NWT Senator Sibbeston owes thousands for faulty claims

Auditor General Michael Ferguson
Auditor General Michael Ferguson.
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Two northern senators are among 30 being audited for ineligible expenses, according to Auditor General Michael Ferguson.

The report, which was made public today, was conducted over a two-year period.

NWT Senator Nick Sibbeston
NWT Senator Nick Sibbeston

It determined that current NWT senator and former premier Nick Sibbeston owes $50,102 in improper expenses, the second highest amount among sitting senators.

Meanwhile, Nunavut senator and former Government Leader of the Northwest Territories Dennis Patterson was found to have $22,985 in ineligible expenses, though $6,200 of that has already been repaid.

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Altogether, 30 senators were flagged for questionable spending claims totaling over $975,000.

According to the report, most of Sibbeston’s expenses were related to travel and accommodation costs in western and Northern Canada.

The report also states that Sibbeston’s wife traveled for “personal activities” at a cost $13,133.

Sibbeston defended his expenses saying he’s the only senator in the territory and therefore needs to travel more.

Nunavut Senator Dennis Patterson
Nunavut Senator Dennis Patterson

He’s also quoted as saying that he only traveled for business reasons and that the auditor general’s concerns mainly come down to book-keeping.

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Meanwhile, most of the $23,000 spent by Patterson that violated Senate spending rules was for legal services.

Sibbeston, who’s also run into trouble for poor attendance records in parliamentary sessions, was appointed to the Senate in 1999.

He was named to the Senate as a Liberal by former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.

Last January, all Liberal senators were removed from the Liberal caucus by current party leader Justin Trudeau, meaning Sibbeston now sits as an Independent.

Patterson, who represents Nunavut as a Conservative, was named to the Senate by Prime Minister Stephen Harper back in 2009.

Neither Sibbeston nor Patterson are among nine Senators facing a possible investigation by the RCMP.

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