The RCMP has announced it will not lay charges against Sen. Pamela Wallin in connection with her expenses.
“The RCMP has completed its thorough investigation into Senator Pamela Wallin’s Senate expenses,” read a statement from Assistant Commissioner Gilles Michaud released Thursday afternoon.
“Following consultation with Crown Counsel, the RCMP has determined that no criminal charges will be laid against Senator Wallin and will be concluding its investigational file.”
Speaking to reporters on Parliament Hill, Wallin said she was relieved, but that she has yet to see any official paperwork. She promised to make a more complete statement at a later time.
“I’m very relieved after three long years … I’m glad this nightmare is over,” Wallin said.
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Conservative Sen. Leo Housakos said he’s happy for his fellow senator.
“The RCMP was always free to conduct their investigation,” Housakos said. “I think many senators felt that it took an extensive amount of time to get to the decision they’ve gotten to.”
Thursday’s announcement comes just weeks after Sen. Mike Duffy was cleared of 31 criminal charges related to his own expenses, alleged bribery and breach of trust.
Wallin, a former broadcast journalist, returned to full-time Senate work last year after being suspended in 2013 with no pay or privileges. Her suspension, which resulted from questions surrounding her travel expenses, was lifted when Parliament dissolved last August for the federal election.
There appeared to be little interest among those who moved to suspend her the first time to repeat the process and expel her again. On Thursday, Housakos said he stands by the disciplinary process that Wallin underwent in the Senate, and that the criminal investigation was always a totally separate matter.
Court documents released over the past two years revealed that the RCMP believed Wallin had broken the law and they were trying to gather proof of criminal wrongdoing. The Mounties had a file open on the Saskatchewan senator for nearly three years, after a critical audit of her spending ended with her repaying some $150,000, including interest, for claims the Senate said were unjustified.
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Wallin long maintained her innocence and argued she was being singled out for being an activist senator who rubbed some of her colleagues the wrong way. But she apologized in a 2013 interview with the CBC for failing to ensure her travel claims were appropriate.
Former prime minister Stephen Harper appointed Wallin to the Senate in 2009, but Wallin left the Conservative caucus at the height of the expense scandal in 2013.
With files from the Canadian Press.