Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Sen. Mike Duffy Back on Parliament Hill after Sensational Acquittal

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Sen. Mike Duffy Back on Parliament Hill after Sensational Acquittal

Article excerpt

Sen. Mike Duffy back on Parliament Hill

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OTTAWA - For the first time in more than two years, Sen. Mike Duffy returned to Parliament Hill on Monday after the end of his long-running legal odyssey.

Much as he has done since his trial began last year, Duffy stayed mum as he passed through the Senate doors to the Centre Block, adding to the suspense for Tuesday's Senate sitting when he can take his seat in the upper chamber -- and say whatever he wants under the blanket of parliamentary privilege.

Duffy's return to the Hill comes less than two weeks after his marathon trial ended in a sensational acquittal on all 31 fraud, breach of trust and bribery charges he'd been facing.

Duffy was suspended from the Senate over his expense troubles, but the suspension was lifted when Parliament was dissolved last summer in anticipation of the 2015 federal election.

His case marks the first time that a senator has been charged, tried and acquitted, paving the way for questions about whether the Senate jumped the gun on stripping Duffy of his salary before due process had been allowed to run its course

Duffy lost out on more than $250,000 in salary during his suspension -- money that his lawyer has argued Duffy should be paid after his acquittal.

His former Conservative colleague Sen. Linda Frum disagreed Monday.

"The Senate made a decision about his salary; it was part of a sanctions process against Sen. Duffy, and that sanctions process took place, and that's the end of that story," said Frum, who was one of those who voted in support of the suspension.

Nonetheless, he has "every right to be here," she said, adding, "I hope he'll devote himself to his job with a kind of integrity that perhaps was missing in the past."

Duffy getting his salary or pension back would require a motion to the Senate, which could be moved by any senator, himself included. The Senate as a whole would have to vote on the motion, just as it did on the vote to suspend.

The Senate has already allowed Sen. Pamela Wallin, also suspended over her own expense controversy, to start accruing time needed to qualify for a pension -- a clock that remains stopped for Duffy and Sen. …

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