Chairman of Senate expenses watchdog committee quits

David Tkachuk announced Tuesday that he’s stepping down as chairman of the committee that’s been investigating dubious expense claims by Canada’s senators.

OTTAWA — David Tkachuk announced Tuesday that he’s stepping down as chairman of the committee that’s been investigating dubious expense claims by Canada’s senators.

The Saskatchewan Conservative senator said he’ll resign as chair of the internal economy committee, effective late Thursday, because he is about to undergo treatment next week for bladder cancer.

“I had no choice, really,” Tkachuk said in an interview.

“For me, I have to get every opportunity for no stress, no nothing. I just want to deal with this only.”

As internal economy chairman, Tkachuk has faced enormous stress since late last fall, when reports first surfaced that some senators had been improperly claiming housing allowances.

He has been in the spotlight ever since, as the Senate expenses scandal has mushroomed.

“This has been an unbelievable stressful time,” he said.

It was Tkachuk’s committee that ordered external audits of housing and living allowance claims by three senators — Mike Duffy, Patrick Brazeau and Mac Harb — and the travel expenses of a fourth, Pamela Wallin.