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Mike Duffy

Pro Tip: Cameras for Politicians

Ever since working at Don’s Photo, I have been contacted by politicians on both sides of the political spectrum and asked what kind of camera they should be using.  Basically they want something small but takes better photos than the $129 camera they have now.  While Brad Wall might have an entourage to make him look good, even cabinet ministers do things by themselves and don’t have a camera crew surrounding them.

Here are my two picks

Sony RX-100 / Sony RX-100 II

Sony RX-100 II

The Sony RX-100 and RX-100 II are the two best compact cameras on the market.  They are amazing in low light which is where you spend most of your time.  I am not talking about back rooms or seedy hotel rooms but rather indoors like your office or in community centres for photo ops.  That is where this camera excels.  In fact the New York Times called it the best camera they had ever seen.

The problem with these camera is that the RX-100 is around $650 and the RX-100 II is $850.  I think they are worth it but unless you are in Alison Redford’s cabinet, you can’t expense something like that or you would have the Canadian Taxpayers Federation all over you.  The last thing you want is to be the person that took the media focus off of Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin.

So if you are going to get one, make sure you pay for it out of your salary or get your constituency organization to pick it up.  To be honest, you will like this camera so much that you will want to pick it up yourself.

Canon S120 (or S200)

Canon S120

Canon also has an amazing compact camera optimized for low light and that is the Canon S120.  It’s smaller than the RX-100 but has a good build quality and fast f1.8 lens.   It has a powerful image processor and can be found on sale for around $350.  The S200 has a slightly slower lens (f2) but can be had for $250.  The best value may be the older S110 which can be had for $250 but still has the faster lens that the updated S120 does.  The Canon has slightly more zoom but the Sony is faster zoomed out (giving you better photos when zoomed out)

Both cameras are small enough to go anywhere but more importantly are powerful enough to take good photos of you and the event you are at in poor light without a flash.  They also take 1080p video at nearly broadcast quality (which would have helped Stephane Dion the night he gave his ill-fated coalition speech).  With metal build quality, they will also stand up the wear and tear of the rubber chicken circuit (even if you won’t).

If you are a politician and rely on good photos as part of your public image, ditch the camera that you have, put down your iPhone and get one of these, preferably from your local camera shop.

In case you were wondering

This is why Mike Duffy was named to the Canadian senate

A good man caught in an ugly world

Kelly MacParland on Nigel Wright

I’ve never met Nigel Wright, and all I know of him is what I’ve read. But after consuming the 80-page, minutely detailed RCMP document released Wednesday, I have to say I sympathize with the guy. He comes across in the document just as his defenders have described him: capable, dedicated, “a person of good faith, of competence, with high ethical standards,” as Jason Kenney put it. You get the impression of a man who found himself in a rat’s nest, and tried to keep one of the rats from destroying himself. Instead, he got destroyed too.

That’s not the sentiment you’re supposed to have towards Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff. You’re supposed to denounce him as the Machiavellian hand behind the dark and devious manipulations that helped bring a corrupt Senate to public disgrace. His great sin, personally paying off $90,000 in expense claims made by Mike Duffy, was a monumental mistake. But you can understand how he got there after months of maddening efforts to achieve what must have seemed a simple quest: getting Duffy to repay the $90,000 he’d claimed in inappropriate housing and other expenses.

From the start, Wright doesn’t think Duffy has broken any laws. The Senate rules on “primary” residence are such that Duffy may be able to justify a claim that, legally, he’s done nothing wrong. “I…believe that Mike was doing what people told him he should do, without thinking about it too much,” he relates in one message. But Wright is convinced it’s a clear ethical breach and Duffy is morally bound to repay the money. It’s getting the senator to admit as much that causes the headaches.

In an interview with RCMP Cpl. Greg Horton, who headed the investigation and prepared the exhaustive outline, Wright reveals that since joining the Prime Minister’s Office he hasn’t filed a single expense claim, paying all his flights, hotels, meals and other costs from his own pocket. It has already cost him tens of thousands of dollars, but, thanks to his corporate career, he can afford it, and, Horton writes, “it is his global view and contribution to public policy that taxpayers not bear the cost of his position if he can legitimately afford to fund it himself.” He gives the same reason for his fatal decision to write a cheque to cover Duffy’s expenses, after concluding Duffy legitimately didn’t have the money: “He did not view it as something out of the norm for him to do, and was part of being a good person. He said it was a personal decision, and he did not want a lot of people to know about it.”

Fascinating read.  You have a sympathetic figure in Nigel Wright, the devious and self serving Mike Duffy and then the rather incompetent Senate.  No wonder why Harper wants is abolished.  They can’t even execute a scandal right.

Saskatoon Afternoon’s 5:15 p.m. Roundtable

Broadcasting from 650 CKOM with David Kirton and Ian Goodwillie on the Saskatoon Afternoon show.  We talk Nigel Wright and a teen arrested for a ill-worded Facebook post.

Listen Live

The ‘Trained Seals’ strike back

But only because the PMO told them they could

Government backbenchers attacked MP Brent Rathgeber, who quit the caucus last week after saying the Conservatives have “morphed into what we have once mocked.”

Within 24 hours of Mr. Rathgeber’s (Edmonton-St. Albert, Alta.) exit from the Conservative caucus, members of the government’s backbenches began to take aim at the now Independent MP by disputing his comments and questioning his professionalism.

“He can’t get along with people in the sandbox,” said Tory MP Greg Rickford (Kenora, Ont.), Parliamentary Secretary for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. “Brent spoke for himself. He’s always been that way. As a provincial legislator he couldn’t get along with people.”

Mr. Rickford told The Hill Times that he “didn’t appreciate” statements made by Mr. Rathgeber following the announcement of his resignation late last Wednesday evening.

Mr. Rathgeber announced his resignation from the Conservative caucus on June 5 on Twitter, hours after the Conservative-dominated House Access to Information, Privacy, and Ethics Committee amended his private member’s bill, Bill C-461, which would have required the annual salaries of public servants in excess of $188,000 to be made public. Conservative members of the committee raised the disclosure threshold to $444,000.

This amendment, dubbed by Mr. Rathgeber as “the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back,” led the Alberta MP to announce his resignation from Conservative caucus late Wednesday night.

The morning after announcing his resignation from the Tory caucus, Mr. Rathgeber wrote on his blog that the “Government’s lack of support for my transparency bill is tantamount to a lack of support for transparency and open government generally.”

On his blog, Mr. Rathgeber wrote that the $188,000 salary was a compromise itself, and noted that various provinces have “sunshine laws” that disclose the names and departments of individuals that make upwards of $100,000.

“Even setting the benchmark significantly higher than any of the provinces that maintain ‘Sunshine Lists’ was apparently not supportable by a Cabinet intent on not disclosing how much it pays its senior advisors,” wrote Mr. Rathgeber.

He also identified the controversy surrounding Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) former chief of staff Nigel Wright, and the $90,000 cheque Mr. Wright gave to Senator Mike Duffy to cover ineligible expense claims as a contributing factor to his decision to leave the Conservative caucus.

“We have morphed into what we have once mocked,” he wrote.

Mr. Rathgeber ended the scathing blog post by writing, “I no longer recognize much of the party that I joined and whose principles (at least on paper), I still believe in. Accordingly, since I can no longer stand with them, I must now stand alone.”

In a press conference following his arrival in Edmonton on June 6, Mr. Rathgeber blasted PMO staffers for controlling MPs as though they were “trained seals,” although he said he supported Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest, Alta.).

First of all Rathgeber is totally right.  Backbench MPs are trained seals which means that many talented people will not choose to run for office because they don’t want to have every speech vetted by the PMO and have no input in on government decisions ever.  

Then you get a cycle were because talented people aren’t interested in becoming MPs so you are left with many MPs from both parties who are minor league quality which of course requires more PMO oversight which then discourages competent people to run.  Eventually you get to a situation where trained seals could do the job of many MPs as long as they can sign off on the ten percenters.

The reason why people got upset with Rathgeber is because it hit close to home.  That and the PMO told them to be upset.  Then it gave them a fish as a reward.

Worst Father of the Year nominations are now open

Of course there had to be some negative feedback for allowing Mark to review the 2013 Ford Explorer.  It basically revolved around the idea that somehow a brand was going to ruin Mark’s life and I think take his virginity.  Before we nominate me (again) for the worst father of the year award, let’s get the facts straight.

Ford, through a public relations firm, gives me cars to review with no strings attached.  Well there are some strings.  I am pretty sure I am not allowed to enter them into a demolition derby or street race though Saskatoon.  I get them for a week or two and then pass them on to another reviewer.  If there is a string attached, I am often asked to arrange the transfer with the other reviewer which lately has been Jeff Jackson.  I sometimes pick up the car from Chris Enns.  We occasionally have lunch or coffee while trying to figure out how to keep the vehicles longer (it never works)  Once in a while there are tears like when I gave back the Ford Escape.

Of course Ford wants favourable reviews.  All companies do.  No one wants to hear that the product is a piece of crap.  If Ford gave me a vehicle that was a piece of garbage, I would say that.  I have no problem with that.  I wasn’t overly fond of the Lincoln I tested and I said it.  I loved the Ford Escape more than anything I have ever driven, I wrote that too. 

When Mark came to me and said, “I want to review the Ford Explorer.”  I pointed out that he can’t drive but he wanted to anyway.  We talked about what a review was and the need for him to be really honest, even if Ford didn’t like it.  We talked about integrity.  We also talked about being a jerk because it played well on the internet and how he probably shouldn’t be that guy.

Like anything he posts online, he has to write it out because his handwriting stinks and he is in grade seven.  Handwriting matters.  He then typed up the review in Libre Office.  That was harder than handwriting it because children aren’t taught typing until grade nine.  When it started typing the review, it was a 2008 Ford Explorer he was reviewing, it was a 2013 when he finished up.  Then I finally finally edited it.  Like any young writer he struggles with sarcasm and often can sound mean, especially when talking about his little brother.  It’s why I often say, “don’t tweet that”.  With a perverse pleasure, I watched him struggle with a couple of paragraphs that “didn’t sound right”.  Welcome to my world.

We then went outside (with his camera) and took some photos.  Oliver at that point had to get into the shot and with Mark’s permission, I took some photos of Oliver in the Explorer with him.  We then put the post together with Windows Live Writer and uploaded the post.  It took Mark a long time but he had a really clear idea of how he wanted the post to look.  I was glad he took the time even if I think some of it was stalling to stay up later than his bed time.

Mark’s blog automatically posted the review to Twitter.  Mark had mentioned that he planned to review the Explorer the day before and some of Ford’s social media people asked him to tweet them the review.  One of the best parts of reviewing the Ford’s are their social media team and they were great to Mark.  While the response from Ford to the review was great, what was good about the experience was that Mark learned a lot about research, writing, and the importance of integrity in your writing (it also helped to have Mike Duffy as a comparison during this time).  He also learned through Ford’s social media team that big companies can have a human voice.

I am not really that interested in protecting Mark from this work than I am helping him navigate it.  Sometimes what I do freak people out (it bothers some of our neighbours that Mark is allowed to walk the two blocks to Safeway to visit Wendy by himself and others are unnerved that he was allowed to walk down to Riversdale or downtown to see me after school).  Now some others are unnerved that he wrote something for a (gasp) brand.  He figured out how to navigate the westside.  He is now figuring out how to talk about products.  I think he will be okay.

Don Martin eviscerates Mike Duffy

Don Martin takes on Mike Duffy and just destroys him.  There is nothing left be said.

He called him a partisan shrill, a fake friend, a fake journalist, a fake senator, and according to former Prime Ministers and aides, a fake Conservative.

I can’t imagine having my friends saying this about me.  Then again, I have never done what Mike Duffy has.

Here is Don Martin on Mike Duffy from a couple of years ago

It takes considerable effort to become a complete embarrassment.

Congratulations Senator Mike Duffy, you’ve finally done it.

With his wild rant on a CBC national politics show this week, the television icon has accomplished the difficult feat of offending all those in his parliamentary orbit — his former journalistic occupation, the Conservative party, senators, MPs and even the prime minister who appointed him.

A New Democrat MP’s revelation that the 27 senators given their seats by ‘I’ll-never-appoint-senators’ Prime Minister Stephen Harper would eventually cost $177-million plus expenses is fair political game.

And, MP Peter Stoffer noted in passing, Senator Duffy racked up $44,000 in travel costs during just three months of unelected service in the Red Chamber.

Poor Mike Duffy. While he relishes his star profile on Conservative fundraising tours, he gets all twisted and bitter when it attracts enemy fire.

So instead of a rational discussion on the value of the new senators to reforming the process, a tuxedo-sporting Duffy appeared on Thursday’s Power and Politics show to interrupt, insult and fire innuendo at Stoffer, snarling in disgust as he blasted the popular MP as a ‘faker’.

Now, Duffy calling someone a faker equals pot calling the kettle black.

This is the same Duffy who, as host of his own politics show, presented himself for decades as journalistically neutral, then accepted Harper’s $130,000 appointment ten months ago and now devotes his energies to shamelessly shilling for the Conservatives.

That’s the definition of fakery for you, particularly given he was appointed after airing that infamous CTV interview with then-Liberal leader Stephane Dion, a bumbling performance credited by some as the turning point of the 2008 election campaign for Stephen Harper.

Martin was taking on Duffy before it was cool to do so.

Duffy is out of friends

Stephen Maher on Mike Duffy

In 2004, when I arrived in Ottawa to cover politics for the Halifax Chronicle Herald, I was lucky to get a desk in the press gallery between Maurice Godin, a canny Radio-Canada veteran, and Mike Duffy, who was then the host of CTV’s political show.

Both Godin and Duffy were kind to the East Coast greenhorn, and since Godin was on the Hill in the morning and Duffy in the afternoon, I was often able to get help with a story from two of the best reporters on the Hill without leaving my desk.

I got to be friends with Duffy, a twinkly-eyed storyteller with a love for gossip and cold white wine.

He was kind enough to have me on his show a few times, including the night of Oct. 9, 2008, when CTV decided to air some outtakes from an interview in which Liberal leader Stephane Dion struggled to answer a confusing question.

I thought CTV was right to air the clip, since Dion wanted to be prime minister, but I thought Duffy’s take on the interview was way over the top. He treated it like the biggest gaffe since Robert Stanfield fumbled a football, and I’m embarrassed to say I squirmed through the panel discussion without saying that.

Duffy was in the tank for the Tories because he wanted Harper to appoint him to the Senate.

Saying Duffy did the Dion interview to get in the Senate was like suggesting that Steve Smith scored on his own goal in 1986 because he wanted to play for the Calgary Flames.

(that video never gets old)

Bonus link: Here is a video of what looks to be an intoxicated Mike Duffy attacking MPs and the Canadian Press.  The best part of the video is Duffy attacking Peter Stoffer on his expenses while defending his own.

Another Mike Duffy leak

It just keeps getting worse for Mike Duffy

Six months after he was appointed to the Senate, Mike Duffy was in consultations with Conservatives about an expanded role in the party and expectations of increased compensation, including his own suggestion he be named a minister without portfolio to get a car and staff, according to an email exchange obtained by CBC News.

The email, with the subject line “Duff” and dated July 2009, appears to be sent from Duffy’s private email account to an unidentified Conservative supporter.

The email asks for advice about how Duffy should be compensated for what the email calls “my expanded role in the party.” In the message, Duffy says he’ll be speaking with Conservative Senator Irving Gerstein at a Senate golf banquet, but seems to indicate he’d already spoken with Gerstein.

The email goes on, “I suggested they make me a min without portfolio, so I get a staff, car and more resources to deal with the pr fallout etc. he laughed and sid he didn’t think THAT was within the realm of the Cons fund.”

It gets worse for Duffy so make sure you read the entire thing.  My feeling is that there will be an embarrassing email every day until Duffy resigns from the Senate.  It also appears that more than anything that Duffy wanted to be a player in the Conservative Party.  This story will be written about in psychology texts for generations.

Mike Duffy, meet the bus we are going to throw you under

Strong words from Conservative MP Tom Lukiwski (Regina-Lumsden-Lake Centre)

We’re all very, very, very disappointed—some would use stronger language than disappointed—with the actions of some of our Senatorial colleagues but in terms of our House caucus, it’s very good morale. We understand, look there are some problems that need to be addressed without question. No one’s down in the dumps,” he said. “We’re all very unified, we’re very upbeat, and I think that’s an excellent sign. It shows the maturity I think of our caucus.

There’s always time for the prodigal son to repent but they have to show that they’ve learned a lesson. It’s why any solution to the problem won’t include saving the Senate,” the source said. “They gave Duffy the benefit of the doubt, but it’s clear now he didn’t deserve it. He abused it, so the government stopped defending him. Mike Duffy has been revealed to be a morally weak, indiscreet individual not deserving of the office he held. It’s why he will be hounded out of the Senate.

The leak in the Mike Duffy scandal is none other than Mike Duffy

From the Hill Times

“It unravelled because Duffy couldn’t keep quiet. He sent emails all over the city and he told too many people about it and some of them told me,” Mr. Fife told CTV’s Lisa LaFlamme in a talk-back when the story broke that night.

 Unreal and kind of funny at the same time.  Duffy finally gets an out of the problems that he is in and the sinks it because he can’t stop talking about it.

Just a related note.  I can’t see Duffy resigning because what else can he do now?  Would any media outlet touch him?  

The distractions piling up on Stephen Harper’s desk

From John Geddes in Macleans Magazine

Even before the media-shy Wright stumbled unintentionally into the spotlight, the Conservatives had arguably sunk to their lowest point since Harper first won power in 2006. They’ve spent most of 2013 on the defensive over controversies such as companies using a federal immigration program to hire foreign workers instead of Canadians, and an auditor general’s report that found the government couldn’t account for how $3.1 billion earmarked for public security was actually spent. Promised trade deals haven’t been inked. Highly touted pipelines are in doubt. Overall economic growth is tepid. Tory attack ads against Justin Trudeau evidently fizzled, since the Liberals now top the polls under their new leader. And Harper can’t count anymore on lock-step discipline from his MPs, after some defiant Conservative backbenchers recently asserted their right to speak in the House without permission from the party leadership.

No wonder a crisis mood was setting in before an emergency Conservative caucus meeting Harper called early this week to try to first calm, and then rally, his troops. He voiced predictable disappointment over the Senate mess, didn’t dare to mention Wright and then urged his MPs to get back to basics. “Canadians are looking to us to protect them—their jobs, their families, their communities,” he said. “That is what we must be focused on.” Goldy Hyder, long-time Tory insider and president of the public-affairs and -relations firm Hill & Knowlton Canada, says Harper has plenty of time to orchestrate a rebound. After all, this summer will mark only about the midpoint of his first majority term. “The issue,” Hyder says, “is how you use that half-time break to develop a strategy to execute for the second half.”

Harper’s lecture to caucus, which was open to the media, was his first public show of personal attention to a dangerously volatile situation. A more methodical rebuilding effort is expected to begin with a major speech at a Tory policy convention in late June. Later in the summer, he is widely expected to shuffle his cabinet, before a Speech from the Throne next fall recasts his agenda. All this was in the works before Wright’s stunning fall. Now, Harper must strive to stay on track against howls of opposition outrage. The NDP suggests Wright’s decision to cut that fat cheque was linked to a Senate committee’s agreement to soften the more damaging parts of an audit report on Duffy’s expenses. The official Opposition has asked RCMP Commissioner Robert Paulson to investigate. “What we do know is that a secret cheque was written for $90,000,” said NDP ethics critic, Charlie Angus. “And we understand there may have been interference with that Senate report. This suggests a much larger issue that is at the very desk of the Prime Minister.”

Harper finds himself under direct fire after several months of watching many of his top cabinet performers forced into defensive postures. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney had to scramble to announce changes to that Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which he had previously promoted as a big success, after news of companies passing over Canadians to make room for cheaper labour from abroad. Human Resources Minister Diane Finley tabled stricter Employment Insurance eligibility rules last year, but still hasn’t quelled the backlash over the impact on seasonal workers, and now faces the Atlantic-province premiers jointly demanding a halt to the changes. Foreign Minister John Baird is fighting in the United Nations to stave off a bid by Qatar to lure away the prestigious headquarters of the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization from Montreal, but may be hampered by ill will among Arab countries and beyond, generated by Harper’s unbending support for Israel.

Still, foreign affairs, immigration and EI aren’t essential ingredients of the Harper formula. What matters more is his image as a prudent spender of public money and a smart strategist on the economy. Yet his government is looking vulnerable on both those fronts, too. That $3.1-billion gap the auditor general reported in federal accounting has made it difficult lately for Treasury Board President Tony Clement to boast of the Tories’ attention to every taxpayer’s dime. When it comes to reckless spending, another favourite opposition target is the estimated $46-billion plan to buy 65 F-35 fighter jets. Despite announcing late last year that other fighter-jet options would be considered, the government recently paid about $40 million to remain in the U.S.-led F-35 consortium until at least next fall, which means this drawn-out military-procurement mess remains very much alive.

Maybe it’s a lack of strategic thinking

A shortage of strategic thinking across many policy areas might be a reason the Harper government has lacked a feeling of forward thrust in recent months. David Zussman, a University of Ottawa professor of public-sector management, says Harper’s Conservatives don’t often turn to senior bureaucrats for ideas, relying on them only to “loyally implement” policy, rather than offer advice on its broad direction. Cutting mandarins out of the high-level planning leaves political aides to do more of the deep thinking—and many Conservatives admired Wright as the deepest of them all. Along with managing the Prime Minister’s Office and chairing a key weekly meeting with cabinet ministers’ chiefs of staff, Wright selectively stickhandled problematic files. 

It’s going to be a tough two years ahead.  I am not saying he won’t be re-elected but this isn’t a government that does things easily.

Memories of Mike Duffy from Frank Magazine

An interesting and rather sad profile of Mike Duffy from the publisher of Frank Magazine

Mike was great company. Amusing, affable, a life-of-the-party charmer. He was also needy and driven by a desire to be somebody.

Ever since the mid-’60s, when he was a teen disc jockey at CFCY-TV in Charlottetown, Mike dreamed of a career in broadcasting. Critics told him he’d never make it. Your voice is too high. Lose some weight. Duffy ignored them. “I was going to get somewhere, despite what everyone thought,” he later told the Globe and Mail.
Determined to make his name as a political reporter, Duffy moved to Ottawa in 1971 to work on Parliament Hill. After two years with CFRA Radio, he jumped to CBC Radio, then, in

1977, to CBC-TV’s national news. The jolly DJ from P.E.I. had confounded his critics and made it to the show.

Once he got to the top, Duffy worked even harder, earning a reputation for edgy reporting. He covered the fall of Saigon, won an ACTRA award for his coverage of a terrorist attack on the Turkish embassy in Ottawa, and provoked Brian Mulroney into suing him and the CBC over a story about how Mulroney’s goons backstabbed Joe Clark.

But by 1988, after 10 years as Peter Mansbridge’s sidekick, Duffy yearned to see his name in lights. When Baton Broadcasting offered him a small fortune to host his own politics show, he seized the opportunity.

Now he had a pulpit to sell the “Duff” brand and transform himself into a million-dollar enterprise — the Don Cherry of Canadian politics. He worked the Ottawa cocktail circuit and boasted about partying at “Joe and Maureen’s,” made after-dinner speeches at the Rideau Club, and bragged that he was doing “charity things with Mila.” Friends took to calling him Senator Duffy.

“Mike developed ‘host’s disease,’” says Linden MacIntyre, a Duffy drinking buddy from the Maritimes, now with CBC’s the fifth estate. “That’s where you start to believe all the flattery, believe you’re bigger than the story. The affliction gets worse, the head swells up and anything that threatens your celebrity becomes a problem.”

So what’s the long term impact?

These days, the ruckus over his residency has the embattled senator scurrying out back doors and hiding in hotel kitchens to avoid inconvenient questions from the media.

I remember a time when the old Mike Duffy, award-winning CBC reporter, would barge through those kitchen doors and demand that Senator Duffy explain himself.
But that was long ago.

Defending Mike Duffy

Like a lot of you out there, I grew up watching Mike Duffy on television.  I thought he was a fair interviewer that held both sides accountable.  When he became a senator, he became increasingly partisan which I thought was an odd direction for him to go with but if that is what he thought, that is what he thought.

When the scandal hit over his residency, I was a little shocked by it because I see what he is doing and what Patrick Brazeau being two different things.  Let’s look at what Duffy did.

He was named to the Senate from P.E.I. despite living in Ottawa for most of his life.  He went out and bought and renovated a small P.E.I. cabin in Cavendish, P.E.I. to establish his residency in.  Critics say that he spends most of his time in Ottawa and he shouldn’t get a housing allowance and yet he is expected to keep a second residence in PEI.  This is different from other senators in which way?  The truth is that he spends most of this time in Ottawa as a senator.  They meet for about 88 working days a year.  When you include in holidays and weekends is about 6 months of the year which means that he does need two residences.  Duffy’s mistake is that he used his housing allowance to pay for his PEI home and not his Ottawa residence.  So if he had sold his home and bought a condo in Ottawa, everything would have been okay?  Let’s use some common sense on this.

As for why his neighbours haven’t seen a lot of him lately, the senate is in session and therefore he would be living in Ottawa.  They had some neighbours complaining that they never see the Duffy’s.  First of all there are people who own cabins at Arlington Beach that I have never seen and Cavendish is a lot bigger than Arlington.  It also could be that the Duffy’s enjoy their privacy.  Even more scandalous is that they even spend some of their social time in both Ottawa and Cavendish.

As for the health card, I love my cabin at Arlington Beach but if I was sick, I want to be at home.  For me that is Saskatoon and for Duffy, that appears to be Ottawa.  While it looked back when he wanted an expedited card, I don’t have a problem with him having an Ontario health card.  If he is going to spending most of his time in Ottawa, it makes sense to me.

There are no Senate rules for residency in your home province and until there are, we should back off Senator’s like Mike Duffy.  He’s a part of a weird undefined system.  I don’t see fraud or even a scam.  If anything it seems that Duffy never realized that once he turned partisan, the attacks would follow.  As we have seen now, they have.  The difference for Duffy is that he is on the receiving end of them.

Robert Fife on how Helen Guergis’ cabinet position is in jeopardy

The Globe and Mail has the summary

According to Mr. Fife, Ms. Guergis has been telling people that she has grounds to sue Air Canada after the report of her tantrum was leaked to the media. Mr. Fife says senior Conservatives have told him this suggests “she just doesn’t get it.”

Certainly there are high-profile Tory faces, including former PMO communications director Kory Teneycke, who have been publicly critical of her behaviour.

Reports suggest the PEI incident has cost the party some support with the Conservative base.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is the only one who can decide whether Ms. Guergis stays or goes. Mr. Fife suggests he may wait until some time has passed and then quietly replace her.

I have been saying this for a couple of weeks now and I don’t think she will be in cabinet after the next shuffle.  Again, while I agree going through airport security is a pain, we all have to do it and to have a Minister of the Crown have an epic temper tantrum because she is running late for a flight and it’s her birthday, Canadians know something is wrong.  Even Senator Mike Duffy is taking shots at her now.