It seems that Senator Mike Duffy’s known penchant for harvesting the bounty of buffet dinners also extends to taking the most from the public purse. Mr. Duffy has been a resident of Ottawa for decades and yet when he received an appointment to the senate, he opted to exploit the perks of the plum given to him by the Conservative government. Senators are allowed to claim a housing allowance if their permanent residence is over 100 km’s from Ottawa. As Mr. Duffy already lived in Ottawa, he was not entitled to the allowance. What to do? No problem, declare that your long-standing cottage in PEI is your permanent address and voila, you scoop up some extra cash!
Senator Duffy continued to collect the allowance; he was really not entitled to, until the issue was raised in the media. Senator Duffy got caught. Embarrassed, or perhaps not, he decided to repay the $90K+ before getting hauled before some committee and subjected to a well deserved dose of ‘naughty boy’ admonishment from his fellow senators. As the senator seems to be in dire financial straits, his apparent friend, Nigel Wright, comes to the rescue with a gift, not a loan, of the entire amount owing. Notwithstanding Nigel Wright’s generosity and his apparent fondness for Senator Duffy, there are some obvious questionable implications when the Prime Minister’s chief of staff gives a sitting senator a financial gift of over $90K to repay a debt owed to the government. Not just any debt but a debt created as a result of doing something that was ethically unacceptable.
Perhaps the best thing for Senator Mike Duffy to do now is to complete the necessary paperwork that will result in the word “former” in front of his current title.