Saturday, May 11, 2013

Who Cut Duffy Slack and Why?

A more than curious omission in just one of the Senate standing committee reports on Senators Mac Harb, Patrick Brazeau and Mike Duffy and their housing expense claims.

What distinguishes these three?  Well, Harb and Brazeau claimed expenses for residences that were actually within the provinces they were appointed to represent, Ontario and Quebec respectively.

Duffy, by contrast, claimed living expenses for  a "secondary residence" in the Ottawa area while purportedly being resident in and representing Prince Edward Island.   Duffy's living allowance claims, if he was truly resident in Prince Edward Island, should have been allowed without the slightest question.

All three reports acknowledged the auditors from Deloitte found that criteria for determining primary residence, which must be at least 100 kilometres away from Parliament Hill for senators to be eligible for up to $22,000 in annual living expenses, to be lacking in the rules and guidelines.

Two of the reports — the ones addressing the expenses of Harb and Brazeau — disagreed with that finding and concluded the forms senators sign when declaring their primary and secondary residences in order to receive the living allowance is clear enough for them to have known better.

“Your subcommittee considers this language to be unambiguous and, plainly, if a senator resides primarily in the (National Capital Region), he or she should not be claiming living expenses for the (National Capital Region),” read the reports for Harb and Brazeau.
The report tabled on Duffy does not express any disagreement with this finding of ambiguity by Deloitte and even goes so far as to say that the committee is addressing the issue.

"The issue" when it comes to Duffy is far more complicated.  To be a senator from Prince Edward Island he must be resident in PEI.  Were Senator and Mrs. Duffy actually resident in PEI that housing allowance would have been fully justified.  But Duffy isn't resident in PEI.  He resides, as he has for more than 30-years, in the Ottawa environs.  He has Ontario healthcare.   He votes in Ontario elections.  He doesn't have PEI healthcare.   He doesn't vote in PEI.  His supposed neighbours in PEI have never seen him there.  He gets a seasonal deal on garbage collection and the muni doesn't clear his street - because he's not resident.   He doesn't even get the lower property tax rate available to PEI residents.

Duffy is not resident in the province he's appointed to represent and he has no intention of residing there either.   The Duffys could have packed their bags and fired up the wood stove at their Cavendish cottage when this controversy erupted but, no, they're staying put in Ottawa.

The whole thing is just a fraud.


Owen Gray said...

And they apparently do not blush at any of this, Mound.

As it all things Harperian, it's about hypocrisy -- very expensive hypocrisy.

Owen Gray said...

An in all things Harperian, it's about hypocrisy -- very expensive hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...

Harper's favorite henchmen are always excused, for their misconduct.

Harper rewarded his most corrupt and favorite henchman, ex BC Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell. Campbell was rewarded the post of, High Commissioner to England for doing, Harper's dirty work for him.

The Mound of Sound said...

Owen, why do you think no one is challenging Duffy's legitimacy as a senator from PEI? The Constitution Act is plain. To qualify he must meet two tests. He must own a residence in that province which he does. But it also stipulates that he must be "a resident" of PEI which he plainly is not.

We deal with the legal concept of "ordinarily resident" routinely in interpreting federal and provincial legislation. It's a concept that determines all manner of eligibility and liability.

It's only when it comes to the question of whether Duffy is ordinarily resident in PEI that the rules are "vague."

Don't eat that, Charlie, it's horseshit.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2

From the Globe;

"The Harper government is praising Conservative Sen. Mike Duffy for showing “leadership” in the Senate expenses scandal."

Take that plebs.

Anyong said...

Do these God believers ever think what will happen to them when they die? I think not for it seems they are not belivers. Or, the temptation of all those green backs lying around just for the taking is sooooo tempting, any ethical thoughts disappear out the window just like that.