From his own perspective, Mike Duffy has done nothing wrong. He represented Prince Edward Island in the Senate, so he had to make his home there his principal residence. He claimed expenses that, as he once put it, he was entitled to. And he was acquitted in court. So why should he forgo almost two years’ worth of income from his suspension without pay?
Of course, it’s not all about the criminal trial. The Senate has the authority to sanction its members even if they haven’t been convicted of a crime. Unfortunately, the upper chamber has typically been very lenient, a club of elites who are more likely to look out for each other than enforce good behaviour.
In the end, even if Mike Duffy didn’t live up to the standard that Canadians expect of their public representatives, the Senate was so dysfunctional, and the rules so loose, it doesn’t matter.
He’ll probably get his money and the public will lose yet again, thanks to an institution that has always put its own interests first. We all deserve better from the Senate and from senators.