Mike Duffy splits from Senate as he reaches mandatory retirement age on Wednesday –

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Mike Duffy splits from Senate as he reaches mandatory retirement age on Wednesday – fr


Last month, in his last Senate speech, Duffy spent most of his speech complaining that the Senate treated him badly when he suspended his salary.

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OTTAWA – On Wednesday, time will finally do what a criminal trial, spending scandal and suspension of colleagues couldn’t; Senator Mike Duffy will be leaving the Red Chamber for good.

Duffy turns 75 on Wednesday, the mandatory retirement age for senators, forcing him out of the chamber and permanently moving him to an uplifting narrative instead of a constant presence.

At the end of last month, Duffy gave his final speech in the Senate, practically speaking out due to the pandemic. After thanking his family and staff for their support, he spent most of his speech complaining that the Senate had treated him badly when he suspended his pay.

“The Senate is not elected and is accountable to no one other than itself. Unfortunately, this concept has been twisted to mean that senators are not allowed to benefit from the procedural fairness offered to all other residents of Canada, ”he said. “Even the Charter of Rights does not apply here.”

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Duffy first served with the Conservative Senate caucus, but has served as an independent since his return. Through this office, he declined an interview with the National Post.

Appointed to the Senate in 2009 by then Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Duffy became the most prominent of several senators, whose housing expenses were criticized in 2012.

Duffy claimed his cottage in Prince Edward Island as his primary residence and claimed shelter costs for his longtime residence in Ottawa.

After a forensic audit was commissioned to examine the expenses of several senators, Duffy agreed to reimburse more than $ 90,000 for living expenses, but it was later revealed that the money came from the chief of staff. by Harper, Nigel Wright.

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The RCMP charged Duffy with 31 charges relating to the scandal, but at trial in 2016 he was acquitted of all charges. Judge Charles Vaillancourt felt that Duffy had acted correctly, but sharply criticized “Nigel Wright and his team” for pushing the senators.

His fellow senators suspended Duffy without pay or benefits due to the scandal and, following his acquittal, he filed a $ 7.8 million lawsuit against the Senate and the RCMP. The money was partly to recover his lost salary, but also for damage to “reputation”.

The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled last year that the Senate cannot be forced to change its stance on the suspension. The court cited the concept of parliamentary privilege, which allows the Senate and the House of Commons to set their own rules.

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The Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear Duffy’s case in February, leaving the Senate out of prosecution, but Duffy’s prosecution against the RCMP continues for now.

In his final speech to the Senate, Duffy complained that he should have the same rights as any Canadian suspended from his job.

“I suspect that most Canadians would find the idea of ​​the Senate as a charter-free zone unacceptable in our democracy. Unfortunately Reform senators are learning that it is not easy to make changes here, ”he said.

He ended his speech by inviting Canadians to come and visit Prince Edward Island after the pandemic is over.

“Despite the Senate’s problems, I am convinced that Canada has a bright future, as does my home province of Prince Edward Island,” he said. “I hope you will come and visit our beautiful island, where in 1864 the idea of ​​a country called Canada was born.

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His departure brings the number of vacant seats in the Red Chamber to 15 and the number of senators appointed by Harper to 29. Six more senators are expected to leave before the end of the year.

According to figures from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Duffy will be entitled to an annual pension of $ 47,000 once he leaves the House.

Prince Edward Island Senator Diane Griffin, who joined the Senate after Duffy returned from her suspension, said Duffy helped learn how the Red Chamber worked when she was appointed for the first time.

“He called me right away and we got together for lunch and he gave me a good briefing on the Senate,” she said. “I have found it very useful in helping me make the transition to the Senate.

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She said after the scandal, when he returned to work in the Senate, he did so quietly by advocating for projects in Atlantic Canada, particularly Prince Edward Island, where he has is pushing for more services in rural communities, including high speed internet.

“Whenever he was working on an issue, he was doing it as efficiently as possible behind the scenes,” she said.

Griffin said Duffy did a good job in the Red Room, but she knows the expense scandal will always be what people will remember.

“Unfortunately, I think it’s inevitable,” she said. “That’s why he will be famous and his work in the Senate will receive less attention.”

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