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Former Liberal senator ordered to repay $230,000 in expenses

Senator Mac Harb leaves the Parliament Buildings after attending a meeting of the Senate Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration committee on Parliament Hill Thurday May 9, 2013 in Ottawa.

Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Senator Mac Harb has been ordered to repay more than $230,000 in expenses he claimed to the Senate during the past eight years, according to the Senator in charge of a series of expense audits.

Conservative Senator David Tkachuk, who chairs the Senate committee that ordered Mr. Harb's audit, confirmed the amount on Wednesday.

Mr. Harb is one of three senators whose housing expense claims were sent to an external auditor for review. All three claimed an allowance to cover the cost of maintaining a secondary residence in Ottawa, even though auditors found that they spent a majority of their time in the National Capital Region.

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The Senate internal economy committee, which requested the audits, ordered each to repay tens of thousands of dollars in claims covering a two-year period. Mr. Harb was initially told he would have to repay about $51,000, but the Senate warned at the time that his final bill could rise substantially once it had reviewed his expenses for the past seven years.

The total, which comes to $231,649.07, includes housing expenses, mileage and interest over an eight-year period.

Mr. Harb resigned from the Liberal caucus last month and continues to sit as an independent senator. He has said that he plans fight the committee's order to repay the money in court.

Mr. Tkachuk announced Tuesday that he would step down as chair of the Senate's internal economy committee at the end of the week to focus on a preventative treatment he will be receiving for cancer. He will continue to serve on the committee but is expected to be replaced as chair by Conservative Senator Gerald Comeau.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Kim Mackrael has been a reporter for The Globe and Mail since 2011. She joined the Ottawa bureau Sept. 2012. More

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