UPDATE: Duffy's health card will not be fast-tracked

Teresa Wright
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P.E.I. Senator Mike Duffy

P.E.I. Health Minister Doug Currie says there will be no exceptions made when it comes to Conservative Senator Mike Duffy’s application for a P.E.I. health card.

The issue made national headlines Monday when the Ottawa Citizen reported Duffy’s office had contacted the health minister’s office, asking for a his application to be fast-tracked.

In an interview with The Guardian Monday, Currie confirmed this.

“I didn’t speak to Senator Duffy directly but I was aware that there was a request that came in,” Currie said.

Duffy’s office sent the request after an auditor’s letter was given to all senators asking for copies of their health cards, drivers licenses and tax returns to support their residency claims. They had to produce this documentation by Jan. 31.

But P.E.I. has a mandatory three-month waiting period for any new health card applications.

Currie said he directed his staff to treat Duffy’s request like any other.

“There will be no fast-tracking, because why would there be?” Currie said.

“My expectation in the department with any service, whether it’s access to a long-term care bed, whether it’s access to a family physician, whether it’s access to a medical card – there is a process in place, there is procedures. In some instances there is wait times, and in this case there is… anyone who called would be given that same information by my department.”

Duffy and a few other senators have been on the hot seat in Ottawa after media reports questioned financial claims they made for their Ottawa residences.

A senate committee is now investigating living expense claims by senators.

Senators are required to sign a declaration that says their primary residence is their home province.

But they can claim reimbursement for living expenses incurred by maintaining a secondary home for use while working in Ottawa. 

According to an Ottawa Citizen report in December, Duffy has claimed more than $33,000 for living expenses in Ottawa since September 2010, despite the fact he and his wife bought their current home in Kanata five years before he was appointed to the Senate.

Duffy worked for years in the nation’s capital as a journalist covering Parliament Hill before his appointment, but he maintains his renovated cottage in Cavendish is his primary residence.

Duffy had little to say on the subject when contacted by The Guardian for comment Monday.

“I have no idea from where this story comes. Not from me,” Duffy wrote in an email to The Guardian.

“Like all senators I have responded to the request for information. That's in the hands of the (Senator) David Tkachuk and his internal economy committee and they will deal with this. I have no further comment.”

“There will be no fast-tracking, because why would there be?” Health Minister Doug Currie

Currie did not want to comment on Duffy’s residency issues and said he will have no further involvement in his health card application.

“I can’t speak about personal information on the process other than the request came in and the message was sent very clearly that he needs to follow the process that’s in place and that was the end of it as far as my involvement,” Currie said.

Malpque MP Wayne Easter called Duffy’s attempt to have the application fast-tracked inappropriate.

“For a senator or a member of parliament, for that matter, to be using his or her personal position to gain privilege of which a citizen is not necessarily entitled to, is not appropriate. That’s wrong.”

Easter said Duffy's need to apply for a P.E.I. health card in the first place raises more questions about Duffy’s residency claims.

“For him just now to be asking for a health card to be expedited when the senate board for internal economy had called for an investigation into whether or not he’s meeting the conditions laid out by the senate, raises more suspicions about Senator Duffy than answers.”

 

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

 

 

 

Organizations: Ottawa Citizen

Geographic location: P.E.I., Ottawa, Kanata Cavendish

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Recent comments

  • john
    February 06, 2013 - 13:56

    why is this crook not charger FRAUD IS FRAUD what whith the rcmp and income tax investigation charge him might stop some other fat cats from doing the same thing but harper wont let that happen

  • A Kid From Brighton
    February 06, 2013 - 09:59

    Duff was always a whiner and wasn't accepted by the 'Brighton'kids in years gone by .He couldn't get 'away' fast enough .No loss !!! He should realize he's still not accepted here, and his antics ??? He is just a big joke who's not even funny!!!

  • paula
    February 05, 2013 - 23:35

    my god this is a crook! to defraud the hand that feeds you,incredible.and collect 33000.00 thats more than most off us make a year,how can one trust or respect someone like that what a great example for our younger people.just a down-right liar&crook,and then to try to get sneaky and ask for fast service for his medicare card,i always thought this man was a big bag off wind.never had much interest in his comments,he was a very arrogant man,and now hhhhhhe has proven that plus he is a big pompous liar.and its the truth.

  • not impressed
    February 05, 2013 - 20:39

    Have respected Duffy for years....but now am shocked at his behavior......not what I would have expected of him. It's not as if he can't afford to have his "summer home" here. Shame!

  • ASHAMED
    February 05, 2013 - 19:48

    Let's all think about our deficit, the hole we are into, not only in this province, the whole country !! I would bet my life that most of our debt dragging now for years, decades has been created by this kind of behaviour, the people we should trust to rule and run our country properly, noooo dip into our pockets some more....you're all flipping crooks. This story leaked out, our deficit is likely filled with this bull crap that we don't even know a fraction of..... As far as I'm concerned, none of them are to be trusted..... Fraud... absolute public fraud !!!

  • Checker
    February 05, 2013 - 14:42

    Duffy was never PEI's senator in Ottawa but he is Harper's senator in PEI. Is he tweaking the system? Sure he is! Is he entitled to an allowance for his cottage on PEI...of course not! Do people in his illustrious club have any principles? It seems that many don't. Does he have a sense of entitlement? You betcha! Do we feel sorry for him? Not on you life!

  • Gerry
    February 05, 2013 - 13:47

    The real question is....How many senators' similar behaviour is/has been condoned? I'm confident this practise isn't anything new in the politicians' world. Not that the common practise makes it justifiable by any means. Obviously, the apparent senators' (note-plural) sense of entitlement should become the catalyst in terms of scutinizing excessive spending of Canadian taxpayers' money. But then again, where would one begin? Where are all the prudent checks and balances or is the practise so common-place that no one gives a damn anymore? Disgusting!

  • mej
    February 05, 2013 - 13:31

    Well, according to the government of PEI website, if Duffy lost his PEI health card then its only $10 for an immediate replacement. If however, he is only just applying for one, one would have to assume that he never had one and therefore his health services were being covered by the Ontario taxpayers. Now he wants to prove his residency with a health card that he never had in order to prove he is eligble for the $33,000 second home allowance, all the while asking taxpayers in both provinces to cover his services! Wow he's good!!

  • Lori
    February 05, 2013 - 13:04

    Why does Sen. Duffy need a health card in two provinces? Can't one use their provincial health card in another province? Wondering what province he is using for his residence and if he is paying the extra taxes in PEI as a non-resident at his Cottage. What a farce our gov't is. Truly the them and us in terms of rules. Hope the Guardian does some more digging and exposes these political nightmares so that there are some consequences - like the rest of us.

  • SAP
    February 05, 2013 - 10:58

    I agree with many posters, there is no way this should be fast tracked, but I can't help wonder what would happen if it had been a liberal senator? At most jobs, if you get caught stealing or cheating, don't you lose your job?

  • lilley
    February 05, 2013 - 10:34

    O Mi Gosh!! The ever watchful Duff (a wink for Mom) who so enthusiastically exposed the Sins of Others while Reporter for CTV (or was it the Daily Globe, you know, Clark Kent, a.k.a.....Superman), now seems to been caught with Super-Man Pants/Cape hanging in Ottawa instead of his sometimes Cottage in P.E.I.!! Does he need a P.E.I. Health Card? Why sure, possibly Minister Currie could deliver it to him, in Ottawa, of course, via the standard "Brown Envelope", used most often for such purposes!!

  • Fed Up
    February 05, 2013 - 10:33

    I wonder if a Liberal was moving here? What a difference a Liberal would make? Fast tracked and never hit the Guardian. Currie should spend more time getting doctors in that joke of a hospital. New wing cost a fortune...wasted space. Visit the unit where mew Moms have to keep their babies. Two beds, two ribs with babies, ONE CHAIR and nurses can't get to the patient - or baby - to take BP!! Entrance like the Delta - wasted space...then you enter "the 20's" in all the units...dark, dingy. Call for a vascular surgeon? Oh none. Call for a dermatologist? Oh none. Call for almost any doctor.....wait forever!!! Yet the Guardian FULL with a story about a Conservative being turned down for a health card. GROW UP LIBERALS!!! Ghiz is wiping us clean and you're making childish comments about something like this????

  • Marie
    February 05, 2013 - 10:20

    IF PEI is Mike Duffy's principal residence, then he would be covered by PEI Health three months after he became a PEI resident. Now why would our honorable PEI resident need to fast track a PEI Health card if he's been a PEI resident for years??? CRA could have a field day with his taxes except this croocked double dipping system has been in effect for the choosen few for sooo long that theft has become second...I mean first... nature to them. The feelings of entitlement have overcome common sense LONG ago.

  • don
    February 05, 2013 - 10:12

    to all the not to smart islanders research a little before you talk. here is a fact for you all who does not think mike is an islander.Born: May 27, 1946 (age 66), Charlottetown Spouse: Heather Duffy check this link smart butts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Duffy so he is more of an islander then the liberals in the house.unlike some that was not born here and will NEVER BE true islanders

    • SAP
      February 05, 2013 - 11:07

      I can only assume you are a troll trying to agitate people, so I am reluctant to comment, but if he lives elsewhere and pays taxes elsewhere, then he is gaming the system. Ironically, the EI changes were put into effect by the CONS to prevent people from taking advantage of loopholes to get ahead. I guess this is OK though. If an employee got caught stealing from their job at a department store, they would not have the option of paying back and keep getting a pay check. When you take something that is not yours, it is called theft. If somehow it falls within the letter of the law, created by your pals no less, it is at the very least immoral.

  • HOME FROM AWAY
    February 05, 2013 - 10:08

    I would be curious to know what Licence Plates are on Duffy's vehicles...I bet they say "YOURS TO DISCOVER" on them and they have a white base with Blue Lettering/Numbers. I would be curious to know in whose name is the registration of his vehicles. I bet Duffy's Family Physician lives and works in Ontario and not on PEI. How often does Duffy go "Home" to PEI. I know of other PEI Senators (present and former) who go home to PEI on a regular basis. If Duffy really wants to represent PEI as a Senator, then he should move to PEI and make his PEI home address and telephone number public for all. I bet he would not survive a winter in Cavendish.

  • AMAZED
    February 05, 2013 - 10:01

    The epitome of a Fat Cat.Thank you Guardian for the laugh(special mention to the Harper Government TM for making it possible)Like with Mulroney all one can do is sit back and laugh at these untouchables.How do they show their face in public.Tories,cut a single mother off EI but fleece the treasuary for personal perks and privlidges.Oh Canada :(

  • former islander
    February 05, 2013 - 09:57

    Perhaps the Senator would be willing to provide his PEI Property tax bills to show that he is considered a resident owner by the province. I'd love to be able to claim my Island cottage as a principal residence to reduce my Island tax bill. No health card, no drivers license, no resident exemption in property taxes? Guess he might not be an Islander afterall!

  • Fed up
    February 05, 2013 - 09:51

    Stop your whining Duff is an Islander and needs a health card same as all the rest of us. He is no different than all the Islanders who have to go to Alberta to work Because this stupid government cant get their act together All they do is give jobs to their friends. Shake your heads get over it., Get a job you don't have enough to do.,

    • Best Joke of the Day
      February 05, 2013 - 10:14

      Duff is no different than all the Islanders who have to go to Alberta to work? My sides are splitting . . . you're a riot! Now, if you were actually serious, there'd be reason to be very, very creeped out. Naw, couldn't be. Really, you're a riot!

    • Sorry Fed up
      February 05, 2013 - 10:15

      You are wrong about something Fed Up. Duffy has a health card. It is the Ontario one, because that is where he lives. He has a cottage in PEI. He claims the cottage is his princple residence so he can claim living expenses for a home in Ottawa where he works. Now I ask you, do you get to claim about $33,000 a year for your second residence in Alberta when you are away working? Do you file a tax return for Alberta, which has way lower rate that PEI? Is your driver's license Alberta based? I agree that the government of PEI does nothing to help out our local tradespeople for find work locally, However, it isn't always up to the government to create work for everyone. Blame the local business people too who pay wages that are too low. You are very lucky that you are able to travel to Harperville, er, Alberta, to obtain work. Not all can do it. I want the same for Duffy that applies to the good people of PEI who have to be away from their real homes and families to earn a living. Duffy should do the right thing. We all know he doesn't 'live' in PEI, but returns for the lovely summer months when the senate is not sitting. He is one of the greedy guys who got caught

  • SG
    February 05, 2013 - 09:40

    The Senate should be Abolished and the Salaries Paid put towards Health Care, Senior's needs, Education, etc. Why do we require a Senate? Are we not paying enough Government Members' salaries without it? Islanders have to move 7 Provinces away just to find work and pay for two residences while doing so!

  • Beendair Donedat
    February 05, 2013 - 09:35

    Just another Conservative stealing public money under the Harper regime. He'd fit in well in Alberta with all the Tory theft out there. Hopefully they throw this Neo-Con mouthpiece in jail where he belongs.

  • darren
    February 05, 2013 - 09:01

    it seems to me ,if we had no blood sucking senate ,this would not be an issue.hey mike if you cant get your card on time just use some of the big pension you get off of the tax payers back (as they dont have a pension any wheres close to yours and work all of their life ,to receive less ). pay out right for your medical needs.i cannot believe all of the complaining .big pension ,big salary that you supposedly work so hard for (ya right lol lol) tax free expnses ,all the perks of a politician (who was never voted into a seat by the voters ,am i correct on this ).just look at some of the less fortnuante canadians around you.the analyze how hard you have it.like really.

  • Peiguy
    February 05, 2013 - 08:03

    Why is this a news story? His staffer asked if there is a fast track system. got told no. end of topic. However I remember getting a passport fast tracked by paying an extra fee. It is a normal Federal service thing. I am more worried that Mr. Currie has leaks in his organization. A person in the Health care department discussing an applicants file should be fired. Period.

    • Johnny
      February 05, 2013 - 08:28

      It is a news story because he's asking for a fast tracked health card so he doesn't get caught for fraud for claiming $33,000 in living expenses he is not entitled to claim. Fast tracking a health card is not part of protocol so someone would have to talk to the higher ups about it. You need to get the facts before making comments.

  • Adophus
    February 05, 2013 - 07:51

    Way to go, Alleyoops!

  • bob
    February 05, 2013 - 07:47

    I see jail time for fraud.

  • Whatishethinking
    February 05, 2013 - 07:30

    What was Duffy thinking.... trying to get a Liberal government, who he has done nothing but criticize since being appointed, to assist him with an act that is sketchy at best. This guy is nothing but a joke and to think my tax dollars go towards supporting this BS....

  • terry avery
    February 05, 2013 - 07:27

    Wonder if Mr. Duffy is "at home" on PEI today shovelling out his driveway. What a pathetic situation we have when someone is appointed to represent our province and they do not have the decency to be a true resident. I'd love to see current pictures of both his residences side by side on the front page of this newspaper.

  • Disgusted former conservative
    February 05, 2013 - 07:21

    Bad enough that Harper appointed Duffy in the first place. but now to see him claiming an additional 30,000 dollars a year by claiming that he lives here is simply disgusting. This fellow is a disgrace, Here on PEi where so many people are having hard times this fellow tries to grab an additional 30,000 dollars a year by lying about where he lives. He doesn't vote here and doesn't have a health card here and doesn't spend any time here unless to make an announcement for his boss. This sadly, is how the Conservatives look at being in government. They make David Dingwall and his famous statement on 'entitled to his entitlements' look pretty clean at his point. Do the honorable thing Duffer and resign.

    • Sandi
      February 05, 2013 - 09:46

      Anyone else this would be considered fraud. Does he file Income Tax as a PEI resident?? Does he hold an Ontario health card, and should he for some reason get a PEI card, can he keep both?? It has been years since he "lived" in PEI and it was bad enough to have him referred to as a PEI Senator but to have him swindle money from the taxpayers is disgusting.

  • cromwell
    February 05, 2013 - 07:09

    Despite Mr. Currie's protestations, I bet Duffy gets access to a family doctor sooner than I do (2 years and waiting).

  • such a putz
    February 05, 2013 - 07:02

    Duffy could be the biggest joke ever...not even smart enough to stay out of trouble.

  • Dhobey
    February 05, 2013 - 06:45

    Lighten up!, all he wants to do is get legally paid extra money for having his "principal" residence located in PEI. He already owns a home in Ottawa, but if he can get more money for this little trick......, I guess why not. Duff must have been comparing notes with another "dignified " senator from Quebec, doing the same thing. C'mon Currie, let's help the poor bloke, I would be willing to loan him my card til he gets one.

  • Hah
    February 05, 2013 - 06:33

    They are lots of "Islanders" with summer places on the Island that have health cards.

  • Disgusted self-professed ex pat living in Ottawa with Ontario Health Card
    February 05, 2013 - 01:02

    Duff, if you say you are living in PEI, then I guess you will be treated by the Prince Edward Island Health system then...hmmmmm? Heavens you would not want to give yourself both places now would you? PEI health card but they pay for your treatment up here at the Ottawa Heart Institute? hmmmm? Be careful what you ask for in the rationale of getting as much pocket change as you can. You may just have to pay out of your own pocket for the treatment which you will no doubt allay yourself up here in Ottawa. Duff, you have not lived in PEI on a full-time basis since you were nigh onto 16 years of age. Why now are you claiming this? Have you not got enough money in your pocket from now being a Senator with the golden retirement? C'mon!

  • Marilyn Lane
    February 04, 2013 - 22:59

    He is going to have to admit it --- he's from away and has been for decades.

  • don
    February 04, 2013 - 22:51

    ISLANDER., you must also think that dizzy is the greatest man on this planet. and doug you guys have no problem speeding up the PNP papers to gt the money to help your friends. but to help a PC that would kill you. again you are showing the liberals true feelings money and patronage comes 1st.

  • Mell
    February 04, 2013 - 22:33

    Senators should not be appointed- perhaps even eliminated- it is a gravy train that the country cannot afford anymore. This "good-old boy" system is being milked to death by those that know how to do it- PUT A STOP TO IT!

  • Charlottetown Observer
    February 04, 2013 - 22:10

    I wonder how the senator feels being the brunt of the story instead of the teller. Seems he can't win for losing. It brings me joy at least. What a useless antique the Senate has become. Not even decorative.

  • Kane
    February 04, 2013 - 22:01

    Hey Duffy, TICK TOCK. TICK TOCK. TICK TOCK!!!! Clock is ticking buddy!!!! Your time is up. If you need some extra money to live on after you get removed from Senate I'm still trying to find a spot to stay during the Country Concerts if you want to rent the summer cottage out! Oh sorry, I mean your home!

  • just thinking
    February 04, 2013 - 21:44

    How did the media become aware that Duffy's office contacted Currie, Dougie must have been waiting to spill the beans on this one. Lesson here is "don't trust any politican", Currie obviously wanted this in the media. Think this proves they are both untrustworthy.

  • Islander
    February 04, 2013 - 21:26

    How can he be eligible for a PEI health card when he doesn't live here? Duffy is a buffoon and has insulted Island politicians to their faces. It is an embarrassment to have to claim him as a representative of PEI.

  • Ignore My Ignorance
    February 04, 2013 - 20:31

    Why is there a three month waiting period in the first place? Bureaucracy at its finest.

    • Charlottetown Observer
      February 04, 2013 - 22:06

      Uhhh, because the 3 month waiting period is pretty standard all across Canada. Otherwise what would stop every tourist from coming and asking for a health card after a week pitching a tent at Marco Polo. Try going to Quebec and asking for a health card before 3 months. They'll laugh you out of the office. In French.

    • Buzz
      February 04, 2013 - 22:27

      All provinces do it with insurances so that only one jurisdiction pays medical expenses. Its a standard delay built in to protect against fraud. But Duffy needs to show that he has been living here for 180 days plus one in the last 12 month period to be a legal resident and we all know that he hasn't. The honourable Senator for Kanata Ontario is a fraud.

    • Get Informed
      February 05, 2013 - 07:11

      There is a three month wait so that people who do not like their own provinces coverage does not jump to another province to get expensive drugs covered or a specific procedure covered. Then turn around a leave. Pretty easy if all you had to do is rent an appartment for a month. Since each province pays for health care, do you want to pay anothers provinces medical expense? It didn't say they were covered by someone, there is just a three month dealy. try getting health insurance without a waiting peroid.

  • UPWESTER
    February 04, 2013 - 19:40

    If PEI is Senator Duffys' principal residence, why doesn't he have a health card like everyone else? I wonder who is paying for his skin problems that he is having? Don't give him health care for this as it is a prior condition.

  • Dundas Sue
    February 04, 2013 - 19:27

    He is covered by OHIP while he waits for our health card so his medical insurance is secure. I have movedd provinces enough times to know that moving from one province to another is a pain but you dont fall through the medeical cracks for this. If, on the other hand, he had changed his address to cavendish when he was appoined like he should have, he would be ok to claim this housing deduction. Seems like he loses out till his 2013 taxes. Dont feel sorry for him at all. Good on hte liberals not to fast track his health card -

  • WayneDrops
    February 04, 2013 - 19:22

    Looks good on him AND his office!!!

  • not that dumb
    February 04, 2013 - 18:49

    trust him hes in politics........said NOOOOO ONE EVER!!!

  • Sad Indeed
    February 04, 2013 - 18:36

    Duffy should be ashamed of himself...he has always something to say on any issue, so why is he so silent on this issue. This whole thing looks good on him....He's does not represent me!

  • tim
    February 04, 2013 - 18:35

    What a bunch of whiney sucker. Mr Duffy should be treated better that an average yahoo. He is a senator and a dignified man.

  • charlie brown
    February 04, 2013 - 18:35

    Just wait till ghizz gets his senate seat for selling out to harper on the hst,Then we can really complain,Buffet duffy is the tip of the iceberg.

  • unreal
    February 04, 2013 - 18:32

    this is fraud and should be dealt with as such enough is enough .... charge him with fraud

    • Concerned citizen
      February 04, 2013 - 19:10

      This is awful, he hasn;t had a permanent home here for years. He even said he & his wife always summered on P.E.I., that was when he was a reporter. This is a fraud & he & others should be charged & made pay back any money they have collected.This is one thing that is making the country poor. Shame on you MIKE DUFFY.

    • Joe smelt
      February 05, 2013 - 05:49

      How is it fraud to ask for help expediting government paperwork? And PLEASE don't pretend that everyone on PEI follows the process. That is BS!

  • disgraceful
    February 04, 2013 - 18:24

    Another waste of peoples money. These senaters are the biggest joke in gov't. A plum job for all those years. Duffy is just another one who stands in front of a camera and pretends he cares when in fact he just cares about the money he is making at the hands of taxpayers. This country will be a third world country if it keeps going like it is.

  • Only if they were Liberal
    February 04, 2013 - 18:17

    Currie only makes exceptions for his own cronies, ie hockey jocks, his family and in-laws

  • fred
    February 04, 2013 - 18:15

    What a twisted 2 tier gov. system we have . Everyone should claim ten thousand this year in living expenses. Poor fellow; has to waite 3 months for his health card. Try waiting 3 months for e.i. and see what it is like.Can anyone tell me what these (waste of tax payer;s money) senators do ; other than belly up to the trough and cost tax payers millions and millions of dollars a year.

  • johnny cash
    February 04, 2013 - 18:13

    Rightttttttttt, and we can believe a politician why?

  • Should have got Tim Banks to get it
    February 04, 2013 - 17:39

    Anything fast tracked by the Ghiz team has to be a request from Kevin Murphy or Tim Banks who get millions in days on loans no bank would touch. funny eh?

  • John toronto
    February 04, 2013 - 17:24

    Duffy has no gutle and like many of Harpers minions will do anything to help themselves at the expense of canadian citizens . A health card from PEI will be the start of of the process -- hopefullly the residency requirement of 186 days will be more difficult to breach .

  • True Islander
    February 04, 2013 - 17:23

    Sounds like the great Duffy maybe in some hot water, why should he even get a health card or a PEI Drivers Licenses when he does not live here for the required 6 months of the year. Hopefully he will have to pay back what he claimed for living expenses and then maybe some true islanders will be able to get their EI claims something they deserve unlike Mr. Duffy who does not deserve a Health Card.

  • alleyoops
    February 04, 2013 - 17:22

    Stupid idea to appoint this clown a senator in the first place.

  • intobed
    February 04, 2013 - 17:07

    It won't matter, Harper will protect him.