Duffy should call it a day

Pam
Pam Frampton
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I did a little research into Mike Duffy’s early days in the Senate this week, going back to his maiden speech in the Red Chamber in January 2009.

He broke the rules on that very first day — by leaving his BlackBerry on while the Senate was in session.

During his speech, he waxed nostalgic about his early love of politics.

“I was brought up in Prince Edward Island with the old-fashioned idea that it is not the job of the media, but the job of parliamentarians to change Canada,” he said.

And change Canada he has — and decidedly for the worse.

Incidentally, you may remember that very first speech because it contained homophobic comments about an imagined coupling between then Premier Danny Williams and P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz.

Duffy’s puerile ramblings then are not worth repeating here, but it’s enough to note that they set the tone — and lowered the bar — in terms of what we could expect from him.

He was welcomed to the Senate that day by Senator Jim Munson, another former journalist.

“The honourable senator talked about senators doing wonderful things here,” Munson said. “This is a place where good things are done. I know that Senator (Pamela) Wallin will do good things in the Senate, too, because we can make a difference.”

Well, Munson got it right in a way. Duffy, Wallin and others of their ilk have made a difference, and that difference is that Canadians are now even more cynical about the Senate than ever before, and deservedly so.

To think that Duffy and Wallin  hoovered up taxpayers’ dollars in travel expenses and housing allowances while the rest of us poor schmucks have to earn our money honestly is contemptible.

The fact that both are former journalists — normally the first people you could count on to expose government misspending — makes it all the worse.

I gave a colleague of mine a postage stamp last week so that he could post a health benefit form; he was loath to simply send it out with the company mail. That’s conscience. That’s ethics. Duffy’s and Wallin’s are in pitifully short supply.

Duffy misled the Senate about where he lived. He claimed the rules governing housing allowances were difficult to follow. He’s ducked journalists’ legitimate questions about his expense claims.

He apparently told CTV he took out a bank loan to repay his $90,000 in overpayments when in actuality he was given a cheque by the prime minister’s former chief of staff.

“I dealt with my bank personally. Nigel (Wright) played no role,” Duffy told the television network, according to The Toronto Star.

That’s not what Mr. Wright said, and he had the good sense to quit his job when that inappropriate exchange came to light.

Duffy engaged in campaign activities for the governing Conservatives while claiming Senate expenses at the same time.

When he finally had to withdraw from the Conservative caucus in the Senate, he played the sympathy card, telling The Toronto Star he would lay low for awhile, saying, “This has been a difficult time for me and my family.”

Well, boo hoo. Duffy’s a grownup and he made the decision to enter politics, dragging his family along for the ride.

And now he’s dragging other Senators down along with him by increasing public mistrust of an institution that is supposed to offer sober second thought instead of spending tax dollars like drunken sailors on shore leave.

How did his Conservative colleagues respond? Not by referring the matter to the police, as Liberal senators suggested, but by referring his sloppy paperwork back to the same secretive committee that shielded him in the first place.

The whole thing is an insult to Canadians, and particularly to Duffy’s “beloved P.E.I.,” which was so beloved by him that he chose to live in Ontario and claim his P.E.I. cottage as his primary residence.

Let’s face it, the arrogant senator who once called NDP MP Peter Stoffer a “faker” on CBC TV, when Stoffer had the audacity to call some senators’ spending “over the top” back in 2009, is the biggest faker of them all.

We’ve been duped. But not any longer.

Do us all a favour, Senator Duffy, and resign. Try to salvage a few shreds of dignity from all this if you can.

The jig is up.

Pam Frampton is a columnist and

The Telegram’s associate managing editor. She can be reached by email at

pframpton@thetelegram.com.

Twitter: pam_frampton

Organizations: Red Chamber, Conservatives, CBC

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Canada, Toronto Ontario

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  • Petertwo
    May 27, 2013 - 06:28

    There's good furore over Mike Duffy's indiscretions, what a lovely word, but we have to admit that he does not have very high standards. Compared to the last Liberal government who tried to take Canada for $40 million, that we did know about, Duffy's, pathetic $90 odd thousand pales by comparison. As a Anon noted this gives cause to abolish the senate, I guess we ought to have abolished The House over the liberals. What surprised me recently was a report that suggested the Liberals today would win an election with a landslide victory, I'm surprised that anyone would even think of ever voting again for the Liberals in Canada. We never seem to learn from experience!

    • Corporate Psycho
      May 27, 2013 - 19:50

      Ever hear of Brian Mulrooney?

  • Anon
    May 26, 2013 - 12:27

    There's the possibility for good to come out of this, because for once Canadians are actually paying attention to the senate. Sober second thought my arse, that's what parliamentary committees are for, the senate has always been a useless moneypit where Prime Ministers send their friends to get paid to do nothing. The only reason it has been permitted to exist for so long is because most Canadian taxpayers don't know exactly what it is. Well people are paying attention now, and if Harper really wants to add something to his legacy he should use this opportunity to take a serious shot at abolishing the senate altogether. I understand the constitutional challenges involved, but it isn't impossible and right now would a good time to try. Sometimes I cant help but think that was the point all along. Harper, Wright, and Dufy are not stupid people, and for them to all get mixed up in this farce is beyond bizarre, I cant help but think that there's some Conservative plot to discredit and eventually bring down the senate from within. One that I would fully support. The senate is a useless institution that we just cant seem to get rid of, if the government needs to manufacture a scandal to turn people against it well so be it.

  • Bob
    May 25, 2013 - 14:13

    Pam, I just put down "The Paper" and join with you in the hope "The Duffster" and "My parking lot" Wallin will step down. But come on, they're full partners now in Canada's "Wheel of Fortune" and there's no way they'll surrender their newfound free lunch. There is such a thing after all, pity it took polititians of questionable value to point it out.

  • Ahewitson
    May 25, 2013 - 14:11

    These two former CTV employees are chubby because an excess of total gall. However, I do not see resignation as enough. Any public employee found doing the same thing - claiming ineligble expenses - are charged in a court oif law, fired and lose pension benefits. This needs to happen.

  • gar
    May 25, 2013 - 13:55

    Duffy is proving to be a real weasel. he knows it is almost impossible for him to be fired. He knew exactly what he was doing but thought he would not get caught. Like many his greed overcame his good sense. Imagine making 12 thousand a month a big expense account and a house in Ottawa paid up. If this is all true so why is the media concealing something? Does he have some type of abuse problem? Has this guy got the goods on a good number of parliamentarians that he covered as a journalist for years and they are scared stiff of exposure . His latest statement that he wants an inquiry suggests that he has an ace in the hole and every one regardless of party know it. There is word for that???

  • Ed
    May 25, 2013 - 13:10

    Duffy should move to Quebec where his morals would be considered an asset and his deals with money, truth and integrity a place to practice his corruption.

  • John in Whitbourne
    May 25, 2013 - 13:09

    You are being heartless. How is this poor man going to pay for his imported French Champagne and Truffles from the South of France? You can't expect him to maintain his 'fighting weight' on a diet of P.E.I. potatoes and Kraft Dinner. Who is going to anchor the Senate tug-of-war team when they take on Rob Ford and his nasty Toronto City Council team?

  • Mule
    May 25, 2013 - 13:07

    Good Op-Ed piece from Pam. She clearly expresses our collective indignation at the senator's abuse of pretty generous expense rules. However, I must contradict her analogy that the Senate spends tax dollars like drunken sailors on shore leave. That is offensive to most sailors who are already shortchanged in their earning within Canada's military. They have families to support, protect our country, and spend many long, and rough weeks at sea. The senate will never live up to those men and women. Please do not malign our navy personnel this way by comparing them to senators.

  • crista
    May 25, 2013 - 12:17

    Reading another web page about the release of the bill c-29???? web release on the Nalcor page explaining the report ???? it was almost like listening to budget 2013???? for what could be under stood of it.Yes it explains what they are planing to do????not against the best interest of any bussiness investment but who is this investment best for and who is going to benefit from these deals???? the ones that are trying to live day to day or is it the ones that do not have to worry about those problems???? or if some thing goes wrong who's problems is it then and you can not say it can not happen look what you are reading about in Pam's article???? so who will have to suffer for some ones unknown decision's and choices???? some one should take some interest for what is gone on and going on and who is really making any sense of any of this???? as L.B. said all you here is muskrat,muskrat,muskrat???? and do not forget how bill c- 29 is working out???? remember another web site the Nalcor release????

  • david
    May 25, 2013 - 11:30

    Duffy should quit. Sure. because that's exactly what all disgraced politicians do in this country. Especially those who have never, and will never, face the electorate, and who are lavished with gobs of money and ego-stroking perks for the rest of their lives....a contract written in stone. Sure, Pam. Good call.

  • marilyn
    May 25, 2013 - 09:38

    The only thing in life that's a sure thing is death and taxes . Mr Duffy you many have underestimated the Canadian people .there is a limited to what people will take and I think we Canadians have reached our limit. This government is like the boy that cried wolf . So many lies and ii will be hard to believe anything they say .we will not be able to tell the difference anymore from truth or lies . Thanks Mr. Duffy and all our senators for opening our eyes to what this government is capable of .shame on you all . as it looks 1 bad apple does spoil the barrel unless you weed out the bad ones' guess the in ball is in your park now . I hope you do not close cabinet for the summer while Canada deals with the scandal and embarrassment.