As The World of Duffy Turns - Macleans.ca

As The World of Duffy Turns

‘My expense claims do not merit critcism’

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After Conservative senators David Tkachuk and Carolyn Stewart Olsen denied any involvement in Nigel Wright’s deal to repay Mike Duffy’s expenses, CTV responded last night with specificity.

But CTV News never reported that the senators knew about Wright’s $90,000 cheque to Duffy. CTV News has seen emails showing an organized effort by the Prime Minister’s Office and the senior Conservative senators to coerce Duffy into publicly declaring he’d repay money owed to taxpayers.

In the emails, Tkachuk stated that if the money was not repaid he could use his majority in the senate steering committee, which was overseeing the audit, to remove Duffy from the Senate as he was not seen as a resident of Prince Edward Island. Tkachuk allegedly told Duffy that if he agreed to co-operate and repay his debt to taxpayers, the Senate committee would throw out the residency issue and go easy on him in the audit of his expenses. That conversation was followed up by a phone call by Wright, reiterating what Tkachuk had said.

CTV also spends a few moments with Mr. Duffy on camera outside his residence in PEI, in which he basically repeats a statement he released yesterday to Global.

“It would be inappropriate for me to comment while these issues are being examined by the RCMP,” Duffy said in an email. “I feel confident that in the fullness of time the authorities will find – as did the independent auditors at Deloitte – that my expense claims do not merit criticism.”

Back when the audit of his expenses was released in May, Mr. Duffy said that “this audit has indicated that there is a ‘lack of clarity’ in the Senate’s rules and definitions with regard to residency and housing allowances” and “in this respect, the audit is consistent with the position I have maintained since this controversy first arose.”

In that same statement, he talked about how he and his wife had decided that the $90,000 needed to be repaid because it was “the right thing to do.”

In other news, the Senate determined last week that Pamela Wallin owed an additional $17,621.98 in expenses. That put Ms. Wallin’s total bill at $138,969.98. And that, plus the questionable expenses of Mike Duffy ($90,172), Mac Harb ($231,649) and Patrick Brazeau ($48,744) pushes the entire Senate scandal over the half-million mark to $509,534.