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The Senate Report on Activities 2013

The Senate Report on Activities 2013

Foreword

Fiscal year 2012–13 held many challenges for the Senate. However, it has been a year in which this chamber, which is a critical component of our Westminster-style national parliament, engaged in deep reflection and active debate about its nature and its role in the governance of our nation.

The present report demonstrates that media attention did not divert senators from their continued active engagement in parliamentary business, notably in providing an excellent legislative and policy framework to allow Canadians to succeed and thrive. In response to expense-related issues, the Senate undertook internal investigations, proactively sought third-party forensic expertise from Deloitte Canada, and invited the Auditor General to conduct a comprehensive audit of Senate expenses including senator's expenses. The Senate began publishing quarterly reports on spending and major contracts in 2010, and its finances are audited annually by an external accounting firm, always with satisfactory results. Cost-cutting measures over the past three years, in keeping with those of the federal public service, have been effective as the Senate continues to actively implement budgetary reductions and other efficiencies.

In June 2012, the report of the Auditor General on the Senate’s administrative practices was published, following an invitation from the Senate to investigate. The report was generally very positive and every recommendation made by the Auditor General for improvement was accepted. Employees worked hard during the audit by providing timely, unrestricted access to information and people as required by the Auditor General’s team. Following the audit, the Senate has been working to make the recommendations a reality in its daily practices. The audit provided an excellent opportunity to learn about strengths and weaknesses in the continuing effort to make improvements.

This annual report on activities, which the Senate has published since 2001, is also about accountability. For fiscal year 2012–13, the report provides its usual highlights of senators’ activities in their legislative work, but now also includes useful information about the operation of the Senate’s administration, along with its objectives and achievements for the year. It is my hope that reports of this nature will be helpful additions to the information already available to Canadians about their Senate.

With every good wish,

Signature of Speaker Kinsella

Noël A. Kinsella, Senator
Speaker of the Senate