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Updated: Fri, 25 Oct 2013 12:11:29 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Senate continues marathon debate on suspending Duffy, Wallin, Brazeau



Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau have all fired back at the bid by Conservative senators to have the three suspended without pay and benefits for inappropriately claiming Senate expenses. Canadian Press

Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau have all fired back at the bid by Conservative senators to have the three suspended without pay and benefits for inappropriately claiming Senate expenses. Canadian Press

Senators have returned to the upper chamber to continue their marathon debate over whether to suspend senators Patrick Brazeau, Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin without pay.

But a vote on the suspension motions won't come until next week.

The Conservative leadership in the Senate gave notice Friday that it will seek closure on the debate. A vote on that motion, which can be preceded by up to six hours of debate, won't come until Monday or Tuesday, likely pushing a vote on the suspensions to mid-week.

Another factor in the timetable is that by Thursday, most Conservative senators will be heading to Calgary for the Conservative national policy convention.

Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau have been embroiled in a months-long scandal over their housing and travel expense claims.

For Duffy, it has been nearly a year since the first media report questioned whether he was eligible to claim an allowance for his home in Ottawa.

Brazeau is under fire for also claiming a housing allowance, and Wallin is in trouble over her travel claims. All three have repaid thousands of dollars in inappropriately claimed expenses.

The RCMP is investigating the claims, but none of the three has been charged.

Brazeau also faces charges of sexual assault in a separate matter.

The Senate sat Thursday from 2 p.m. ET to midnight, breaking for a couple of hours for dinner.

Thursday's sitting revealed that Senator Marjory LeBreton will become a member of the Senate internal economy committee, the body that monitors and regulates senators' expenses. She replaces Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen, who announced she was resigning from the committee.

LeBreton has been accused by Duffy and Wallin of strong-arming them into resigning from the Conservative caucus in May.

Duffy has charged that Stewart Olsen, along with Senator David Tkachuk, were prepared to have him expelled from the Senate unless he accepted a cheque from the prime minister's former top aide Nigel Wright in order to repay expenses he did not believe he owed.

Thursday's session showed increasing signs of a split in the Conservative caucus over the motion from Government Senate Leader Claude Carignan to suspend the three. Conservative Senator Don Plett said Thursday that the motions are premature, making it clear he will not support them.

Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau have all fired back at the bid by Conservative senators to have the three suspended without pay and benefits for inappropriately claiming Senate expenses.

Beside the three motions of suspension, there is a motion from Liberal Senate Leader James Cowan to refer the suspension issue to a special committee for further study.

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