By Kevin Werner, News Staff
Even though Hamilton businessman David Braley is returning to Parliament Hill next month, he’s giving careful thought to resigning his position as an Ontario senator.
“My wife (Nancy Gordon) has asked me to consider it,” said Braley, in an interview when asked if he is thinking about leaving the Senate. “I don’t know (if he will resign). But I will be going back (to Parliament) on Oct. 16.”
After a summer where four senators were forced to repay expenses, Braley says they are giving the rest of the senators a black eye. The entire situation has prompted the philanthropist to think about his future in Ottawa.
“There are four people who are causing the problems for the other 100 senators,” he said. “We are being tarred and feathered (by the public). The Senate has a real place (in Canadian government). Some say it is the place of sober second thought. Bottom line is (the Senate is there) to make the legislation better. It is good for the country.”
But the actions of former Conservative senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, and Patrick Brazeau, and former Liberal Senator Mac Harb, have given Braley pause to re-think whether he should remain a senator.
The 72-year-old Hamilton businessman, who is president and owner of Orlick Industries Ltd., was appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in May 2010.
Earlier this month Wallin repaid the Canadian government $100,000 in expenses, while Harb repaid $231,000, and Mike Duffy repaid $90,000 through a personal cheque given to him by the prime minister’s former top aid Nigel Wright. The Canadian government is garnishing the wages of Brazeau to repay $48,000 in outstanding expenses.
But Braley says those senators should do more than simply give back the money they expensed.
“Quite frankly, my personal opinion is they should resign,” Braley told about 60 provincial and federal Conservatives who attended a fundraising event at the Lakeview on Van Wagners Beach Road Sept. 18. “You just don’t do those things.”
The blunt-speaking Braley said all senators have to follow the guidelines of what is contained in the manual that each senator is given.
“You read the manual, it tells you what you can and what you can’t do,” he said. “It’s really that simple.”
From December 10 to November 2012, Braley had $105,000 in expenses, including $71,000 for travel. He was the seventh highest ofOntario’s 24 senators for travel expenses between his home in Burlington to Ottawa. Since his appointment, Braley has submitted each year one of the lowest expense sheets to the government among all the senators.
He travels across the country giving speeches, and gets the organizers to pay for his hotel and travel expenses.
“I will pay for my own food,” he says.