Duffy takes kitchen exit as reporters seek answers on residence

The Canadian Press
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Senator Mike Duffy took a back exit through a Halifax hotel kitchen after a speech on Wednesday night as he declined to answer reporters' questions about his claims for living allowances for an Ottawa residence.

The former broadcaster suggested journalists focus on energy issues, the topic of the speech he'd just given to the Maritime Energy Association, rather than ask him about a controversy over his primary residence.

"You should be doing adult work. Write about energy," said Duffy as he walked down the kitchen hallway while staff barred reporters from approaching him.

Opposition MPs are questioning whether the senator's primary residence is a cottage in Cavendish, as he has repeatedly stated.

The Senate is currently auditing its members to ensure they live where they say they do.

The inquiry came as a report in December said Duffy spends the majority of his year in his Ottawa house, yet has claimed more than $33,000 in living allowances since 2010.

Duffy was in Halifax to give the keynote address at the association – which promotes various energy projects – and he used the occasion to suggest that the public should focus on economic development and not "other issues."

The senator drew laughter from the crowd in the hotel ballroom when he referred to the large number of journalists who had come to his speech.

"Who would have known there would be such interest in the question of offshore development and energy. I look forward to reading your full and analytical reports in the media tomorrow," he said.

The former parliamentary reporter said he shouldn't be the focus at a time when Atlantic Canada faces serious issues such as how to pay for the future retirement benefits and health care of baby boomers.

"I have an announcement tonight people have been waiting for for some time. I am a proud senator from Prince Edward Island and delighted to be here tonight speaking up for energy development in our country," he said.

"You should be doing adult work. Write about energy," Senator Mike Duffy

"That's the news here tonight. We're on the verge of very important developments in this area and all our attention should be focused on the important thing, which is the economic development of our region and not other less important issues."

Duffy has maintained that his primary residence is Prince Edward Island, at a cottage located on 10 Friendly Lane in seaside community of Cavendish – about 45 minutes north of Charlottetown.

Senators are required to have a primary residence in the province they represent.

Under existing parliamentary rules, senators are entitled to claim living expenses if their primary residence is more than 100 kilometres outside of Ottawa.

A Senate committee has now asked all senators to provide health cards and other documents proving their primary residence is in the province they represent.

Earlier this week, the province's Liberal government confirmed that Duffy had asked the Health Department to swiftly provide him with a card – a request that was refused.

Duffy's claims of primary residence in P.E.I. are also countered by media reports on property tax records on the Island.

The province has lower taxation rates for year-round residents – defined as people who live in the province for six consecutive months.

Public records say that Duffy doesn't qualify as a permanent resident, and has to pay the higher taxes.

People who live near the senator's cottage in Cavendish have told the The Guardian he's seldom seen there.

"We've never seen Mike Duffy," Morgan Eisenhaur told the newspaper. "He should show some leadership on this. He should have known better."



Organizations: Halifax hotel, Maritime Energy Association, Senate committee Health Department The Guardian

Geographic location: Ottawa, Cavendish, Prince Edward Island Atlantic Canada Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • voter
    February 08, 2013 - 12:45

    more WASTE Current Senators Name Party Division1 Date appointed Appointed by2 Mandatory retirement Catherine Callbeck Liberal Prince Edward Island 01997-09-23September 23, 1997 Chrétien 02014-07-25July 25, 2014 Percy Downe Liberal Charlottetown 02003-03-26March 26, 2003 Chrétien 02029-07-08July 8, 2029 Mike Duffy Conservative Cavendish 02009-01-02January 2, 2009 Harper 02021-05-21May 21, 2021 Elizabeth Hubley Liberal Prince Edward Island 02001-03-08March 8, 2001 Chrétien 02017-09-08September 8, 2017

  • SG
    February 08, 2013 - 09:27

    I guess Duffy never heard the old Adage, "If you can't take the Heat, stay out of the Kitchen."

  • Vic Toews
    February 07, 2013 - 18:21

    Leave Mike alone- he is among the top 200,00 hardest working PEI has produced..

  • HMR
    February 07, 2013 - 14:51

    I agree with "the voter"; that Mike was copying the moves of another PEI senator- Catherine Callbeck, who took to a tunnel to escape questions. What terrible representatives Prince Edward Island displays to the rest of Canada!! It is time to abolish the senate and send Mike back to Ontario for good!!

  • Life's metaphor?
    February 07, 2013 - 12:52

    "Slithering through the back door of a kitchen while pointing the finger at others? What a perfect metaphor!" - Indeed.

  • voter
    February 07, 2013 - 11:00

    duffy sneaks out the back way and was probably planning for a catherine callbeck like tunnel escape as he arrogantly defied the reporters to do what he hadn't done during his career as a reporter ---in his eyes the people of PEI are PEONS----JUST ANOTHER TYPICAL BIG FEELING POLITICIAN

  • A Voice
    February 07, 2013 - 10:17

    Indeed, Mike Duffy, was better respected as a journalist when he would shed light on such matters, as he is now involved in. When he was appointed as a Senator, it didn't seem appropriate. Of course, the more I thought about it, why wouldn't Harper appoint him. Mike Duffy would be removed from his position as a journalist, hence taking the focus off Harper, if and when debatable subjects should arise. As said, " It's best to keep your friends close, but better to keep your enemies even closer." What kind of friend will Mr. Harper be to the likes of Mike Duffy now? Will Mike Duffy stay in the " House " or go back to which one of his two " houses " remains to be seen.

    • Captain Canuck
      February 07, 2013 - 16:47

      "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley". If harper took him from reporting to the upper chamber for that purpose then it backfired! Epic!

  • fred
    February 07, 2013 - 10:05

    Talk about a two tier gov. system.Senators live 100 klm from their place of work ; and receive thousands and thousands of dollars for a living allowance .On the other hand ; we are expected to take a job for $10.00 an hour and travel an hour / 100klm from home / on our own dime. Sorry ; my mistake $8.00 an hour after gov. takes their $2.00 an hour tax. $64.00 a day. $30.00 a day for gas. $34.00 dollars left for the day.Car payment;s / insurance / maintenance ect. Pretty well takes up the last $34.00 dollars .So basicly you work all week for nothing .This is what some islanders are facing; yet there some people; ignorant enought to call islanders lazy. people should wake up and look at where the real drain on the system is .Get rid of all the gallery puppets and save the tax payers ;billions of dollars .

  • Confused
    February 07, 2013 - 09:46

    Imagine that he has two residence, and big Income, I am jobless , homeless, and no bank account, please tell me where that logic is???

  • SG
    February 07, 2013 - 09:42

    Meanwhile Minister Finley is initiating an Investigation re: EI Recipients who have PAID INTO the program while they were working along with Canadians who have paid into the Program regularly via contributions from their pay cheques for decades and never used the Program! Yet the Majority of EI Recipients don't receive enough financially to provide them with meals for a week! Yet our Senators receive Living and Travel Expenses in the $ five digit figure category! I feel so Blessed to be an Ordinary Working Canadian and Tax Payer!

  • lilley
    February 07, 2013 - 09:40

    So now it's "Mr. Senator Back Door Duff", (a Wink for Mom). Seems a fitting exit for the Duff, hopefully he'll exit the pitiful $$$ Plush excuse for a "Sober Second Thought" now known as the Senate the same way.

  • RightCoastLefty
    February 07, 2013 - 09:33

    Mikey resign ? Not flippin'likely ! Harper show leadership and remove him? Give yer head a shake ! Just watch- the driveway will get plowed ,spring willl come ,the BBQ will get set up (much earlier than usual) ,he'll pay more for garbage pick up and less on PEI property taxes ,Mikey will get his PEI health card and his "hardship"expenses for "having "to maintain a Kanata Forget the fact that he never "qualified"for the job in the first place ....it will all be swept under the carpet and be forgotten- we've seen it before and we will see it again. They say politicians (and political appointees ) should be limited to 2 terms ...1 in office and the second in jail !

    • rightcoastlefty
      February 07, 2013 - 10:01

      Just a correction to my post - I meant to say - Mikey will get his PEI health card and his "hardship"expenses for "having "to maintain a Kanata ...HOME WILL BALLOON .

  • MFH
    February 07, 2013 - 09:29

    Quote " The former parliamentary reporter said he shouldn't be the focus at a time when Atlantic Canada faces serious issues such as how to pay for the future retirement benefits and health care of baby boomers. "End Quote..... ... It certainly is going to be difficult to cover health care and retirement benefits when you have people like him defrauding the taxpayers. He is a thief..Plain and Simple

  • Sad
    February 07, 2013 - 09:22

    The saddest part of this to me is he thinks its a joke... How dare reporters ask him such questions... its like he's waving his hand and saying "be gone with you peasants". That 33,000.00 in living allowance would have gone a long way in the Home Heating Program that ran out of money in a day. Shame on you Mr. Duffy.

  • A Voice
    February 07, 2013 - 09:20

    If Mike Duffy wishes to be taken care of as not only a " Senate " , but also to be concerned about the health care of all " boomers " , he best keep " it honest." To think also that he wishes all 3 provinces join together. If he truly claims to be an " Islander " and a true and loyal one at that, he wouldn't utter such nonsense. Most Islanders, myself included, would rather not piggyback on the other provinces, something that Mike Duffy is familiar with, regarding his fiasco in Ottawa, as Senate. I would rather somebody with integrity, who cares for their own, to represent us as to what the future holds for our people and our province. We need better representation and a stronger voice to maintain our culture. Our province is the " birthplace of Canada " so we need somebody who takes their " birthplace " seriously, and do what is true for the people.

  • Ripped off Taxpayer
    February 07, 2013 - 09:17

    I have always liked Mike Duffy in his position as a reporter and the way is would attack the ones who deserved it. Call a spade a spade typee guy. This recent story about him claiming false expenses is nothing short of theft/fraud and he should be removed. When they are done investigating them all, I would dare to say there may be more . This os a splp in the face for all Canadians and this Haper guy had better get his focus on what really matters to Islanders. CUT THE BS AND GET ON WITH THE IMPORTANT ISSUES.

  • Lloyd
    February 07, 2013 - 08:39

    He probably filled his pockets on his way out through the kitchen. What a load of crap that he cares about P.E.I. He cares about taking care of himself first and foremost. He is no better then a thief coming into your home and stealing money from your wallet. He should resign from the Senate. Surely we can find better then him to represent us. As a matter of fact they should all resign as they do nothing but drain the public purses .They are set for life and still want more. Pigs at the trough describes the Senate 100%.

    • Milt Flynn
      February 07, 2013 - 09:30

      It is funny when Duffy was a reporter everyone was fair game for him to get his story. Now the tables are reversed he leaves the Hotel like a thief, which he is, in the night.

    • Captain Canuck
      February 07, 2013 - 16:41

      Oh, and he was a great journalist. As a political observer he was the best. Hey, you can still say that about him. His career earlier on PEI was exciting and good. It is such a shame... as a senator he is a wild embarassing buffoon. I have nothing good to say about his senatorship... and me such a fan of the man hitherto.

  • harper again
    February 07, 2013 - 08:22

    Another one of harpers plans caught "stack the senate with puppets".I would like to know why it took this long for our pei goverment to say he doesnt live here when they could of done it when he was appointed.

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    February 07, 2013 - 08:12

    When are Islanders just going to say they have had enough of this crap. If we let this stuff happen it will. Where is the outrage at what these governments are doing to the poor? Who is speaking out on their behalf? Certainly not the politicians who in their speeches say they are concerned but yet do nothing but make decisions that make conditions worse. It is time for Duffy to resign.

  • well provided and fed still greedy for more
    February 07, 2013 - 07:52

    Greed in public service is intolerable and it is everywhere, with little punishment. Senator Duffy took a bit to much? All the Press is Piling on the Duffer but there are equally important disasters in the PEI Tory party getting no attention.............Who are the Reform Conservative Islanders who threatened Olive Crane. What interest will Harper demonstrate for the 4 cheap seats PEI enjoys in Parliament. A fractured party in need of leadership and direction. Harper will step in sometime before the next election and it will be a sight to behold. funny eh?

  • Mark
    February 07, 2013 - 07:42

    To take the back door to avoid questions is a cowardly thing to do. This man should not be a senator on PEI.

  • not a party to this mess
    February 07, 2013 - 07:36

    Wow what a great lead for our criminal element. there needs to be more guidlelines for media regarding privacy for govt officials. This artiicle has included that a cottage is usually unoccupied, what the address is where geographically and that since it is someone making above the poverty line probably has some goods there. If there is a break in and I was the senator Id know who to sue the pant off. accessory to a crime trumps freedom of the press. I think we are in denial that our politicians are people too . they are subject to their own regulation ...senate committee in this case. they should not be tried and convicted in the court of ignorant public opinion.

  • Quiet Observer
    February 07, 2013 - 07:33

    Really, who cares. A Senator is a hack appointment that means nothing. I can't believe our MPs and media cannot find something more important in Canada to focus thdeir attention on. Really, who cars whewre Duffy lives. If he resigns or if he stays on, it's not going to affect our lives one iotta.

  • unowho
    February 07, 2013 - 07:29

    Agree with not surprised and he should be made pay it all back to help island families who need oil as their is people who can't afford to heat their homes pay their basic bills with cut backs . also apparently he does not have no problems collecting this compared to Marlene Geisdort anr her ei . !!!!the rich get richer and lo to the poor man who tries to make it on their own.

  • Sir Come Fromaway
    February 07, 2013 - 07:29

    It is said that those in his type of position should lead by example. We should all follow his example. Screw the government in every manner possible.

  • LA
    February 07, 2013 - 07:02

    I have to say, his charge that they persue "adult issues" does not make sense, because overspending on false personal claims by government members is certainly an adult issue. He may as well have just declared no comment and left it at that.

  • grampie
    February 07, 2013 - 06:19

    His actions prove he is guilty. Harper should now show some leadership and get rid of this embarrassment to us Islanders or ex-Islanders.

  • footprints
    February 07, 2013 - 05:12

    Mike, for a small fee, i'll go out and make a bunch of footprints all around your shack.

  • MeMyselfAndI
    February 07, 2013 - 04:04

    A scripted life is much easier to deal with...

  • James Macgoo Lakeside
    February 06, 2013 - 23:47

    The senate of Canada has a Code of Ethics. A read of it details obligations and principles senators have in the performance of their duties. Principles Section 2.1. a. states senators are - "to remain members of their communities and regions and to continue their activities in those communities and regions while serving the public interest and those they represent to the best of their abilities." I would expect Mr. Duffy could explain to the people of PEI how he has remained a member of the community in PEI and the activities he has conducted within the PEI community while serving our public interest. Once he has done this, maybe we will understand the "very important economic interests" he is working while in the community. Mr Duffy, please enlighten us.

  • grapes
    February 06, 2013 - 23:34

    Guilty as charge,I been here for over 20 years and still not consider a Islander,But I do pay taxes here ,have a health card and divers permit,and a house,so if he gets fired can I have the job.

  • Joe Blow
    February 06, 2013 - 22:52

    A move like that just proves his guilt!! This ignorant man has no place representing the people of PEI!!! It's an embarrassment and offensive to associate PEI with this man. Stay at your primary home in Ottawa Mike and sell your cottage on the Island while you're at it...pulling stunts like that...we don't want you here! You add nothing to PEI.

  • AboutTheGreen
    February 06, 2013 - 22:52


    • W.Wilkins
      February 07, 2013 - 07:48

      Thanks for the reference ABOUTTHEGREEN. It's always interesting to see how the Duffy's of the world characterize public schooling as a place to indoctrinate and then train youth for corporate interests. Those who uncritically support corporatism become apoplectic when they think of public schooling positioning our youth to become critical thinkers. Of course, a subservient youth would neither care about Duffy's deceits nor would they care about PNP or Plan B. Corporatism requires a slack jawed subservient electorate that bows to false authority. And, all evidence shows, there are people in power that are working very hard to secure that type of electorate. False authority . . . can anyone think of a more appropriate way to characterize Mike Duffy?

    • Slithering through the Kitchen . . .
      February 07, 2013 - 10:04

      "You should be doing adult work. Write about energy," Right. Would Duffy want a journalist to apply critical thinking to those energy projects? Or would he prescribe his own type of sycophantic "Fox" journalism - the type that's rewarded by a Harper senate seat? Duffy's sense of journalism is like his sense of public service: Fearfully feed the corporate beast and steal the scraps that drop from its mouth. Slithering through the back door of a kitchen while pointing the finger at others? What a perfect metaphor!

  • Observer
    February 06, 2013 - 22:47

    This is so funny. When Duff was a journalist he would have been all over a story like this! Now he's chastising reporters for pursuing it and him. Karma?

  • David
    February 06, 2013 - 22:33

    Time for Harper to show leadership and remove this man from the Senate. I doubt there would be anyone in CANADA who would support Duffy if Harper does the right thing and removes him from the Senate. The longer the PM allows this embarrassment to continue the worse it makes the Senate look. If Duffy himself has a lick of sense he would be offering his resignation.

  • waldorf
    February 06, 2013 - 22:27


  • Not Surprised
    February 06, 2013 - 22:19

    And we thought he was a Scholar and a Gentleman. Just like all the rest.

    • Duh......
      February 06, 2013 - 22:42

      How are we going to fund pensions and health care of baby boomers you ask Senator Duffy? What say we take that $147,000 you received for travel and $33,000 for living expenses...a good start! Come on people, let's start looking after ourselves. Think of all the island families who cannot afford to fill their tank with oil. We are all going to have to answer someday for what we allow to happen, for we truly are our brothers keeper.