Roundup: Mike Duffy, white knight

Oh, Senator Mike Duffy. For his suffering, he has decided to launch a $7.8 million lawsuit against the RCMP, the Government of Canada, and the Senate itself. It’s not just about the two years of suspension without pay, or the reimbursement or legal fees, or indeed about the further clawbacks of his salary that the Senate undertook for his abuse of expense claims, or about the lost income from speaking fees that he could have claimed had he not been dragged through the process. No, Duffy is so concerned about the lack of Charter rights for those who work on the Hill that he’s willing to take on this multi-million-dollar lawsuit for the principle of the matter.

Such a hero.

Now, I will be the first to admit that yes, the way in which Duffy’s suspension handled was hugely problematic, and that his rights to due process were trampled on because of political expediency, it cannot be argued that the Senate was illegitimate in the way it acted because as a self-governing parliamentary body, the Senate not only has the ability to police its own, it is in fact the only body that can police its members because of parliamentary privilege and institutional independence.

While Duffy’s lawyer was effusive in his characterisation of Duffy’s acquittal, I’m not sure that it completely passes the smell test – Duffy was found not to have met the criminal test for fraud and breach of trust, but you cannot say that no rules were broken. The Senate has pointed to numerous examples where this was the case and fined him appropriately, and while he claims that the rules were too loose and vague, that is certainly not the case with all of his rejected claims. And it will raise questions if this suit goes ahead because the judge’s ruling was indeed problematic (and I know for a fact that there are other judges on that same bench who were not keen on it), and without an appeal being raised, that could raise more questions with this trial – if it goes to trial.

Of course, we can’t deny that perhaps Duffy is looking for a settlement of a couple of million dollars, but I’m not sure that of the parties involved, the Senate would bite and go for it. They are still pretty sore about the whole thing and are keen to continue to prove that they are taking a hard line to those who abuse it. I would wager that they are more likely to fight this to the bitter end on principle, come what may.

Meanwhile, Susan Delacourt sees an odd parallel between Duffy and Omar Khadr in that their rights were violated (which is a bit of a stretch, legally speaking), while Christie Blatchford suggests that perhaps Duffy is indeed owed something because his rights to due process were robbed.

Good reads:

  • NAFTA negotiators have signed confidentiality agreements that expire four years after the conclusion of talks in order to prevent leaks. Does this apply to Trump?
  • Andrew Scheer says that we should declare those irregular border points of entry as official ones to trigger the Safe Third Country Agreement. That’s…novel.
  • As expected Judy Foote stepped down from cabinet yesterday, for reasons that have to do with the BRCA cancer gene affecting her family.
  • Public Works is the first department to get a transgender workplace policy, while trans people will be able to put an X for sex on their passports instead of M or F.
  • The Chief of Defence Staff will march in Ottawa’s Pride parade this weekend, which is a first in this country.
  • The federal government is preparing for litigation if a softwood lumber deal isn’t reached with the Americans.
  • Here are even more details on the VADM Mark Norman suspension and the back-and-forth around the shipyard contract at the centre of it.
  • The Auditor General has completed a special audit of the National Capital Commission and finds deteriorating assets and improper reporting of shortfalls.
  • Romeo Dallaire believes Canada should join the US’ ballistic missile defence programme as part of a modernisation of NORAD.
  • As Phoenix pay problems continue to rumble along, public service executives are going to have to wait to get their bonuses sorted.
  • While some people have freaked out that CPP changes will mean that some seniors will no longer qualify for the GIS, it’s actually because they’ll make more money.
  • Here’s a good look at the Steven Fletcher floor-crossing court challenge issue.
  • It looks like some NDP leadership candidates are poking a hornet’s nest about “secular values” and religious garb in Quebec.
  • While some voices (including Perry Bellegarde) support scrubbing Sir John A’s name from schools, John Geddes defends our first PM’s name and reputation.
  • Similar to Macdonald, Peter Shawn Taylor takes on the issues of Edward Cornwallis and the actual history of scalping in Canada.
  • Kady O’Malley takes on the topic of how long Trudeau can keep a cabinet post vacant now that Judy Foote is out.

Odds and ends:

Here’s a look at the Dominion Sculptor, who is responsible for new and restored stone sculpture on Parliament Hill.

According to Kevin Vickers, the Canadian Ambassador’s residence in Dublin is haunted.

2 thoughts on “Roundup: Mike Duffy, white knight

  1. Re: Omar Duffy. The government should clearly settle now, since this is all about his rights being trampled. And anyway, the eventual award could be way more than we’re being sued for. Plus, we have virtually no chance of success. And we would incur further costs in defending this action.

    But please, no apology.

  2. Never particularly fond when something becomes a headline in the United States and people just try to do it here as we are exactly the same. The must analogous to me seems when there was debates to honour Louis Riel. He was a complicated historical figure to put it mildly yet we were asked to view him as such.

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