A Senate budget committee has called in outside auditors to scrutinize the expenses claimed by three senators and the status of their actual residency.
Tories Mike Duffy, Patrick Brazeau and Liberal Mac Harb will be undergoing scrutiny of their claims for extra housing allowances based on their actual residence lying outside the national capital region. Senators are required to file a declaration of their residency.
Duffy claims he's a resident of Prince Edward Island. Unfortunately he has a gaggle of evidentiary issues to overcome. In his case it won't be just a matter of living allowances but whether he is a resident of P.E.I. at all as required by the Constitution Act for any senator representing that province.
He's not registered to vote in P.E.I. nor could he meet the provincial requirement that voters be resident in the province for six months prior to an election. He is registered and does vote in Ontario. Duffy got caught trying to fast-track the issuance of a P.E.I. health care card that was denied. He and his wife, who co-own their cottage in Cavendish, are taxed at a non-resident rate for the property. If either of them could demonstrate being "ordinarily resident" in P.E.I. they could qualify for the much lower property tax charged residents. Senator and Mrs. Duffy availed themselves of a lower-rate municipal garbage assessment for summer collection only. The neighbours say they've never seen either of them "at home." The neighbours in Kanata, just outside Ottawa, however see them quite a bit - because that's where they're resident.
The guy's got problems. A Tory acquaintance of mine from Ottawa said he's afraid the cops will be next to become involved.