Mike Duffy can't control the story - Macleans.ca

Mike Duffy can’t control the story

Tease the day: Questions about the P.E.I. senator’s conduct continue to mount


Sean Kilpatrick/CP

Here’s one version of the story about Senator Mike Duffy: When he claimed a primary residence in P.E.I., and not the suburban Ottawa home where he’d lived for decades, he was legitimately confused about the rules. He ticked the wrong box, inadvertently—oops—and, as a result, accidentally claimed $90,172.24 in expenses.

Earlier this year, during a surprise interview on CBC in his home province, Duffy told viewers they could trust him. He pledged to pay back any money he owed. Eventually, he did pay back all those thousands of dollars. But he had to ask a friend for some help coming up with the dough. Enter the prime minister’s chief of staff, Nigel Wright, a man with plenty of the stuff and a reputation for charity. Duffy was worried about his health, and just as worried about his wife’s financial future should something happen to him. So Wright cut a cheque, called it a gift that need not be repaid, and Duffy reimbursed taxpayers for those improperly claimed expenses.

That’s the innocent telling of the tale. A Senator, just trying his hardest and getting mixed up in paperwork, eventually getting bailed out by a friend.

Unfortunately, there’s more to it than that. The Canadian Press reports that auditors say Duffy “failed to fully disclose his activities and records;” that the government is “refusing to reveal the full breakdown of the senator’s claims;” that, during the last federal election, Duffy may have been claiming Senate expenses “on days he appeared to be campaigning for the party,” and, well, there remain all kinds of questions about that cheque. The ethics commissioner is investigating. A national columnist is asking for a resignation.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with the ethics commissioner’s investigation of the conduct of Nigel Wright, the prime minister’s chief of staff, after he gifted $90,000 to Senator Mike Duffy to repay improperly claimed expenses. The National Post fronts Andrew Coyne’s call for Duffy’s resignation. The Toronto Star also goes above the fold with the Duffy affair. The Ottawa Citizen leads, not surprisingly, with the Duffy affair. iPolitics fronts Duffy’s expense claims during the last federal election, when he may have been campaigning for the Conservatives. CBC.ca leads with uncertainty about when the next Canadian will blast off into space. National Newswatch showcases The Canadian Press’ story about Duffy’s expenses during the 2011 campaign.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Arctic. Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, the new chair of the circumpolar Arctic Council, yesterday hailed a new focus on economic development and targeted research. 2. Scottish independence. Former Prime Minister Jean Chretien headed to the United Kingdom to offer advice to the ‘no’ side in the 2014 Scottish independence vote.
3. Baby. The Supreme Court is set to rule on the Crown’s appeal of the case of April Dawn Halkett, who gave birth in a Walmart and left the baby when she thought it was dead. 4. Cuban indictment. Two Toronto-area men are being held in Cuban custody—one faces 12 years in prison, the other is held without charge—for crimes against the state.