Senate proposing 5.4% budget increase

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A proposed budget increase would see Canada’s red chamber costing a record $122 million next year.

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That’s a 5.4% increase — above the rate of inflation, reports Blacklock’s Reporter — and needs the approval of the House of Commons before coming in effect.

Quebec Senator Paul Massicotte balked at the numbers at a Senate internal economy committee meeting, who said the Senate’s budget runs the risk of keeping “going and going.”

The total Senate budget is projected to reach $121,821,702 — a $28-million increase from just five years ago.

While StatsCan pegs the current rate of inflation at 4.7%, Senate CFO Pierre Lanctôt said managers make their own determinations of cost-of-living increases.

“The inflation that we’re talking about these days, the four or five per cent, is based on recent month over month changes, which is like year over year but for the specific month,” he said

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“When we prepared the document in the second quarter, inflation was not at the same level, so there is a bit of a delay between the inflation that we’re seeing in the recent weeks versus the inflation that we are incorporating into our forecasts.”

While the Senate isn’t obliged to provide line-by-line breakdowns of their budget, previous expenditures have triggered controversy.

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Earlier this year, the Senate spent $150,000 to purchase new desks for employees working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

An independent audit last year revealed Senate managers spent $95,000 in 2018 to hire contracted doormen  for the red chamber without legislative approval.

Senators revolted in 2018 when it was revealed managers were looking to hire a staff of interior decorators.


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