April 29, 2016
My absence in England last week prevented me from celebrating the acquittal of Mike Duffy in this column, but there are a few points still to be made about it. There was never anything wrong with Mike Duffy padding around promoting the Conservative party while a paid-up senator. MPs do that and there is nothing wrong with senators doing it. There was nothing wrong with Nigel Wright paying Duffy’s alleged excesses on his travel expenses. A friend can do that — nothing wrong with it and typical of Nigel to come to a friend’s assistance.
(Duffy is now arguably the principal Atlantic provinces representative of the Conservative party in Parliament). Of course, Duffy had no business expensing his physical trainer, but from appearances, the trainer has not been notably successful anyway. Mike is no fitness magazine centrefold, but he has special medical problems and presumably the trainer helped him fulfill his designated role as a senator.
Asking the chairman of the management committee of the Toronto Club, Canada’s ultimate source of misdirected sanctimony, Senator Irving Gerstein, to question the Senate’s auditor, or even to try to alter its audit, was shabby and unwise. Gerstein, given the onerous moral standard he must uphold as chair of the most pompous committee in the country except the Supreme Court, should have declined the mission; he would not have risked anything by doing so as he is as inseparable from his senatorial emoluments as Duffy. But no illegality was intended or even contemplated…