Duffy controversy requires Senate reform, Armstrong

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Senators expenses in riding paid by campaign

Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong says the controversy around Sen. Mike Duffy is another reason why the Senate needs to be reformed.

TRURO – The controversy over Senator Mike Duffy’s expense claims is adding cannon fodder for reforming the Senate, says Conservative MP Scott Armstrong.

The Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley MP said Friday he has long believed the Senate needs to be either elected by Canadians or abolished.

“My position on that is no secret, I believe we need an elected Senate or it has to be abolished,” Armstrong said after attending a funding announcement in Truro. “There have been a lot of incidents in the Senate over the years. The problem is it’s unaccountable. That’s the problem. They’re appointed and they’re there until they’re 75. They’re not accountable.”

Armstrong’s comments come a day after the Prince Edward Island senator resigned from the Conservative caucus over controversy relating to his living and travel claims.

The Conservative MP, who is also the chairman of the Atlantic caucus chair, said senators don’t have the oversight and transparency that’s in the House of Commons.

“There are a lot of senators who have never been accused of anything that go about their business every day and there’s never any accusations. But when this happens, it paints everyone. The problem is systemic and that’s why we are trying to change the legislation to have an elected Senate.”

Those attempts, however, have been tied up in the courts since the provinces have to agree and Quebec doesn’t agree.

Duffy said in April that he had already repaid more than $90,000 in housing and living expenses that he had inappropriately claimed over four years. Last week, it was confirmed that the prime minister’s chief of staff, Nigel Wright, had written a personal cheque to repay Duffy’s living expenses.

The Canadian Press reported last week that Duffy submitted expense claims while Parliament was dissolved during the last federal election, reporting he was on Senate business on days he appeared to be campaigning for the party.

Independent auditors at the firm Deloitte listed Duffy as being in Ottawa on Senate business and claiming a daily expense for seven days.

Armstrong confirmed the senator and former journalist appeared at a pair of campaign events in Amherst and Truro in April 2011, but said he’s not aware of Duffy claiming expenses for those.

Armstrong’s campaign paid Duffy $409.91 in expenses.

“He came here during the campaign and under the Elections Canada rules you have to cover their expenses as a campaign expense,” Armstrong said. “We are required by law to do that. He stayed overnight in a hotel in Truro, there were two meals and car rental. It has to come out of the political campaign expenses and that’s how it was done.”

Armstrong said to his knowledge Duffy did not claim any Senate expenses when he was in the riding.

“Either way, I can’t control his expenses and what he claims and doesn’t claim. If he did, he shouldn’t have,” Armstrong said.

dcole@amherstdaily.com

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley MP, House of Commons, Canadian Press Elections Canada

Geographic location: TRURO, Prince Edward Island, Quebec Ottawa Amherst

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Recent comments

  • Hangloose
    May 21, 2013 - 11:39

    The PC ship is sinking and the rats are trying to save themselves!!!

  • Byron M.
    May 20, 2013 - 07:54

    Sen. Mike Duffy now sets in a padded seat as an Independent; does he still draw his fat senator's salary? Does he still have a senator's expense account? Once appointed by the PM as a senator they hold that position until they die or turn 75 yrs of age. So the senate is an old age home for those appointed to the senate. There needs to be a time limit as with the PM or Premiere's. An elected senate by the people would be more Democratic. The current system of the senate appointment is that of a dictatorship. The people have no say in who gets appointed. At least some of the system abusers are being exposed. But they still have the same job. Just another title. Anyone caught as Duffy was and others should be booted out without any further pay. In the real world it is called misappropriation of funds and you would lose your job, benefits and pay.

    • Jeff Johnston
      May 20, 2013 - 15:46

      Hey Byron M. , the senate is the only protection we have against dictatorship right now . We need divisions of power to keep the government in check . And we are a constitutional republic , not a democracy ( which is the worst kind of government ) . Also the senate doesn't pass anything that hasn't already been passed by the house . As for elections , do you seriously believe our MP's are legitimately elected ? Our election process is a joke . You get to choose from 3 hand selected candidates . The current rules and regulations shut out the overwhelming majority of independents . Also if you try to run for the nomination of 1 of the established parties and are ahead in the polls , 100's or 1000's of people will show up from out of region and flip the vote . This has happened many , many times in Canada . It happened in Colchester in the 80's . Not to mention an out right fixing of the vote , especially with electronic voting . Also the MP's are kicked out of the party if they don't follow the party line , as happened with Bill Casey . As for being appointed to age 75 , this is good . These people are appointed from different eras , and don't all have the same political loyalties as the MP's . In 2010 the MPs tried to pass draconian global warming legislation but thankfully the senate struck it down . As far as expenses go it costs 427 MILLION for the MP's , compared to 90 MILLION for the Senate . Don't be fooled by Scott Armstrong . He is acting like a Nazi , calling to abolish his political opposition . Look at his track record . Licking the boots of Steven Harper , licking the boots of local fat cats and the bureaucratic class , pushing the EI reforms that treat you differently based on income and tries to tell the poor what jobs they should apply for . Hitler abolished his political opposition , banned labour unions and licked the boots of fat cats and bureaucrats . And going along with the party to secure your career pursuits is not an excuse . You are responsible for your actions . And I agree with LAE's comment . This looks completely staged . The treasury is being completely looted with hundreds of billions in bailouts , stimulus , mega-grants to landlords ect. ect. while they go "Look , Mike Duffy might have stolen $ 90 000 because he spent more time in Ottawa doing his job instead of taking more vacation time in PEI . Now we need to abolish the entire Senate ." Then the entire media gets behind it on cue . They're just trying to use Mike Duffy as a patsy in their false flag attack on the senate . Do we call to abolish the entire House of Commons every time there's an MP expense scandal ?

    • chief wiggam
      May 21, 2013 - 07:12

      never seen the senate used like that before. where SENATE READS THROUGH BILL BEFORE GOING TO PARLIMENT. what happened to harper's promise to get rid of senate??

  • shame
    May 19, 2013 - 20:15

    The PC ship is sinking and the rats are trying to save themselves.

  • Bean Counter
    May 19, 2013 - 19:16

    Armstrong’s campaign paid Duffy $409.91 in expenses. “He came here during the campaign and under the Elections Canada rules you have to cover their expenses as a campaign expense,” Armstrong said. “We are required by law to do that. He stayed overnight in a hotel in Truro, there were two meals and car rental. It has to come out of the political campaign expenses and that’s how it was done.” Armstrong said to his knowledge Duffy did not claim any Senate expenses when he was in the riding...... From the expense details Armstrong gives us; knowing that duffy came in from Ottawa; and that by law, as he states, Armstrong has listed all expenses, it appears that Armstrong wants us to believe that Duffy rented a car early in the day in Ottawa , drove by himself all day non stop all the way to Truro, spoke for armstrong, stayed overnight, drove back non stop to Ottawa the next day, never bought any gas or anything else along either way, and the kicker, only ate twice in that entire time span..... ha ha ha ha ha ha….Mike Duffy! Boy, duffy must have wanted armstrong elected real bad to do all that for $409.91, taxes included, and not eat too. Somebody is hiding something.

  • sparky
    May 19, 2013 - 17:08

    They didn't post my comment on here. I guess you can't point out the fact that the taxpayer obviously paid for Duffy's flight. So Mr. Armstrong is incorrect in his statements. JMO

  • Fuzzy Bear
    May 19, 2013 - 16:33

    Simple, Not Reformed.........ABOLISHED!!! Lets elect our MP's and get rid of them as soon as they do what their party demands and not what their constitutants want. People we can remove them through the democratic process! This senate is a joke and a thing of the past not to mention a total waste of taxpayers dollars. They are supposed to be there to watch over the elected officials but no one watches over them. Their time has come and gone with the horse and buggy...GET RID OF THEM!!!

  • Always Around
    May 19, 2013 - 14:39

    The controversy over Senator Mike Duffy’s expense claims is adding cannon fodder for not re-electing Conservative MP Scott Armstrong. The Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley MP said Friday he has long believed the Senate needs to be either elected by Canadians or abolished, and yet, in long believing that, Armstrong chose to hook his bandwagon to senator duffy as far back as 2009, using duffy in truro as a headliner at an armstrong tory byelection fundraiser. Since then, armstrong has continued to milk the relationship with duffy not only up through his 2011 re-election, but up to this very scandel if armstrongs recently removed facebook pictures of him and his staff partying with both duffy and the pm are any indication. It is odd Armstrong has failed to disclose he has been involved personally with Mike Duffy since 2009. …….Armstrong says his position on the senate is no secret, “There have been a lot of incidents in the Senate over the years. The problem is it’s unaccountable. That’s the problem. They’re appointed and they’re there until they’re 75. They’re not accountable.” So, why would Armstrong choose to use the Senator to get elected? Perhaps his own greed to get elected at any cost. ……Armstrong confirmed the senator and former journalist appeared at a pair of campaign events in Amherst and Truro in April 2011, but said he’s not aware of Duffy claiming expenses for those. Deloitte’s recent audit does show on April 21 that duffy did make senate expense claim on that particular day. Armstrong’s campaign only paid Duffy $409.91 in expenses for duffy to come from Ottawa, ottawa! Armstrongs admission, “He came here during the campaign and under the Elections Canada rules you have to cover their expenses as a campaign expense,” Armstrong said. “We are required by law to do that. He stayed overnight in a hotel in Truro, there were two meals and car rental. It has to come out of the political campaign expenses and that’s how it was done.” A logical person would surely question the small amount $409.91 charged for a canadian senators official appearance to come from ottawa, and one would think a logical person would certainly inquire if that was all the bill was, $409.91, or if there were any other costs that may not be included, such as airfare, transfers,etc. Did Armstrong think Duffy could fly out here and campaign for him on that small amount of $409.91?. Actually, Armstrong, didn’t care, not his problem. If he or anyone involved did care to inquire, armstrong was probably told it was looked after, such as, save your money for your own campaign, the senate/taxpayers will pay to get duffy out there, or he may have been told that the financially strapped duffy was paying his other expenses out of the kindness of his heart to get to truro to help Scott, yeah right! Armstrong is no political dummy, often bragging of politicking since a child. Armstrong and his team knew, self admittingly, what ever happened, “ they”, as he and duffy, would not be accountable. ……The Conservative MP, who is also the chairman of the Atlantic caucus chair, said senators don’t have the oversight and transparency that’s in the House of Commons. However, this is not true, according to Paul MacLeod of the ottawa bureau, in a story published dated march 13, in the chronicle herald, House of Commons faces its own expense controversy, macleod stated that after the recent scandal around Senate expenses, you would never guess the Red Chamber is actually more transparent than the House of Commons. In fact, I wonder - question armstrongs expenses, and the use of his federally paid staff to influence and interfere with ns provincial politics on an ongoing basis on the federal taxpayer dime. …..Armstrong is no better than Duffy, a big pig at the trough, a do whatever your told politician in order to get to belong to harpers private club and hang out with them . Armstrong should take note, according to his boss Stephen Harper, a teacher is not fit to lead canadians, well, that being said, armstrong just happens to be a teacher, and may not be the best fit to lead the constituents of ccmv. No wonder Armstrong didn’t want the Justin Trudeau 10 percenter being distributed in his riding. I bet Duffy won’t be at Armstrongs next fundraiser.

  • Lae
    May 19, 2013 - 13:21

    So contrived- the Cons want Senate reform and will get it anyway then can. Why else who they have nominated these buffoons into the Senate if not to cause a scandal that would reach out to average Canadians and bring them on board. Of course Cons want to eliminate the only legislative body that keeps the current "Harper Government" in check. Scott Armstrong is a nice guy- but he'd tow the party line especially if it could mean a cabinet post :(

  • Smcg
    May 19, 2013 - 04:23

    One thing I observe about the Transcontinental papers, if the comments don't support the reporter and editor's points of view, the comments never see the light of day. Another reason why I will never renew my subscription to the paper.

  • SMcG
    May 18, 2013 - 22:03

    This man appears to have become Harper's new mouth piece. Armstrong wants a cabinet post so bad he can taste it.

  • Sam
    May 18, 2013 - 19:56

    Is that really a Conservative MP??? Really?? I am shocked that even one of them would in any way express the truth about the senate. Maybe there is an ounce of ethics in Ottawa after all.

  • sparky
    May 18, 2013 - 19:45

    Really Mr. Armstrong? Just one question, who paid for his flight?

  • chief wiggam
    May 18, 2013 - 17:20

    Canada needs reform from the prime ministers office.

  • Jeff Johnston
    May 18, 2013 - 14:52

    Mr . Darth Armstrong wants to abolish the senate ? Who does he think he is , Darth Vader ? Adolf Hitler ? We need the senate as a second legislative body to act as a check and balance . We should have a provincial senate and local government senates as well . Divisions of power to keep the government in check . Especially with the fascist , control freak mindset of today .

  • wilson
    May 18, 2013 - 13:42

    Time to put an end to the lazy accounting procedure: per diem expense charges, no receipt no pay. And that change should apply to every public servant, every Crown Corp, MP and Senator. Taxpayers have a right to know where every penny of OUR money, to the last paperclip, is spent.

  • Daisee
    May 18, 2013 - 12:23

    The scandal net should be broadened to include those on the senate committee that attempted to mislead the senate and Canadian people by sanitizing the audit and are now going to review the doctored documents they fixed in the first place. Duh.