The Senate spending scandal has dominated national headlines for months, but there could be more revelations to come according to one Conservative senator.
"I wouldn't be surprised if we find some additional examples where people have not been as careful with taxpayer money as they should have been," Senator Scott Tannas said during a recent visit to Prince George to talk about his vision of Senate reform.
The Senate will take centre stage on Wednesday afternoon when politicians and dignitaries cram into the Red Chamber to listen to Gov. Gen. David Johnston read the next speech from the throne to open the fall session of Parliament.
Senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, Patrick Brazeau and former senator Mac Harb have all been under investigation this year for violation of expense claims ranging from housing to travel to contracts they awarded. The Senate conducted its own probe into the expenses and the RCMP have been called in to take a closer look at any criminal violations in some cases.
Tannas said with the auditor general also taking a look at Senate expense practices, more violations could come to light in the coming weeks and months.
"That has to stop and that has to stop quickly," he said of improper expense claims. "That doesn't take senate reform or the opening of the Constitution to do it, it just needs to be done."
Tannas, who was appointed in the spring at the height of the scandal, said he believes things are headed in the right direction. More stringent rules are in place for what qualifies as a legitimate expense and some senators have begun to post their expense claims publicly.
"There is underway, without question, a movement within the Senate to bring the structure of spending and accountability into the 21st century - we're going to skip over the 20th century and into the 21st century," Tannas said. "It's in need of overhaul and the people who are in control of the leadership on the committees know this needs to be fixed."
Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau were all sitting as Conservatives when they got mired in the spending scandals, but are all now independents. Harb was a Liberal, but has since retired from the Senate.
Although part of the scandal had partisan undertones, with some senators claiming expenses related to party business, Tannas doesn't think the Senate should eliminate political parties as part of its efforts to clean up how it does its business.
"I don't think you can be apolitical and be in Parliament," he said. "I think you have to have an alliance of people who think like you and who together you can develop ideas and work together, but I think there is more that needs to be done to define what Senate business is and what Senate business isn't."