Thursday, May 30, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday, May 30, 2013

In the Senate, Duffy and Wallin are sticking together

Walking through the front door of the Senate placed the PEI Senator between the two sides of the Red Chamber. Mike Duffy arrived midway through last Wednesday’s Question Period, where the topic – as it was all week – was him.

It was the first time he had stepped foot in the chamber since his resignation from the Conservative caucus the week before. Though he was in Ottawa, he did not attend a debate the previous night that saw his expenses sent back to a committee for further review. He also missed a failed attempt by the Liberals to have his expenses sent straight to the police.

Mr. Duffy moved to his new seat in the back row on the opposition side. Already in her new seat in the same area was Pamela Wallin, another former CTV journalist who had also just resigned from the Conservative caucus over expenses.

Mr. Duffy leaned over and whispered something into her ear, then took his seat to her left. Later Mr. Duffy spoke to Ms. Wallin at length and she appeared to take notes. Then they chatted briefly with Mac Harb, another Senator under fire over expenses.

The cameras did not capture any of this, because cameras are not allowed in the Senate. No video cameras. No still cameras. Two reporters were detained by Senate security earlier this year because they were falsely accused of snapping cellphone pics in the chamber. The reporters received an apology.

The recent attention on the Red Chamber over the expenses scandal serves as a reminder that the Senate is a very strange place. Unlike the 308 seat House of Commons, the Senate is a much smaller place. There are only 105 seats. Three are currently vacant and full attendance rarely happens. (Source: