Are Canadian senators abusing the system by writing off more expenses than they are strictly entitled to, or are they simply taking advantage of a system that allows it?
Currently, several senators, most notable Senator Mike Duffy, are under fire for claiming expenses they weren’t exactly entitled to.
Duffy recently paid back $90,000 after it was revealed that he hadn’t actually lived in P.E.I. long enough to claim living expense for a second home in Ottawa.
But is what Duffy and many of his colleagues did so different from what the rest of us taxpayers do every year when we file our taxes?
Few of us can honestly say we have never, to some degree or another, misrepresented things while filing income tax in order to get a better refund.
We may not have been outright lying, but most of us would have to admit that we would put down a slightly inaccurate claim if we thought we could get away with it. Why should it be any different if Duffy, or any other senator for that matter, does the same?
Also, does it matter if senators are cheating on their expense claims?
Some might argue that it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Sure, it might make the general public look unfavourably on senators, but if it doesn’t interfere with them doing their job, is it something we should really be worried about?
Yes, and yes are the answers to these questions.
Yes, Duffy and those other senators like him are abusing the system by claiming expenses that they are not eligible for.
Everyone else might be doing it too, but as we were taught as children, “Just because everyone is doing it does not mean it’s right.” When we get caught cheating on our taxes, we have to pay the price and so did Duffy.
Yes, it does matter if senators are cheating on expense claims because it calls into question their honesty and trustworthiness.
While politicians are notorious for being untrustworthy, they really should be striving for the opposite. These people are who we entrust the running of our country, which is not a job to be taken lightly (and perhaps the reason why we come down so hard on politicians when they are found to be untruthful).
As such, we think Canadians from coast to coast are right in being outraged that those senators who are supposed to represent their interests are cheating, lying, or abusing the system in any way.