Petition asks for review of Mike Duffy's residency

Teresa Wright
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Somebody placed this tongue in cheek sign in front of Senator Mike Duffy’s Cavendish cottage earlier this week. The sign suggests the cottage may be for sale and the owner should contact Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

A Prince Edward Island man has started a petition asking for a public review of Conservative Senator Mike Duffy’s eligibility to represent P.E.I. and asking the Ghiz government to publicly declare him a non-resident.

Chris Stewart of Fort Augustus says he is concerned over questions that have been raised over Duffy’s residency in P.E.I.

If his primary residence is not in the province, how can he properly represent Islanders, Stewart asked.

“I feel we here in Prince Edward Island should have the same type of representation in the Senate as is afforded to other Canadians,” Stewart said.

“I think if the person who sits in the Senate on our behalf isn’t vested to the same extent as other people, then as a province or a region we’re really missing out.”

That’s why he is now amassing signatures to petition the Senate to undergo a full, public review looking at whether Duffy meets all the constitutional requirements to represent P.E.I.

VIEW RELATED LETTER TO THE EDITOR

He also feels the provincial government should weigh in on the issue.

Stewart and a group of other Islanders want a motion passed in the P.E.I. legislature declaring Duffy a non-resident.

The provincial taxation department already identifies Duffy and his wife as non-resident owners of their Cavendish cottage, Stewart pointed out.

“It would tell the federal government now and federal governments to come in the future that we are not going to quietly allow residents of other provinces to be appointed to our Senate seats,” Stewart said.

The Senate is currently seeking legal advice on how to deal with the issue of Duffy's residency in P.E.I. after questions were raised last month about whether he is a true resident of the province.

Senate Government Leader Marjory LeBreton muddied the waters on the issue last week by suggesting the legal opinion had come back and cleared Duffy of any wrongdoing.

The Senate committee on internal economy has not yet received this opinion yet, however, so questions about his residency are still up in the air.

Senators must sign an annual declaration saying their primary residence is in the province they represent, and Duffy has claimed his Cavendish cottage as his primary home.

But Duffy admitted recently he “may have been mistaken” when filling out this form.

While he maintains he has done nothing wrong, he did say he will pay back tens of thousands he has claimed in housing allowance for his home in Kanata, near Ottawa.

Meanwhile, Duffy's and three other senators’ living expense claims are being probed by external auditors.

Stewart said Tuesday he will wait for the auditors’ report to come back before passing judgment on Duffy’s expenses.

But he and the others in his group remain concerned about whether Duffy is eligible to represent the Island at all.

Their online petition has only been posted for only five days and already has over 150 signatures.

Stewart said he plans to also acquire physical signatures to allow more people to lend their names to his concerns.

“This is a non-partisan venture,” he said.

“We simply deserve that the rest of Canada has – a senator who is resident in their province and was so at the time of appointment. Right now, we just don’t know.”

He has also started a Facebook group for his cause, called ‘Senator from away.’

 

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

 

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

Organizations: Senate committee

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Fort Augustus, Kanata Ottawa Canada

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Recent comments

  • Duff House into House of Horrors
    March 09, 2013 - 22:08

    A tourism idea- use the Duff House as a house of horrors, have Shea, the Duff, Murphy, Lee, and the other backroom stabbers, suck ups to Shea to get at the trough, they could jump out of closets (no masks required) and scare everyone- a frightening house of horrors...Try to get some of the taxpayers monies back that they have so sadly wasted for pay-offs, patronage, cover-ups, silencing people...and all other hoodlum type rip offs

    • D. Morelli
      April 04, 2013 - 10:05

      I am very disappointed . I remember you as a journalist watch your show Sunday morning with my dad ? You gave the feeling of confidence telling it like it is .....But now you have stooped as low as the people you criticized. I can't believe it

  • Stompin' Tom said it best . . .
    March 07, 2013 - 09:26

    As the late great Stompin' Tom says, "But if you don't believe your country should come before yourself, Ya can better serve your country, by living somewhere else." And Mr. Duffy, when you get there, don't say that you're from here, especially if it's just some story, to feed your own career.

  • Peiguy
    March 07, 2013 - 07:44

    Do not ask me to sign that silly petition! Let it play out. What is the alternative? Some long term past news Island politician? I'd rather see one in the role even Mr Duffy who I know understands politics and the big picture before another local yokel from some backwater village who is or has been always influenced by the Island version of big business or the Backroom boys. At least he is unsullied by the foolish island politics we see on a daily basis.

  • Who cares
    March 07, 2013 - 06:30

    The real question isn't about what Duffy has on his driver's license. The senate is nothing but a politically appointed farce. Like other senators who "live here" (suppossedly) truly care about or represent us? Yeah right! It's well past time for the senate to be abolished.

  • Amazed
    March 06, 2013 - 21:55

    Looking at the declaration Duffy had to sign it is very clear you must reside in the province you claim to represent,in fact it is so straight forward a child in grade 4 or 5 could easily comprehend it.Where is the journalistic integrity Duffy is supposed to have,I guess he lost that when he bush whacked Stephan Dion to curry favour with Steven Harper.You have sold your reputation for a senate seat please do not insult tax payers any further,resign.

  • Marie
    March 06, 2013 - 17:59

    Why would he pay back the Ottawa residency claim if he truly IS a PEI resident? Then his real home would be PEI... which it should be... and he would be entitled to make a claim for an Ottawa residence while he's there. But an idiot could figure this out...He's living, filing taxes and seeing doctors under OHIP so the man is a resident of Ontario...not PEI...therefore should NOT be PEI senator. He should be made to pay every cent back including his pay cheque since he lied to get the job in the first place. All the auditing in the world won't change reality...when you lie so much, it's hard to get the facts straight after a while...ISN"T IT DUFF. PM Harper needs to step in and do the right thing. The truth and move on since it's imposible to trust or believe a liar even when they beg off as confused???!!!

  • fred
    March 06, 2013 - 16:21

    Seems funny ; a senator doing an investigation into another senator .Sort of like a drug dealer investigating another drug dealer or someone on ei investigating someone else on ei. Just wondering ;If anyone going to alberta to work; can claim $22,000 a year for a principle resident here on p.e.i. / and why not. If the n.d.p. keep their promise to abolish the senate / they have my vote . Time for a change. could it be any worst.

  • Scribe
    March 06, 2013 - 15:04

    Claim a refund on your tax return , cash the cheque, when the Tax Dept wants the money back, tell them the form was confusing,however,you will send the money back, but don't do it...then see how the Conservatives handle the matter..you could get Duff to advise you..if you could get him away from the trough long enough.oh, and the refund claimed should be in excess of $42,000.

  • Bill Stephenson
    March 06, 2013 - 13:53

    The senate only sits between 55-75 days out of 250 working days per year (statutory holidays removed). After removing vacation time and time spent at conferences, it would be reasonable to expect a senator to be in his or her home province for over 150 working days per year.

  • Resident or Not
    March 06, 2013 - 13:42

    What province is his driver's license from, that is where he is a PERMANENT resident!

  • I Like Mike
    March 06, 2013 - 11:48

    Senator Duffy is a Prince. If he says his primary residence is his empty cottage in PEI, then by golly, it is! Even if he's had to live in Ontario for the last forty years, it's not his fault he couldn't get ahead on the island, is it? If he says he is qualified to be a Senator for PEI, then by golly, he is! And you Islanders should be grateful. Who are you to challenge him? Which one of you is the Senator! And, look at all he's done for you! There's...well, you know.... a lot! Too much to list here! You PE Islanders don't know how lucky you are to be serving Senator Duffy! Senator Duffy Island. I like it, Get used to it!

    • If ya can't like nothin', what can you like?
      March 07, 2013 - 09:11

      Shucks and golly. Now that you put it that way, I can see that you're right. I searched hard to find the results of Duffy's work, and just because I found nothing, it's not poor Mike's fault. It's mine! And dang if you're not right about those tricky claims forms; nothing wrong there either. Since neither honesty nor literacy is an explicit requirement to hold a senator's position, there's nothing there that makes it his fault! You know, when a person adds it all up, there's absolutely nothing about Mike to dislike, and heck, there's nothing like Mike, for that matter. Nothing at all, just a vacuum, like a big nothing of a hole . . . where our tax money goes.

  • Jon Stone
    March 06, 2013 - 11:41

    The simple solution here is to follwo Alberta's example by nominating and electing a member of the senate to replace Mr. Duffy. The Prime Minister has encouraged provinces to conduct elections for senate and he would respect the choice. Mr. Duffy or anyone is free to put heir name forward for this.

  • jeff tabrizi
    March 06, 2013 - 11:38

    what a crock senator ! giveing the tax payers excuse the form was confusing ! islanders should ask the harper to remove this crock from senate position and charge him for fraud and make sure when he is paying back not to make mistake with amount since he is not so smart he may make onther mistake . thanks to chris stewart and the man who put sale sign on duffy,s cottage for sale by owner call harper for info ...... .

  • Beryl
    March 06, 2013 - 11:36

    You might be wise to learn a bit more about Mike Duffy and his background before nastily making judgements. He comes from the Island and his family background has been PEI for several generations. I have no doubt Mr. Duffy has nothing but the best interests of PEI in his heart, and with his long career in the news-end of politics in the federal system he is more than knowledgeable. The sarcasm and lack of respect here in some of these notes, indicates you might want to get to know about he man a bit before critisizing.

    • LA
      March 07, 2013 - 07:27

      That may all be true, but it still has nothing to do with fraudent benefit claiming. Tell us why we shouldn't criticize that.

    • Like so many before him, and many after where greed and unethical behavior wins
      March 09, 2013 - 16:21

      Lots of people in different professions, and even politicians all start out with good intentions, usually, but many become corrupt, unethical, and just another example where greed and self serving interests became more important to him...look around...he is in the majority unfortunately....corrupt, unethical, become rich and self-centered...until they will eventually get caught...

  • Heinz
    March 06, 2013 - 11:33

    Concerned Canadian.....you got to be kidding...what the hell did Shea ever do for this Island. She is Harper's Lap-Dog who never spoke out against the changes for EI nor did she speak out when they changed the fisheries act or when Harper changed the Water Protection Act. Besides to make herself look good when she walked out of parliament just before the last vote.

  • Bill Kays
    March 06, 2013 - 11:28

    I agree with Taxpayer and Where is the Money. Do you really think the audit will be conducted fairly? There is no such thing as honesty in politics. The two are at opposing ends of the righteousness spectrum. I want to be reassured that my province is fairly and accurately represented in the Senate bu not just a "LEGAL" Islander (if he is) but by a true Islander who truly holds the Island dear in his heart.

  • Charges
    March 06, 2013 - 11:00

    So why is Mike Duffy not being charged with fraud? Hello!!!! this is fraud, not oops I made a mistake on my tax return. This is I claimed $33,000 a year when I knew I was not living on PEI. It's about time these lying cheating stealing politician are held up to same laws that apply to the rest of the people in this Country. If this was Joe (Joan) Public they'd be charged, the RCMP would be knocking on his/her door and presto off to jail you'd go. And that is exactly where Mike Duffy belongs.....

  • don
    March 06, 2013 - 10:52

    CONCERNED CANADIAN. i agree with you now jenn how many millions has Duffy gave away of our tax money ? i no see you saying anything about the liberals in Ottawa that made a fake report of there living reports. after being in there for the past 1,000 years. and i wonder are you an import to PEI? i know my family has been on PEI for 7 generations.we have more important things to worry about and that is the USELESS dizzy government.

  • Mary
    March 06, 2013 - 10:00

    Mike Duffy declared vocally that he is an Islander representing the Senate, but " on paper " he is not! He wants to pay back what was declared " wrongly " to clear his name. He claims he " may have made a mistake," when filling out the form about his primary residency. A journalist in the past, reporting on others doing " no good " he would be scrutinizing everything with a fine tooth comb. He is no longer a resident of this province. I truly believe when It's all said and done, Mike Duffy has to go!! With all the news coverage, and reports on this " fiasco " how much more proof is needed? We, the people of P.E.I. know that we have no representation, and would appreciate, that this matter be addressed. Mike Duffy is cleared of any wrongdoing, according to Senate Gov't Leader Marjory LeBreton, hasn't convinced me nor others, I am sure. Show us proof!! It's all too murky and muddy and not at all " true blue." I for one, will be sigining the petition!!

  • Ron McAllister
    March 06, 2013 - 08:43

    If I lied on my forms and ended up with an extra $40,000 in the bank, I'd have to hand the money back and probably be charged with fraud. Sorry it just doesn't cut the BS test that Duffy didn't know how to fill out this form. If he can't figure out a simple questionare how is he supposed examine more complex issues the Senate faces on a regular basis. So either he is a fool or he's a liar! Pigs at the trough!

  • Embarrassment
    March 06, 2013 - 07:55

    He sure doesn't represent my interests or the interests of any Islander I know. You know what? There's little doubt that's a good thing, but should he get paid for doing it?

  • James Macgoo Lakeside
    March 06, 2013 - 07:51

    Well done Mr. Stewart. I would add, that regardless of what an inquiry by members of the Senate in Ottawa may determine, the people of PEI and their government should have the final statement concerning residency and who represents the island people. The Senate may not always have the interest of the people of PEI first and foremost.

  • Where is the Money?
    March 06, 2013 - 07:50

    Duffy made a big, well publicised, announcement about paying back the money but I haven't heard anything about him actually writing a cheque. Oh right, he probably made a mistake filling it out because it was too confusing...

  • ivan clow
    March 06, 2013 - 07:33

    charge duffy with theft ,attempted theft and conspissory to commit theft. put him in jail and fire him

  • Carla Morgan
    March 06, 2013 - 07:31

    This is a serious issue. I was astounded that Mike Duffy was chosen as a senator in the first place... then outraged when he suggested Maritime Union while acting in his role as Senator from Prince Edward Island. Surely with the fact that he is not now, nor has he been a resident of Prince Edward Island for some considerable time, he should actually resign. In the future, the Prime Minister should consult with the province before inviting anyone to serve as a senator for our island. We have many highly qualified islanders here.

  • WayneDrops
    March 06, 2013 - 07:28

    Don't expect the Opposition here on Prince Edward Island to support it. Now that the old backroom has regained control they will not speak out against Duffy. They are more likely to support him since they are all one. Also, Duffy's policy advisor is Mary McQuaid and she is a former secretary over in the Opposition office and she will push them all to support Duffy as well. Only two over there with any backbone would be Hal and Olive!

  • Nalda Wheeler
    March 06, 2013 - 07:03

    This is utterly ridiculous and he should be removed from the Senate. If he wasn't smart enough to understand the forms he completed and signed then he certainly isn't smart enough to become a Senator and represent PEI. The PC Government should "remove him". I know he is an appointment by the Prime Minister but that is no excuse for not dealing with this and doing what is right.

  • Jane Ralling
    March 06, 2013 - 06:55

    So, how do you go about signing such a petition?

  • formerislander
    March 06, 2013 - 06:51

    Personally, i think what Duffy did was wrong, but ya know what Chris Stewart, GET A LIFE! Find something more constructive to do with your time....must be really boring this time of year in Ft. Augustus, of course it is, PEI in February the worst place to be in Canada.....

  • Taxpayer
    March 06, 2013 - 06:28

    Stop the bleeding. Mike Duffy played the Political game and got caught. Complete the probe, if he did wrong and this is deemed Criminal have him pay back the money and than charge him. At least remove him from the Senate position. This remedy should go for any others who have been filing fraudulent claims.

  • Jenn
    March 06, 2013 - 06:02

    Who cares where he lives, nobody wants him here regardless.

  • Concerned Canadian
    March 06, 2013 - 03:09

    CFA !! ! ! what a crock, You secluded, deluded Islanders are never satisfied with Ottawa's help. Mike Duffy has done far more for PEI in his short term than Ghiz and his liberal cronies. The team of Duffy and Shea have done wonders for this tiny Island community. If you are really interested in Canada and in Global issues. Wake up read the news, watch the news absorb some issues that are not about Drunk Driving and EI as well as inexplicable judges sendin people to Sleepy Hollow for a Holiday. Get with the world, forget about CFA's and become part of a productive CANADA. A Veteran A Citizen and a Proud Canadian

    • "concerned" Canadian?
      March 06, 2013 - 10:46

      Mike, I've told you a million, no . . . make that a billion trillion times, not to exaggerate! Just stop reading and responding to the posts describing your character; isn't that right word to use, "describing"? Anyway, it must be depressing, so just ignore these ignorant islanders and enjoy their money.

    • Dear Concerned Canadian
      March 06, 2013 - 11:27

      I find your post offensive. I am neither secluded nor deluded and would gladly welcome any help available IF it were real help, not just lip service. This issue with Duffy is an example of the attitude of those who forget that PEI is a province and the people pay taxes, vote, and are loyal to the country, including sending many of our youth to serve proudly in the military. I cannot for the life of me imagine why someone who has such disdain for fellow Canadians would spend valuable time reading our local news when it upsets him/her so greatly. Perhaps you a bit jealous that our issues are so human and rural and personal, whereas, those are the very things important to our culture. I would love to see all the wonderful things that "Senator" Duffy has done for PEI. I am waiting....

    • Jon Lehti
      March 06, 2013 - 13:16

      What has he done so good then.

    • CrazyTalk
      March 06, 2013 - 18:26

      @Concerned Canadian Listen Pal - Duffy is not a CFA he is an Islander who has been living in Ontario for decades. He claims he lives here, makes financial claims based on his living here and then has the gall to say that he does as most other Islanders do and takes an apartment in town for the winter. The guy has been in Ontario on the privileged plan for so long - he wouldn't understand the life of an Islander if you paid him to - and we do. So tell me - Just what to you imagine he has done for PEI? Name something. I dare you. Maybe you ought to read and absorb some information.

    • The Duff and Shea writing together, how nice
      March 09, 2013 - 22:02

      So the Duff and Shea taking a break from the ACOA trough for a few minutes to check on public opinion. No, hasn't changed, still in the toilet, thought of as useless yes boys for Harper hoodlums. Back to the trough, back to the trough....with the rest of the boys

  • David
    March 06, 2013 - 00:38

    About time islanders woke and said something about the fraud being committed against them by Duffy and Harper and Gail Shea. I can't understand though why gail Shea has been so silent on this issue when it is obvious Duffy is not from PEI and is basically trying to outshine Shea who is the duly elected MP and Government Minister. I would hope that Harper and Shea would now take this sham seriously and do something about removing Duffy and stop the embarassment from going any further against honest islanders who do actually know where they live and are smart enough to fill out a Government form.

  • Jason
    March 06, 2013 - 00:22

    Even if he did live here..what credentials would he possibly have that makes him next in line to deserve a senate posistion anyway? Maybe Mike should have not went on about maritime provinces amalgamating which sure brought alot attention his way and raised a question for myself as to why this guy would ever make that comment? And now we know! Well he sure did get the attention he was looking for...I say back to the old job buddy..thanks for trying

  • Bob Lockhart
    March 06, 2013 - 00:10

    I would vote to recall Duffy as a Senator. I believe PEI deserves to have a person who has lived and worked on PEI and understands the struggles Island people experience. Duffs an Ottawa citizen and sadly has allowed himself to be a Harper tool.

  • don
    March 05, 2013 - 23:32

    must be a liberal. he wants mike out as he is a fighter and will not bow down to the liberals. like the PC's on pei do.

  • Joe Blow
    March 05, 2013 - 23:31

    This is fantastic and Mr Stewart is 100% right....PEI deserves the same representation as the other provinces in Canada as far as the Senate goes....and Stephen Harper GIVING Duffy a seat because he knows Duffy will tow the party line and never go against anything Harper says....thats a poor reason to appoint someone to senate. Its just further proof that Harper doesn't care about PEI and that he intends to push Islanders around with his power instead of being fair to all. Where do I sign up??