Friday, May 17, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday, May 17, 2013

Senator Mike Duffy’s actions under scrutiny

There was lots of activity around Senator Mike Duffy’s home in Cavendish, P.E.I. today but he wasn’t interested in talking.

The New Democrats have asked the Senate ethics officer to launch a probe into Duffy’s repayment of more than $90,000 in improperly claimed expenses — money that was given to him by Nigel Wright, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff.

The senator has become the brunt of many jokes and outright frustration since the news broke that Wright had written Duffy a cheque from his personal account to repay the improperly claimed Senate living expenses.

“The public looks up to these people…and when they’re not displaying behavior that is becoming to that, one has to be disappointed,” says P.E.I. cottage owner Andy Weeks.

“There’s lots of people on P.E.I. that he could have picked as a senator, rather than somebody who only lives here part time,” says Cavendish business manager Rowan Caseley.

Caseley says the personal cheque written by the prime minister’s chief of staff to repay Duffy’s improperly claimed housing expenses doesn’t pass the smell test.

“That’s not like a $10 gift, or a $100 gift,” he says. “Ninety-thousand dollars is a lot of money and anybody that’s given $90,000, I’d have to put it up for suspicion.”

Duffy is one of three senators whose living expenses have come under fire over allegations they were claiming tens of thousands of dollars for accommodations in the Ottawa area under the Senate’s housing allowance rule – intended to compensate those whose primary residences are more than 100 kilometres from the capital. (Source: CTV News)