Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: The Real Scandal in the Senate Is -- the Senate

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: The Real Scandal in the Senate Is -- the Senate

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: The real scandal in the Senate is -- the Senate


An editorial from the Waterloo Region Record, published Oct. 30:

Scandal, schmandal.

I have spent weeks trying in vain to understand just what the kerfuffle in the Canadian Senate really means.

All I've been able to come up with is that four senators -- three Conservatives and a Liberal, who has since removed himself -- made expense claims that they weren't entitled to. Now they have to pay it back. Big deal.

The media are having a field day with the revelations in the Senate, but it's all so much hot air when you look closely. Senator Mike Duffy made a stir this week when he started throwing mud at the Prime Minister's Office.

He alleged the office was guilty of "monstrous fraud." Strong words, when you consider that Duffy accepted a cheque for $90,000 earlier this year from Nigel Wright in that office to help him pay back his disallowed expenses. (Wright has since resigned from his job, said the money was his own, and asserts the Prime Minister didn't know about it.) Later, Duffy lied to journalists and the public, asserting that he had taken out a personal loan to make the repayment. He said he told the story under pressure from that office.

This week, Duffy revealed to his raptly attentive audience that Wright's cheque had not been the only one. There had been a second cheque (gasps all round), this time to help him pay for his legal bill -- and that cheque had come from the Conservative Party lawyer!

But so what? That political parties come to the aid of their members who are in legal trouble ought not to be a surprise. That Mike Duffy fiddled his expenses by pretending to reside in Prince Edward Island when he really just owns a cottage there, and that his response to being found out was to tell a whopper to the public and attack his former pals in government -- well, it all speaks volumes about the guy, doesn't it?

But how is it a bona fide scandal? It's not as if Duffy is getting away with it. The RCMP are investigating him for fraud and breach of trust. He faces censure from Senate colleagues. Taxpayers are getting their money back. …

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