The chief and deputy chief of the Canadian Senators Group (CSG) refuse to say whether or not they’ve travelled overseas at a time when the federal government is strongly recommending towards leaving the nation as a result of dangers of COVID-19 transmission.
CBC Information contacted each sitting member of the higher home to inquire about their overseas journey after numerous politicians got here in for criticism for ignoring advisories to keep away from all non-essential journey.
Interim CSG chief Sen. Scott Tannas of Alberta and Quebec Sen. Josée Verner, the group’s deputy chief, had been the one two senators within the 93-member physique who didn’t reply to a number of requests for remark about their whereabouts. Cellphone calls to their Senate places of work went unanswered and employees didn’t reply to emails.
Hawaii land data reviewed by CBC Information point out Tannas owns a timeshare property within the state.
Tannas, who was appointed by former prime minister Stephen Harper in 2013, serves because the deputy chair of the Senate’s ethics and battle of curiosity committee. He additionally serves because the deputy chair of the highly effective inside economic system, budgets and administration (CIBA) committee. A spokesperson for CIBA didn’t reply to a request for remark.
Along with his function as a senator, Tannas runs an Alberta-based non-public fairness agency, the Western Funding Firm of Canada.
The CSG’s whip, P.E.I. Sen. Percy Downe, refused to say whether or not the opposite members of the CSG management staff — a small-c conservative group largely composed of former Conservative senators — had left the nation.
Historically, a whip acts as an enforcer-in-chief, charged with conserving monitor of caucus members to make sure there are sufficient senators readily available for debates and votes.
Downe stated he doesn’t play that function on this 12-member group — which additionally contains Saskatchewan Sen. Pamela Wallin and B.C. Sen. Larry Campbell, amongst others.
“As you in all probability know, the CSG members within the Senate are utterly impartial, and our group doesn’t whip votes or our members. Due to this fact, they don’t seem to be required to advise how they intend to vote on any laws, and in that spirit of independence, don’t advise or search permission to journey,” Downe stated in an e mail assertion.
One CSG senator is in Florida
Two different members of the CSG advised CBC Information that they travelled overseas over the Christmas break.
A spokesperson for Quebec Sen. Jean-Man Dagenais stated Monday the senator is presently in Florida and can return to Canada someday this week as soon as repairs to a seasonal property are completed.
Senator requested me to reassure you by saying that he didn’t discover himself on any dance flooring with a piña colada in his hand– Spokesperson for Sen. Jean-Man Dagenais
Dagenais “needed to journey to coordinate works that wanted to be completed on his property on the request of the neighbourhood and to be in good standing with its property insurance coverage,” the spokesperson stated.
“Senator requested me to reassure you by saying that he didn’t discover himself on any dance flooring with a piña colada in his hand.”
One other CSG senator, Ontario Sen. Vern White, can be presently abroad.
“Sure, I’ve travelled to Finland with my household to go to my partner’s mother and father,” White stated in an e mail.
Manitoba NDP MP Daniel Blaikie, the occasion’s democratic reform critic, stated it is “shameful” for senators to dodge questions on their journey historical past.
He stated it is significantly galling that the one two parliamentarians to keep away from questions on journey come from the identical caucus.
“It is a caucus that has no intention of being accountable. I believe it is actually disappointing. This lack of transparency is a reoccurring downside with the Senate. Canadians deserve higher than that, senators must be simply as accountable for his or her actions as any elected public workplace holder,” Blaikie advised CBC Information. “And but, there is no method for the Canadian public to make them accountable.
“I believe rule of thumb for any politician is, should you’re not keen to speak about what you are doing in entrance of a microphone, there’s an excellent likelihood you are not doing the best factor.”
Blaikie stated it has been well-known for months that the federal authorities has warned towards all worldwide journey and the Canadian public is rightfully involved about politicians who’re ducking the foundations.
“If a senator decides to do this, then they need to even be keen to speak about their selection,” he stated. “It is shameful that these senators are selecting to have interaction in the sort of behaviour and refuse to speak publicly about it. It drives me nuts.”
Manitoba Sen. Don Plett, the Conservative chief within the Senate, additionally spent a part of the Christmas holidays in Mexico.
Final week, a Conservative spokesperson stated the senator was “following the 14 days quarantine tips after having travelled briefly to Mexico on private journey.”