It has been a while since Walt wrote about the senator that all Canadians (except one) love to loathe. I refer of course to the "Honourable" Mike Duffy, the biggest -- literally -- toady ever to waddle up to the hog trough that is the Senate of Canada.
For those of you who don't follow Canadian politics, Mr. Puffy used to lurk at CTV, where he held the position of chief political correspondent. When "Call me Steve" Harper became leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, and looked on the way to becoming prime minister as the Liberals imploded, Duffus began a campaign of sycophancy, toadying, ass-kissing and general sucking up that would have made anyone with even a milligram of pride blush with embarrassment.
Not the Puffster though. During the elections of 2004, 2006 and 2008 -- and at all times in between -- every single "report" on Duffy's segment of the CTV news praised Harper's Tories and put down the Gliberals and Knee-dippers. One would have thought that his scripts were written by the Conservative campaign staff, but no-one was ever able to prove it.
In 2008, a panel of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council ruled that Duffy had violated broadcasting codes and ethics during that year's election. The panel concluded that Duffy's decision to air 'false starts' of an interview with then-Liberal leader Stéphane Dion “was not fair, balanced, or even-handed" and that during the same broadcast, Duffy “significantly misrepresented the view of one of the three members of his Panel, Liberal MP Geoff Regan.
But by then the damage had been done. Harper won the election and Duffy claimed his just desserts -- a big fat reward for the big fat crony of the not-quite-so-fat Prime Minister. And what a payoff it was -- appointment to the Canadian Senate as a representative of Duffy's home province, Prince Edward Island.
The position carries with it a six-figure salary, plus a generous expense allowance, including thousands of dollars per month towards the cost of maintaining a home in Ottawa, for those senators whose residence is a certain distance away from Canada's capital.
Senator Puffy's entitlement to the housing allowance was called into question a couple of weeks ago when doubt was expressed about whether he actually resided in PEI. It's Canada's smallest province, eh, and if Duffy actually set foot on the island, it would doubtless tilt in his direction. However, no such phenomenon has been noted. What has been revealed is that Duffy files his income tax return as a non-resident, and uses an Ontario health card. So his residency is, as I said, debatable.
Joining the debate this week is one of Canada's top comedians, Rick Mercer. Here's what he had to say about the poster-boy for patronage and privilege.
Walt couldn't agree more. Well said, Rick!