and the staff member spent two nights in the destination city, with a one-hour meeting constituting the parliamentary business during the visit. We determined that the stay in that destination was essentially personal, given that only a small amount of parliamentary business was conducted. In deciding that the leg of the trip should be maintained, it was determined that there would be little or no cost savings in changing the airline tickets. However, we estimated that the incremental cost of the trip to the destination city, including flight, accommodations, and per diems, was $1,681. In estimating this amount, we deducted the cost of change fees.

The former Speaker’s comments

I wish to acknowledge the important audit work completed by the Auditor General’s team at the request of the Senate of Canada. With reference to some errors identified in the examination of the Speaker’s Office:

a) The matter of the attendance at a funeral for a prominent Canadian in Sault Ste. Marie, the Rules of the Senate concerning a Senator attending a funeral were followed and approved by Senate Administration;

b) Airfare from Toronto to Ottawa was deemed to be travel for Senate Business by Senate Administration;

c) All telecommunication expenses were in accordance with the telecommunication policy of the Senate of Canada; and

d) As is the usual practice by IIA the airline tickets were purchased in advance of a final program to ensure best available prices. The professional advice provided to the Speaker’s office was to continue with the destination city portion of the trip so not to incur substantial penalties.

Appendix B—Files recommended for review by the Standing Senate Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the Senate of Canada—Senators’ Expenses