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Trudeau proposes to shine light on expenses of MPs, senators

Justin Trudeau is proposing a four-point plan to lift the veil of secrecy shrouding the expenses of Canada’s MPs and senators.

The Liberal leader says his plan would make parliamentarians’ expenses more transparent than ever before — and make them more accountable for how they spend taxpayer dollars.

Trudeau says the measures are necessary to restore the faith of Canadians in public office holders, which has been badly shaken by the Senate expenses scandal.

His plan would require all MPs and senators to post quarterly details of their travel and hospitality expenses on public websites, as cabinet ministers already do.

Liberals will begin posting their expenses in the fall; Trudeau hopes other parties will follow suit.

Trudeau’s initiative comes as the Senate prepares to debate a motion to call in auditor general Michael Ferguson to scrutinize all expenses in the unelected upper chamber.

His other proposals would require the support of other parties to implement:

  • Opening up meetings of the secretive board of internal economy, which oversees House of Commons spending;
  • Requiring detailed, easily accessible, quarterly expense reports by all MPs and senators on how they spend their office budgets;
  • Requiring performance audits of both houses of Parliament every three years by the auditor general and developing guidelines for when more in-depth, value-for-money audits should be conducted.

The Senate motion, from government Senate leader Marjory LeBreton, is expected to be approved later today.