Saturday, February 23, 2013

Puffy senator lifts snout out of trough... slightly

Yesterday afternoon, Conservative Senator Mike Duffy, the porky prevaricator Canadians love to loathe -- see yesterday's post -- admitted that he might have made a mistake on those darn ambiguous residence forms, and would be giving back over $40,0000 in expenses he got by claiming to have his principal residence in (on?) Prince Edward Island.

Ah yes, those forms. Once a year senators are asked to declare whether their principal residence is (a) within 100 kilometres of Parliament Hill or (b) not within 100 kilometres of Parliament Hill. You have to tick one or the other box. How hard could it be? Well, the Supreme Trougher chose (b).

If the Senate were a game show [You mean it's not? Ed.] the Puffster wouldn't be going on to Round Two. The correct answer is (a), as the tubby Tory now admits. So that's why he's giving back the allowance he received. As New Democrat ethics critic Charlie Angus puts it, “He had to get caught. He had to get hounded. He came up with excuse after excuse and then finally pays the money back.”

Sadly for "Duff", as he likes to call himself, that's not the end of it. The Canadian Constitution requires that to be a senator representing Province X, you have to be a resident of Province X. As Walt pointed out last time, Duffy has not only a principal residence in Ontario, but an Ontario health card. And he does not claim to be a resident of PEI on his tax returns.

But, the senator sez, he has two cars with PEI licence plates. And he has a PEI driver's licence too! Presumably that's not the one which was suspended some years ago following a conviction for DUI. Is that enough to keep the Puffster from having to give up his extra-wide Senate seat?

Former Liberal leader Stéphane Dion, for one, is not convinced. In his usual impeccable English, M. Dion said, “I have no comment as to whether he’s qualified but if he is not a resident of PEI, more than to have a cottage to go to once and awhile, then he is not qualified.... It will be for the Senate to look at that. I will respect the proper process.”

Canadian taxpayers and lovers of irony await.

Further reading: "Memories of Mike Duffy: lawsuits and ‘smear’ campaigns" -- the fond recollections of Michael Bate, former editor of the now-defunct Canadian satirical magazine, Frank.

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