Dynamite Duffy: The speech that stunned the Senate

Mike Duffy
Senator Mike Duffy arrives outside the Centre Block on Oct. 22, 2013 (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Senate Hansard will have the official version tomorrow but, in the meantime, worth reading from start to finish: Here are the draft remarks Senator Mike Duffy took with him into the Senate earlier this evening (the remarks were distributed to reporters by Duffy’s office):

Honourable Senators;

I rise today against the orders of my doctors who fear my heart condition has worsened after months of unrelenting stress.
But given the unprecedented nature of today’s proceedings, I feel I have no other choice than to come here to defend my good name.
Like you, I took a solemn oath to put the interests of Canadians ahead of all else.
However the sad truth is, I allowed myself to be intimidated into doing what I knew in my heart was wrong, out of a fear of losing my job, and a misguided sense of loyalty.
Much has been made of the $90 thousand dollar cheque from Nigel Wright.
I hope I’ll be able to give an explanation of the chain of events, and the circumstances surrounding that gift, without impinging on the rights of others to a fair trial should criminal proceedings follow.
Let me summarize it this way:
December 3rd, 2012, The Ottawa Citizen ran a story asking how I could claim expenses for my house in Kanata, when I had owned the home before I was appointed to the Senate? The inference was clear. I was doing something wrong.
I immediately contacted Nigel Wright, the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff and explained that I was doing nothing improper.
Nigel Wright emailed me back, saying he’d had my expenses checked and he was satisfied that my accounts were in order. That all was in compliance with Senate rules.
In fact he said there were several other Senators in the same situation, and that this was a smear.
Following the PMO’s advice, I ignored the media.
But the attacks from Postmedia continued, and the political heat escalated.
So after caucus on Feb. 13th I met the Prime Minister and Nigel Wright.
Just the three of us.
I said that despite the smear in the papers, I had not broken the rules.
But the Prime Minister wasn’t interested in explanations or the truth.
It’s not about what you did. It’s about the perception of what you did that has been created by the media.
The rules are inexplicable to our base.
I argued I was just following the rules, like all the others.
It didn’t work. I was ordered — by the Prime Minister — to “pay the money back!” End of discussion. Nigel Wright was present throughout.
Just the 3 of us.
The next week, while I was at home in PEI, I had a series of discussions with Nigel Wright.
I said I didn’t believe I had broken the rules, and that to repay would be an admission of guilt.
Canadians know me as an honest guy. To pay back money I didn’t owe, would destroy my reputation.
The PMO piled on the pressure.
Some honourable Senators called me in PEI; — one Senator, and he knows who he is, left several particularly nasty, menacing messages. Do what the Prime Minister wants! “Do it for the PM and for the good of the party.”
I continued to resist. Finally the message from the PMO became “do what we want or else.” And what was the “else?”
I was told the Conservative majority on the steering committee of the Board of Internal Economy – Senators Tkachuk and Stewart-Olson, would issue a press release declaring me unqualified to sit in the Senate.
However, if you do what we want, the Prime Minister will publicly confirm you are entitled to sit as a Senator from PEI, and you won’t lose your seat.
Tkachuk and Stewart-Olsen are ready to make that release now.
They have no power to do that!
Agree to what we want right now, or else.
I made one last effort to dissuade the PMO and save my good name.
I don’t believe I owe anything, and besides which I don’t have $90 thousand dollars!
Don’t worry, Nigel said, I will write the cheque.
Let the lawyers handle the details, you just follow the plan, and we’ll keep Carolyn Stewart-Olson and David Tkachuk at bay.
There were elaborate undertakings which were negotiated among the several lawyers involved who were taking instructions from their clients. Lawyers for the PMO, for the Conservative Party and me.
There was an undertaking made by the pmo, with the agreement of the senate leadership, that I would not be audited by Deloitte – that I would get a pass;
and further that if this phoney scheme ever became public, Senator LeBreton, the government leader of the day would whip the Conservative caucus to prevent my expulsion from the chamber.
PMO officials said it wasn’t easy to get this commitment from Senators LeBreton, Tkachuk and Stewart-Olsen.
The e-mail chain shows it took hours of shuttling back and forth as the lawyers checked with their principals about the guarantees they would give to ensure I wasn’t censured for going along with this PMO scheme.
Given all of these emails you can imagine my shock when I heard there was not a single document about these negotiations to be found in the PMO. That’s right; in response to an Access to Information request, CBC was told there is not a single document in the pmo related to this matter.
Well, if they’re not in the PMO, they are in the hands of my lawyers, and apparently in the hands of police.
Why not release these documents now?
Because the people involved have rights, which under our system must be protected.
Are the police looking at possible criminal charges? Bribery, threats and extortion of a sitting legislator?
This is serious stuff and the people who were involved – more than those mentioned here today, deserve to have their rights protected. It’s the Canadian way.
It will all come out in due course, when all of the players are under oath and the email chain can be seen in its entirety.
In the interim, Deloitte reported to the Board of Internal Economy.
After combing my living expense claims, my travel claims, Senate air travel, my cell phone records and Senate Amex; Deloitte found I had not violated the Senate rules.
Then in May, after someone leaked selected excerpts of a confidential email I had sent to my lawyer voicing my concern about the deal, the PMO was back with a vengeance.
I was called at home in Cavendish by Ray Novak, senior aide to Prime Minister Harper. He had with him Senator LeBreton, Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Senator LeBreton was emphatic. The deal was off.
If I didn’t resign from the Conservative caucus within 90 minutes, I would be thrown out of the caucus immediately. Without a meeting – without a vote. In addition she said if I didn’t quit the caucus immediately, I would be sent to the ethics committee with orders from the leadership to throw me out of the Senate.
With Ray Novak and my wife and sister listening, Senator LeBreton was insistent “you’ve got to do this Mike, do what I’m telling you, quit the caucus within the next 90 minutes! It is the only way to save your pay cheque.”
I understand that caucus disputes are internal, and not a matter for the Senate.
However when one’s status as a Senator is repeatedly threatened, I believe this amounts to an attack on my independence as a Senator, and is criminal, or at the very least a serious violation of my privileges.
Colleagues, like you, this kind of politics is NOT why I came to the Senate of Canada. It is not millions of Canadians vote for the Conservative Party.
I came here to build a better country; to use my experience as a journalist to help build a better PEI.
I want to continue my hard work for the Island, and I can only do that if you follow due process.
Honourable Senators, this particular motion, should it pass, will be a serious violation of my human rights—including the most fundamental right of all—to be considered innocent until proven guilty.

That’s a basic right in our democracy—in the words of the Bill of Rights Act of 1960, one of great Tory accomplishments in my lifetime, and in my view, John Diefenbaker’s most important legacy, we are all entitled to “Fundamental Justice.”
This motion is in direct conflict with any sense of “fundamental justice.”
I remind honourable Senators, that right to fundamental justice was further enshrined in Mr. Trudeau’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982.
I have done nothing wrong, violated no laws, and worked very hard to fulfil my duties as a Senator from my beloved Prince Edward Island.
Let me repeat: Deloitte investigated. And their audit of expenses related to my home on PEI, did not find wrongdoing. They said I had not broken Senate rules.
It was the 15 members of the Senate’s Board of Internal Economy who refused to accept the determination of the independent auditors at Deloitte. Why, I still don’t understand.
And those same Senators sit in judgement of me today?
Let me be clear: I violated no laws, I followed rules as they then were. And I never received a single note from Senate Finance or the leadership that suggested there was anything amiss.
Serving in this Chamber has been, I repeat, the greatest public/professional honour I have ever had—why would I want to subvert it or discredit in any way? I did not and I do not.
Needless to say, I agree strongly with the remarks made on the weekend by Senator Segal—this motion is something one might expect to see in Iraq, or Iran or in Vladimir Putin’s Russia—not in democratic Canada.
It is not, I repeat, It is not fundamental justice. Mr. Diefenbaker, and Mr. Trudeau, were they here today, would be mortified.
I urge you to defeat these motions and preserve our democratic, free and just Canada.
Hon. senators, my friends and especially my former colleagues; today you are facing the same choice I did back in February.
Be a team player and go along with the pmo and the senate leadership?
Or stand up, and do your constitutional duty.
I fervently wish I had had the courage to say NO back in February when this monstrous political stunt was first proposed.
Today you have an opportunity to stand strong, and use your power to restrain the unaccountable power of the PMO.
I urge you to say no to these outrageous motions. Tell the whips, my oath as a Senator is to put Canada first, and that comes before my loyalty to my party or leader.
Canadians are watching.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

12 thoughts on “Dynamite Duffy: The speech that stunned the Senate”

  1. Wowwww! Harper is truly an asshole (I’ve said this before, but here’s the proof). He’d rather bribe and bully a senator than be bothered to explain it to his base? Says a lot about his base, doesn’t it.

  2. Shall we not forget LeBreton told reporters that “she KNEW for years of Liberal senators making false claims” but did nothing, when in fact it was her JOB to do so?

    Duffy was foolish to think the promises of leBreton, Tkachuk , Olsen, Wright and harper himself when he was told to not worry about “expensing” things to the Senate. That was his reward for campaigning for the Conservative Party of Canada, and the details: (read covering his expenses so the CPC would be billing taxpayers for its campaign financing) would be hidden by above senior conservative senators

    Basically Duffy has exposed the fact that harper is using taxpayer money for campaigning, plain and simple. end of story.

  3. I think I should be outraged, but my main feeling is sadness. Deloitte seemed to think the residency rules were murky, so we’re left with the crime of CPC campaigning expensed to the citizens, and I have little doubt more of that will be found.

    Sad that a sick old man is being thrown under the bus again, after being stomped on by those who made use of him for their own gain. (election)

    Sad that the ruling regime has reached the nadir of decency, to toss a loyal colleague, not for any crimes, but because the PM thought his base is too stupid to learn, as the rest of us have, that the rules in the Senate aren’t rules at all.

    Sad that we have an emperor, a dictator, who has dumped his “values”, if indeed he ever had any really, to maintain power. In this PM Harper isn’t alone, but never has anyone gone to such lengths to mislead, prevaricate, okay, lie, so often to make citizens think white is black.

    The Senate is only a minor issue. Larger is Harper’s judgement in appointing Wallin, Duffy, and Brazeau. His arrogance is such that he saw them as nothing more than bots that could help him get elected, and took no notice of their personalities, their lives or loyalty. The Senate can be reformed by applying intelligible, clearly worded rules, openness in spending, and a job description. for starters.

    I hope his base sees through his facade of perfection. Or, is Harper right, and they are stupid?

    It’s all too sad.

  4. after 6 months in office ALL are crooked. They cannot say no otherwise they will become the scapegoat. It is simply a matter of greed. it is very easy to spend someone elses money. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
    politics is greed/me first. If you are not crooked when you start you are crooked 6 months later.
    Every step of government from the PM to the mayors and council member in little towns.
    I would like to see the names of those NOT guilty of some sort of crookedness.
    Regular taxpayers would never get away with these things…..jail for sure

    1. I totally agree, some may enter politics with good intentions, but it doesn’t take long to realize how easy it is to take advantage. It’s a human trait, that’s why clear rules, consequences and transparency is so necessary.

  5. Normally we would hear the phrase “God Bless Canada” BUT since Harper arrived on the scene what you probably hear from most of the common Canadian folk is “PLEASE God “HELP” Canada” and protect it and us from the lies and the corrupting influence of people and persons who would destroy Canada

  6. This speech reminds me of a “Little Britain” episode where a politician is caught out and crafts a ridiculous, detailed and hilarious response with his loyal wife and family by his side. The thing that I resent most is that politicians must truly believe their constituents are gullible, naive and will swallow their stupid excuses when they are caught. That’s because there are rarely any meaningful consequences. Why is Duffy crying poverty and saying he won’t be able to pay for his heart meds if he is suspended. What the heck did he do with all his money? He should be comfortably off at his age with the life and income he has had. Ridiculous.

  7. Prime Minister and PMO Scandal
    Whilst there are issues with the conduct of The Senate and Senators the latter pales in comparison with the conduct of the PM and PMO. There is now very substantive reason to suspect that the PM and PMO are very capable of resorting to criminal activity such as threat, extortion and manipulation of the parliamentary process in the pursuit of their agenda. It does not go unnoticed that this administration repeatedly resorts to stonewalling and obfuscation when challenged during Question Period in The House. A simple request to give evidence under oath on The Senate affair is beyond the accountability of this PM. What else is this administration capable of? What are we to think of the CPC parliamentarians that are solidly behind the conduct of the PM and PMO?
    There is no question that this is now much more than a Senate Scandal, it is a PM and PMO Scandal, perhaps more.

  8. Harper has to go, he has lied to the Citizens repeatedly on various issues, he has tolerated a multitude of flagrant abuses of power & waste by members of his caucus ie: Tony “Gazebo” Clements scammed 50 million dollars from Canadians border security fund to build gazebo etc. in his riding, then he got caught pretty much with a 24 hr Limo service,the list goes on. 3billion dollars of Canadian taxpayers money missing??? Whats That!!
    Harper is not fit to govern, he himself takes a $42,000 junket to a Boston hockey game on the taxpayers dime, most recently he states he was invited to speak at a event in New York city, another LIE!!!turns out Canadian citizens were hosting this event at a cost of $60,000-70,000 for Harper to promote his pipeline buddies Keystone project.
    If you peel back the skin on this rotten banana called Prime Minister Harper you will find a multitude of bad character judgment or politically favoring, whatever you want to call it,a never ending trail of lies & a true 100% coward who throws his underlings under the bus to protect his own sick & twisted self. If anyone needs to be kicked out of Ottawa, it is Stephen Harper, what a louse.

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