Gordon Campbell may have blown a seat in the Senate by running up big hospitality bills in London
It's a rare day when Senate scandals aren't part of the news run.
Today, there are two more stories to add to the archives.
Former Conservative senator Pamela Wallin has been named as a defendant in a class-action lawsuit.
It relates to her role as a former director of Oilsands Quest, which allegedly overstated its assets by $136 million.
The company has gone into receivership.
The other Senate story concerns former Liberal Mac Harb, who announced his resignation from the house of sober second thought.
He claimed that he was treated "very unfairly" over his expense-account claims.
Harb has repaid more than $200,000 in housing allowances he claimed for a primary residence where he was rarely seen by the neighbours.
So far, B.C.'s five senators—Larry Campbell, Nancy Greene Raine, Mobina Jaffer, Yonah Martin, and Richard Neufeld—haven't been caught up in any of the recent expense-account shenanigans.
But they're not completely in the clear. That's because Auditor General Michael Ferguson has launched an audit of all senators' expenses.
Harper can fill one B.C. seat
There's a vacancy for a sixth senator from B.C.
Under normal circumstances, former premier Gordon Campbell would be a strong contender, given his rapport with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
However, Campbell's surprisingly costly hospitality bills at the Canadian High Commission in London may have ruled him out for one of the tastiest patronage plums in the country.
Last year, CBC reported that in the first five months of 2012, Campbell billed taxpayers $67,026 on dinners, lunches, and cocktail receptions.
That was far above any other Canadian diplomatic mission.
After news got out, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed there were clerical errors, reducing Campbell's hospitality bill to $33,975. It was a nifty way to defuse the scandal, but no doubt prompted guffaws in some newsrooms.
Keep in mind that Campbell also stuck taxpayers for $600 for three tuxedo rentals. You would think that he could afford formal wear on his income.
This autumn, the last thing Harper will want to deal with are more questions in Parliament about senators' expenses.
If Campbell were to get a Senate seat, the NDP opposition would make hay of the London hospitality costs.
So B.C.'s last remaining Senate seat stays vacant—for now.
Please don't shed any tears for Gordo. He's doing just fine with an official residence in London, even if it means he can't bill taxpayers for quite so many parties.