I'm not cheating on my expenses: Duffy

Teresa Wright
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P.E.I. Senator Mike Duffy speaks with reporters in Charlottetown Tuesday. 

Conservative Senator Mike Duffy says he did not cheat on his living expense claims and that he lives in both Cavendish and Charlottetown.

The embattled senator spoke with reporters in P.E.I. this morning for the first time since questions about his residency claims began making national headlines two weeks ago.

He refused to go into any great detail and only answered a few questions before making a prompt exit from the function he was attending.

He did, however, say he is not concerned about the questions that have been raised about his residency in P.E.I.

“I’m confident that in the end it will all turn out. Canadians know I’m an honest man and that I wouldn’t cheat on my expenses,” Duffy said.

“That’s not even the allegation. The allegation is I don’t live here.”

The Senate is currently seeking legal advice on how to deal with Duffy’s residency after questions were raised about whether he is a true resident of P.E.I.

Provincial government tax records identify Duffy and his wife as non-resident owners of their cottage in Cavendish. As non-residents, they pay 50 per cent more in property taxes. They also pay a lesser ‘cottage fee’ for their trash collection.

Duffy also made headlines when it was revealed his office went to the health minister looking for a P.E.I. health card for the senator – one of the proofs of residency being requested by the Senate committee investigating the residency claims of all senators.

The Guardian spent time in Cavendish earlier this month and noted the road on which Duffy’s cottage is located had not been plowed after a recent storm. Neighbours and local year-round residents of the resort municipality said they have rarely, if ever, seen the senator in the area.

Duffy explained today the reason his Cavendish cottage appears unused is because he spends his winters in Charlottetown.

“I live in Cavendish in the summer and, in the dirty winter months, I do what hundreds of Islanders do, I rent a place in town,” Duffy said.

“You can’t be out in the middle of the winter with a heart problem, or a medical problem, and get to the hospital. So I live in the city in the winter and I live in Cavendish the rest of the year.”

When asked Tuesday why he pays a higher tax rate reserved for those who live in the province less than six months a year, Duffy said he did not want to get into it “because that’s for accountants and heaven knows, I’m no accountant.”

Last night, Duffy told Guardian columnist Shane Ross at the Charlottetown airport those who raised questions about his residency will soon be ‘very embarrassed.’

When asked to explain what he meant by this, Duffy would not elaborate.

“Just wait for Deloitte’s,” he said, referring to the external auditing firm conducting an investigation into his residency expense claims.

All senators sign a declaration saying their primary residence is in the province they represent. Duffy has maintained his primary residence is his Cavendish cottage despite the fact he previously worked full-time as a journalist on Parliament Hill and bought a much larger house in Kanata, near Ottawa, five years before he was appointed to the Senate.

According to the Ottawa Citizen, Duffy has claimed more than $33,000 since September 2010 for expenses incurred due to his primary residency being more than 100 kilometres outside Ottawa.

 

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Organizations: Senate committee

Geographic location: Cavendish, P.E.I., Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • Bruce T
    May 16, 2013 - 20:40

    Walks like a duck, smells like a duck... crooked as the day is long. Shameful!!

  • Dan
    March 01, 2013 - 20:26

    Mr. Duffy having repaid monies he received under false pretenses does not entitle him to remain in the Senate and if he does not resign then criminal charges have to be laid and his removal from the senate is required. The form Mr. Duffy filled out for housing expenses clearly states that it is a criminal offense to give false information.

    • Gloria Anderson
      March 06, 2013 - 14:54

      I'm sure a lot of Islanders will remember Mr. Duffy being on CTV with Steve Murphy every Friday as he reported on the politics from Ottawa. This was at least six months of the year (183 days) and he spent a great deal of the time putting down Harper and his "cronies". I guess Harper probably referred to the old adage "keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer". How better to shut someone up by appointing him/her to the Senate

  • Paula Dixon
    February 23, 2013 - 08:52

    What I believe to be true is, they get so much money from our gov and they think we can do anything they won't touch us. I really believe it's a mind set of entitlement, they think they are entitled and no one can touch them. If I stole I would face jail time but not them. bring them down a notch, make them do community service , maybe even physical labour. We are tired of people in power stealing from us and thinking they have the right to do so. Laughing at us in the process.

    • Karen MacMillan
      February 25, 2013 - 17:14

      I think it is sad that Mike Duffy and likes of him get good pay and a living expense that would almost triple the amount that Financial Assistance gives a family to live on per year. We have Children living in poverty and Government officials who get paid well, get a pension after a few years of service and a living expense and expense account to boot. Instead of auditing poor people who are trying to feed their families with the pittance of E.I. or F.A. perhaps they should look into more of these important, moral, hardworking officials.

  • Napoleon
    February 21, 2013 - 22:28

    Duffy is a pig in a suit. At the end of the day he feeds from the trough that we all struggle to provide for him.

  • Karma anyone?
    February 20, 2013 - 19:38

    Even if Duffy resignes,he'll do it with righteous indignation and a ton of tax payers money. Sure, he has to live with himself, but he's been doing that for a long time. Would you want to be him? Really?

  • Jarrod
    February 20, 2013 - 18:38

    How do you know Mike Duffy is lying?? His lips are moving.

  • Twiggy
    February 20, 2013 - 15:40

    Stop wasting breath and ink on Mike Duffy. Stop talking about any and all of the Senators. Just abolish the Senate. Oh sorry elect the NDP and then we can abolish the Senate. First things first.

  • Willie Wonka
    February 20, 2013 - 13:41

    Just talked to my friend, Donald Trump, and he told me he will pay anyone 5 million dollars if they can come up with a 'legitimate' address for the Honorable Mike Duffy. So----does anyone out there care to publish in the following comments such address---might even see the Honorable's car in the driveway on Google Street View. That should prove it, eh! Five Million smackeroos just waiting for you. You could buy your own seaside retreat in Cavendish next to Mike with that.

  • Anne Elk
    February 20, 2013 - 12:06

    Theory on Duffy's Appointment: Following his 2008 election victory, PM Harper was on a mission to stack the Senate with friendlies, and a vacancy for a PEI Senator presented a shady scheme he thought he could get away with. Duffy the CTV News political commentator was the perfect ideological fit, having just demonstrated his allegiance by tearing Stéphane Dion to shreds on national TV during the 2008 election campaign. PM Harper knew of Duffy's residential circumstances before appointing him, that Duffy lived in Kanata Ontario and had lived in Ontario for decades, and that Duffy had a secondary residence cottage in PEI. Both Harper and Duffy knew that Duffy didn't meet the primary residency requirement for the job. While sharing a laugh at the institution which Harper held in such disdain, they gambled that no one would notice or care of the illegitimacy of the appointment, this being the oft-ignored, sleepy, irrelevant Canadian Senate. Unfortunately, Harper's plan also made a mockery of the representation the residents of PEI were legitimately due. And now, rightly so, the residents of PEI are not amused at this cynical political charade at their expense.

  • come on
    February 20, 2013 - 12:06

    never said he lived in ch'town before now he does ---if its an apartment building he must have neighbours --wonder if any of them ever seen him --

  • O Senator my senator
    February 20, 2013 - 10:40

    Aside from being accused of cheating on his expense claims, I am beginning to wonder if he was born in Canada. I demand to see his his birth certificate~!

  • Gerry
    February 20, 2013 - 10:29

    Well, this certainly detracts from the PNP scandal, or does it Teresa? Regardless of level of politics, fraud, corruption, cover-ups will exist, because it always has and always will. It's time that the idle threats, in terms of repercussions for abuse of power and taxpayers' money, become reality.

  • bitter islander
    February 20, 2013 - 10:09

    i work in alberta and i am forced ti file my taxes in pei because my primary residence is here even tho i spend most of my time in alberta so if he is filing his taxes in ontario then the proof is in the pudding + he doesnt have a pei health card ,,, drivers liscence or a place he rents in town thats just bs...... frauding canadians as i see it

    • voter
      February 20, 2013 - 18:06

      senators don't have to answer to the working class -- they are above everyone even the pope--just aask anyone of the delusional misfits

  • Statler
    February 20, 2013 - 09:51

    Anyone remember theese words? I AM NOT A CROOK !!!!!!!

  • Jj
    February 20, 2013 - 09:39

    Blah blah blah pei problems, move on and deal with your lives. All you do is complain complain complain. God I'm glad I work in alberta 80 percent of the year. If it's not one thing it's another with 75% of islanders. Go for a walk or get some fresh air and relax.

  • Disgusting
    February 20, 2013 - 08:37

    No wonder people lose faith in the political process and politicians. The first person to show bad judgement here was the Prime Minister, and then there is Mr. Duffy. Come on Duff, the people on PEI know how much time you spend here . It is a small place and people don't miss much. We know you are not PEIs Senator in Ottawa..only you and Harper think that. You are leading people to believe that there is not much honour among the honourable>

  • isargent
    February 20, 2013 - 08:05

    Tax records also reveal that Duffy receives a special tax credit which is available to summer cottage owners who do not receive rental income. The credit is known as "Owner-occupied-residential tax credit".If Duffy could also have saved on his taxes by qualifying as an Island resident, he most surely would have done so. The assessed value of his property is $115,400 but only $98,300 was taxable.Duffy received a credit of $216.81 and paid $1,559.12 in property taxes. The tax rate for full time Island residents is $1.00 per $1,000 assessed value. The tax rate for non-residents of PEI is $1.50 per $1,000 assessed value. Duffy failed to qualify as a resident of PEI, and paid the non-resident tax rate.

  • How it is...
    February 20, 2013 - 08:04

    Someone should try to get some proof... If I owned a bar or or lounge that he went to I would make it policy to ID all patrons, so when he comes in he has to show his driver's license. There have been many stories of people in their 50's+ getting ID'd in the news. Quick picture on the cell phone and you've got your proof... Either that or he refuses to provide the ID and it adds to his lack of credibility.

  • UPWESTER
    February 20, 2013 - 07:34

    Mike Duffy, you are not an Island resident, plain and simple. You moved away over 40 years ago and now live in Ottawa. So quit the b**l s**t and resign. You do not, and I repeat, you do not represent me or other Islanders, so please, pay back the money and go away. You are no longer welcome here. You are now Persona non grata.Go away, leave us our dignity.

  • Eric Shields
    February 20, 2013 - 06:49

    If we have to have a Senate....and I am not sure we do....then surely we deserve better than this fraudster & charlatan. What a fairy tale his story continues to be!

  • Johnny B Liberal
    February 20, 2013 - 06:42

    The Conservative Party of Canada's official national constituency database (CIMS) listed Duffy's primary address as being in Kanata, ON. Kanata ON is also where Duffy is registered to vote by Elections Canada.

  • Rex
    February 20, 2013 - 01:40

    If we insist on having our own version of an unelected, unaccountable "House of Lords", we end up saddled with people who - regardless of how "honest" they fancy themselves to be - have the mentality of....well....Lords. Duffy does not live here. Duffy does not pay taxes here as a local. Duffy pays taxes as a local in Ontario. Duffy does not have a PEI Health Card. Duffy has an OHIP card. Duffy is on the Ontario Provincial Voters List. Duffy lives, my friends, in Ontario. Just show some vague semblance of guts and honour, Mike, and end the charade now. Spare us all the added expense and humiliation.

    • Bill Kays
      February 20, 2013 - 09:18

      You are absolutely right about them being a HOUSE OF LORDS. The monarchy is alive and well in Canada. Aside from the LORDS, we have Kings (King Harper), Queens (Queen Ambrose), Princes (Prince Ghiz) and Princesses (Princess Shea). It`s a great gig if you have no conscience or you are a psycopath. They care little or nothing for the common man.

  • AM
    February 20, 2013 - 00:09

    I wonder if a resident of PEI could ask the court for a judicial review of his appointment, on the grounds that he is not, in fact, a resident of PEI. That seems to be what this all comes down to. On the one hand, an individual may have commited fraud by claiming he is a resident of a province to receive an appointment worth over $130,000 per year. That is for the RCMP/Senate to decide. On the other, for Islanders, they have a constitutional right to be represented by a "resident" of PEI. This appears to have been denied to them. If Duffy cannot prove he has been a resident (don't let him split hairs - for all Canadians this means health card etc.) then Islanders should demand the courts declare his appointment null and void as it is unconstitutional. PEIers should expect nothing less.

  • No Surprise
    February 19, 2013 - 22:39

    Typical politician. Dancing around the truth. More of our tax dollars being put to good use. I think you will find that you will be the only one embarassed after this all comes out Mr. Duffy. The sad part he is definitely far from the only senator doing this. Us common joes are getting railroaded from our government every day. Unfortunately we allow it to happen.

  • Belfast Guy
    February 19, 2013 - 22:23

    I have been following the vicious attacks against our Conservative Senator and, frankly, I am quite disgusted with my fellow Islanders. This is nothing more than a liberal witchhunt. The senate is a very old and venerable place. There are certain people who want the senate gone. The senate goes to the very heart of our democracy and we should support our Senators, not tear them down. Do you people expect our Senators to maintain a residence on PEI and in Ottawa and incur no expenses or pick up the tab themselves.

    • Sylvia
      February 20, 2013 - 09:58

      As a taxpayer who has always voted federally for Conservatives, I don't consider this a liberal witchhunt. As a retired senior trying to survive financially, I'm sick and tired of paying the salary of someone like Mike Duffy who is living such a comfortable and pretty nice lifestyle compared to the rest of us. I really don't understand how anyone can come to his defence. His arrogance is so insulting and it's such an embarrassment to have him as a senator for P.E.I. He is not a resident of P.E.I. If you feel he needs to be defended you must be better off financially than a lot of Islanders are.

    • The Woman
      February 20, 2013 - 11:13

      Dear Mr. Belfast Guy. First of all, I am not a Liberal...just want to make that clear. Mr. Duffy was born on PEI and went to school here. He left PEI as a young man and hasn't worked or lived here since. He has not contributed to our economy or the good of the people here. I like the idea of a Senate, but believe that those appointed (maybe should be elected) should be people with honour and a good feel for the people being represented. Mr. Duffy is not behaving in an honourable manner. Either he is a resident of Ontario where he pays taxes, uses their health care free, registers his vehicle, and owns his primary residence. Of course he would have expenses maintaining two homes and if he lived here year round, he would be able to get travel expenses to come to PEI to find out what is in the hearts and minds of the people he represents, and then return to Ottawa to carry out the wishes of the people. I can't recall a single time when Mr. Duffy sat on a committee that might benefit the good people of PEI. I am truly disappointed in the lack of transparency and his arrogant method of delivering his messages to the press, given his long time career trying to seek the truth...or maybe it was just a job he had where he knows all the secrets and can use it for personal gain. I don't know. What I do know is that there are good people out there who have dedicated their lives to bettering PEI who would be far more suitable to represent PEI in the Senate.

  • Marilyn Lane
    February 19, 2013 - 21:42

    Could the Guardian start a contest with a reward for someone to find at least two of Duffy's neighbours in Charlottetown. Reward payable with satisfactory proof --- sort of a Find Waldo contest. Maybe a radio call in show?

  • Sen Duffy
    February 19, 2013 - 21:37

    "I am not a crook" Canadians know I am an honest man and would never cheat on my taxes. I for one believe him, just like I believe Lance Armstrong never took steroids and Bill Clinton never had sexual relations with that woman.

  • Island Boy
    February 19, 2013 - 19:08

    Duffy was very careful in what he said. He did NOT say he lived in Charlottetown. He said he lived "in town" (Kanata??) and "in the city" (Ottawa??). It was a reporter who said "Charlottetown".

  • bitter islander
    February 19, 2013 - 19:04

    if your renting a place in town why are you only now saying this ..... cause your trying to get away with fraud ..... you have a friend thats gonna say you rented off him do you .... i hope you get charged with fraud because its sooo obvious that this is what it is..... your not an islander and you do not file your taxes here ..... i worked in alberta and HAVE to file my taxes in pei because i reside here ....so to the guardian reporters look into where he files his taxes that will tell you if he is a resident along with his drivers liscence and health card and documentation of paying rent lights cable phone number PROOF and then i will believe it untill then its pure FRAUD punishable by jail time .

  • james.macgoolakeside
    February 19, 2013 - 18:33

    Foolishness all of this. Ignore the man. If he feels he needs to act like this to get money he does not seem entitled to receiving, pity him. The message should be we are not interested in him as our representative. By ignoring and not supporting him, leadership will eventually understand the people of PEI are tired of crony government. Regardless of the final disposition with respect to his situation, he does not represent our values. We want better for our people and we expect it.

  • Marie
    February 19, 2013 - 18:10

    There'd be less BS flying if I was to walk into a barn with 1000 cows!!! For sure, cows KNOW where home is haha Where is your snow home in Charlottetown. Guess you couldn't get to Cavendish because the DOT didn't plow your road, so it's all the fault of the plow guys really.Surely you claimed all the extra rent as an added expense since you couldn't get to your 2nd hmmm 3rd ??? home!!! Do you have a back up home in Ottawa for the days you can't get to Kanata???hahaha. I wish I was laughing all the way to your bank instead of just laughing

  • Fed Up
    February 19, 2013 - 17:52

    Those of you questioning living in the City for the winter???? CHECK THE HOTELS/MOTELS........hundreds of people move in from the country to the City for 6 months in the winter months!!!! Look at how many only "own" a cottage and live there for summer - and rent an apartment -or motel unit-for the winter...... Wake up people!!! Deal with more important issues......like our failing Healthcare - no doctors- nurses-equipment-emergency services at night? Sending Islanders all over the province to see how many they can KILL on these roads? Just check and see how many provincial government employees are still working in the CAPITAL CITY......other than Ghiz and his puppets, that is............

  • Follower
    February 19, 2013 - 17:44

    This Teresa Wright is a very good investigative reporter. She knows who's button to press and when. She was one of the only reporters to pry the PNP and believe me she upset quite a few Politician trying to hide for their Lawyer/Accountant friends. She should now go after Steve Myers, than we will discover what he is really made of. Keep up the great work Teresa.

  • GMM
    February 19, 2013 - 17:43

    Strange how Mike came up with that story so fast. he should have to show documents to prove what he says is true, I'd guess he has been staying in Hotels prior to this, maybe he thinks he can fool us Islanders & quickly rent a place to cover his @##.. If he gets away with this there should be the biggest out cry The Island has ever heard, Come On Islanders hasn't Duffy made a fool of us long enough ????

  • waldorf
    February 19, 2013 - 17:29

    Duffy you sound like Nixon IM NOT A CROOK............ GROW UP AND COME CLEAN THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE

  • Dundas Sue
    February 19, 2013 - 17:28

    Mr Duffy has had ample time to officially move to that cottage (health card, drivers license and residence for tax purposes) he did not do that. He is ineligible to be our senator, Mr Hrper should find someone who does live here EVEN IN THE DIRTY MONTHS and have them represent us in Ottawa. I'm sure every resident of Bedeque could certify that she is one senator who does live on the Island. So should they all.

  • Simone
    February 19, 2013 - 17:21

    Don't insult our intelligence Mr.Duffy (with the term Mr. used loosely).

  • STATLER
    February 19, 2013 - 17:09

    IT MUST BE SOME QUIET LIFE HE'S LIVING, AS NO ONE SEEMS TO LAY EYES ON HIM UNTIL THIS SCAM BROKE THE SURFACE

  • Annony Moose
    February 19, 2013 - 17:06

    You don't need a health card and driver's licence etc. to prove residence according to the Senate rules. This is just another media pile on. A senator representing a province only needs to own a residence in the province.

  • wondering
    February 19, 2013 - 16:39

    I doubt if any ordinary" true islander " with heart or health problems ,living in rural P.E.I could afford to move to Charlottetown for the winter . even if we all have P.E I. health cards.

  • Not Hard To Check
    February 19, 2013 - 16:36

    This claim shouldn't be hard to check . Find the landloard - get the income tax dept to see if they are claiming Duffy's rent as income & how long he's been a tendent & are they paying taxes on it . Simple as a phone call suggesting tax not being paid , they will jump like pit bulls after a raw bone . Charlottetown is not that big . LOL If people are that interested , then stir the pot & see what falls out . No one wants them Tax people after them , they are trouble big time .

  • sasha
    February 19, 2013 - 16:10

    It's offensive that he continues to pile on fabrication after fabrication. He committed a fraud when each session of the Senate he re-affirmed the falsehood that he was living in Cavendish. He may think he can split hairs but the truth is he only flies into PEI for events similar to what he attended today. He wouldn't pay double taxes on his cavendish "home" as a non-resident if he were a resident. Islanders do not know enough about this man to say whether he is an honorable person or not because HE IS NOT FROM PEI AND HAS NEVER LIVED HERE. People are becoming less and less tolerant with every excuse he perpetuates. We know if left to the Senate and accountants he will be excused when they say the rules were unclear. Let him show his airline tickets, his electric bills and other expenses in Charlottetown and give them to the newspaper so all Islanders can feel better about "their" Senator.

  • grampie
    February 19, 2013 - 15:41

    The only people who believes that Duffy didn't cheat the Canadian taxpayer would be those who believes the sky is falling down. Duffy's statement is simply a fairy tale.

  • Perry Williams
    February 19, 2013 - 15:28

    Come on Duffy... how stupid do you think Islanders are. SHOW THE DOCUMENTS. That's all there is to it: PEI driver's license, PEI Health Card, and your PEI Tax forms. That's it. Show those three pieces and prove to everyone that you're an Island resident. No more of this BS about spending winters in town and summers in Cavendish. Pretty simple really to put this whole matter to rest and for someone who has spent their entire career in the news media, you think you' d know that.

    • Janet Gaudet
      February 20, 2013 - 07:14

      You're 100% right, Perry. If I believed everything Duffy is saying, I'd have to believe in santa claus, easter bunny, and tooth fairy.

    • Homer's Duff
      February 20, 2013 - 10:46

      Moved to Town. Which one in Canada? Heart Condition. Using what health card?

  • Ontarian
    February 19, 2013 - 15:27

    Duffy says he is not cheating on his expenses. So he should put this issue to rest once and for all by showing us his driver's licence, health card and the relevant part of his tax return (or at least an affidavit saying which province he had claimed residency in for tax purposes). I do not think this would happen though, so does this make me unCanadian? Also, as an Ontarian, I would like to know if non Ontarians are abusing our healthcare priviledges.

  • wondering
    February 19, 2013 - 15:07

    If all or half us Islanders with heart or any other health problems could afford to maintain a second home in Charlottown for the winter ,there wouldn't be many people left in the rural areas --But then, WE'RE all covered by P.E.I healthcare.

  • Jim Jimmerson
    February 19, 2013 - 14:36

    Name 100 Islanders who rent a place in the city "during the dirty months" Mr.Duffy

    • dee galla
      February 20, 2013 - 06:49

      That may be easier than you think, Sir.I had aunts and uncles do that and also a couple of neighbor ladies..The motels and such are full of winter residents..Not saying Mr Duffy is one but, it is very common for elderly Islanders.

  • peiman
    February 19, 2013 - 14:34

    Well it didn't take Duffy long to move from the enquiring reporter to step up to the trough in Ottawa!!!!

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    February 19, 2013 - 14:32

    His lawyers finally got his cover story out did they? I would not believe one word that comes out of Duffy's mouth. Why no resignation? Public officials used to resign at the merest hint or possibility of inappropriate behavior or alleged wrong doing. Why does that not happen anymore? Let us not do away with the Senate but instead let the public do the job of the Senate. That's right, when something goes to the Senate for approval or disapproval we could all vote yes or no via the internet or other communication method. WAKE UP PEOPLE and feel the crooks stealing your money out of your pocket. They smile at you one minute, acknowledge you in the next, and then throw you to the wolves. Increased financial pressures equte directly to an increase in crime.