Mike Duffy resigns from the Conservative caucus - Macleans.ca

Mike Duffy resigns from the Conservative caucus

The embattled senator resigns to sit as an independent

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A statement from Marjory LeBreton, leader of the government in the Senate.

“Senator Duffy has informed me that he has resigned from caucus to sit as an independent senator.”

And a statement from Mr. Duffy.

“It is clear the public controversy surrounding me and the repayment of my Senate expenses has become a significant distraction to my caucus colleagues, and to the government. Given that my presence within the Conservative caucus only contributes to that distraction, I have decided to step outside of the caucus and sit as an independent Senator pending resolution of these questions.

“Throughout this entire situation I have sought only to do the right thing. I look forward to all relevant facts being made clear in due course, at which point I am hopeful I will be able to rejoin the Conservative caucus.

“This has been a difficult time for me and my family, and we are going to take some time away from the public. I ask the media to respect our privacy while these questions are resolved through the appropriate processes.”

A government source says “there are a growing number of questions about Mr. Duffy’s conduct that don’t have answers” and that reports that Senator Duffy had taken out a loan—as CTV first reported last night—came as a “complete surprise.”

Update 10:07pm. CTV is now reporting that Mr. Duffy “attempted to influence the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission’s upcoming decision involving the right-leaning Sun News Network.”

A well-placed source told CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife that Duffy approached a Conservative insider with connections to the CRTC three weeks ago to discuss Sun Media, which is asking the federal regulator to grant its news channel “mandatory carriage,” or guaranteed placement on basic cable and satellite packages. The move would boost Sun News Network’s profile and revenues.

“You know people at the CRTC,” the insider quoted Duffy as saying. “This is an important decision on Sun Media. They have to play with the team and support Sun Media’s request.”

Update 11:39pm. The Canadian Press reports that Senator Duffy was facing a revolt.

Conservative sources said the vast majority of his Senate colleagues had signed a petition calling for his ouster from caucus and they were prepared to confront Duffy with that petition at a meeting next Tuesday evening.

And Steve Ladurantaye has comment from Sun News (more from David Akin). The Globe has comment from Rob Walsh, the former parliamentary law clerk. And here is tonight’s At Issue panel.