None of the Senators who challenged Auditor General Michael Ferguson’s findings last year on inappropriate Senate spending got away without owing money to the Senate, former Supreme Court justice Ian Binnie revealed last week after tabling his report at a press conference at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa. But of the $322,611 in expenses that the Auditor General Michael Ferguson ordered the 14 current and former Senators to repay, Mr. Binnie said 54 per cent had to be repaid, or $177,898. This means 14 current and former Senators will return $177,898 to the Senate. The Senators have 30 days to pay the money back or their salaries will be garnished and legal action can be used to get money back from retired Senators. “I impute no bad motives to any of the Senators,” Mr. Binnie told reporters last Monday morning after he released his report on the binding arbitration process for Senators who had appealed Mr. Ferguson’s June 2015 report. “They acted in accordance with what they believed to be their entitlement. Our disagreement, where it exists, is as to the content of that entitlement.” Said Mr. Binnie: “In other words, I didn’t feel that, for the most part, they were gaming the system.” But he said the Senators may have also overlooked some principles, adding that the current rules are “perfectly workable” and that Senators should be following the spirit and the letter of the current policies and guidelines. Indeed. Four of the 14 Senators will have to repay the full amount originally flagged by the auditor general, including former Senators Lowell Murray, Robert Peterson, and Terry Stratton and current Senator Dennis Patterson. Mr. Ferguson’s audit cost $24-million and named 30 current and former Senators who had inappropriately reimbursed the Senate for a total of $991,917 in travel, housing, and office expenses. “Our audit of Senators’ expenses served to highlight that at the level of the institution as a whole, there were significant and unacceptable shortcomings in the oversight, accountability and transparency of Senators’ expenses,” Mr. Ferguson said in statement released last Monday. Hopefully, Mr. Binnie’s report will now bolster transparency in the Senate. “I think the shock delivered by the AG made people sit up and pay attention,” Mr. Binnie told reporters. “I think the Senate will increasingly tighten up its process—whether it’s through a supervisory mechanism, whether it’s through making the rules clear, I think you will find that the controls are tightened and the need for justification will be greatly increased.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is trying to bring a more independence to the Senate. Mr. Trudeau should also be demanding full transparency in the Upper Chamber. Last year, then Senate Speaker Leo Housakos promised “more disclosure, more oversight, and better controls.” That time is now. The Senate should release its own report on how it’s going to be more open and transparent, and it should clarify all the Senate’s rules, policies, and practices on Senators’ spending. As former Senate ethics officer Jean Fournier said quite rightly, “When it comes to matters such as finance, administration, personnel, and ethics, the Senate should hold itself to higher standards than other legislative bodies because it is appointed, not elected.” It's time for the Senate to act.