© Photo special to The Guardian by The Canadian Press.
P.E.I. Senator Mike Duffy leaves a meeting of the Senate Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration committee on Parliament Hill Thursday, May 9 in Ottawa. His opponents say Duffy should resign over the latest controversy to dog the senator.
Callbeck votes against Duffy's suspension
Copy of what was to have been Senator Mike Duffy's final address to the Senate on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Closure of debate on the motion to suspend him prevented Duffy from delivering this speech:
"I’m here again in this chamber – against the advice of my cardiologist – to continue my campaign for fundamental justice.
I want to begin by thanking the drafters of the motion before us for having the decency to include the continuation of health care and insurance.
Friday I am to undergo a procedure at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute which I hope will help improve my health. Knowing my family will have coverage if something goes wrong is of some comfort. Thank you.
And while I have some important new points to make about the horrible process that has brought us to where we are today, I’m also going to talk about the work that I have done as a Senator from Prince Edward Island.
For me it is both a tremendous honour and an opportunity to serve Canada and Prince Edward Island. I’ve worked diligently and honourably to do that.
And after years as a journalist on Parliament Hill, I knew I wasn’t by any means the first Senator to be appointed with this same residential situation.
I also knew that I was crossing over from a non-partisan, journalistic role to a new role as a Conservative politician.
I understood the several different aspects of Senate work:
I knew I was to be an advocate for Prince Edward Island and Atlantic Canada here in Ottawa.
I knew this place is supposed to be a chamber of sober second thought.
And of course as a Conservative politician I knew I would have a role to play in building and strengthening support for the Party.
For the last five years I’ve dedicated myself to these tasks.
Sometimes it was my job to represent Cabinet Ministers at announcements of developments for which I had advocated and which government saw fit to implement.
Working with our excellent Minister, Hon. Gail Shea, I was able to help a substantial number of Island businesses and community groups achieve federal government funding for key initiatives. I’m thinking for instance of MacDougall Steel, Island Abbey Foods in Charlottetown and PEI Juice Works in Alberton.
I’ve met with key figures in the agriculture and forest industries, listened to their concerns and dedicated myself to getting their messages heard in government. Organizations ranging from Special Olympics to Egg Producers have approached me to help them get their voices heard in the seats of the mighty. And I have worked vigorously to do so.
I meet frequently with representatives of the PEI Tourism industry and help develop strategies to increase visitation.
I work with the Confederation Centre in Charlottetown in making their funding case to Ottawa.
I’ve met with and developed plans for NGOs such as Friends of the Farm, the L.M. Montgomery Land Trust and the Montgomery Theatre.
At the request of the Charlottetown Airport Board, I am working to address funding challenges facing our country’s small airports.
Perhaps the project of which I am most proud is the expansion of Holland College.
This multi-million dollar project was funding by the Knowledge Infrastructure Fund, and has triggered the redevelopment of the Eastern entrance of Charlottetown.
Honourable Senators will know how much competition there was for this kind of funding; and working with Minister Gail Shea, we pulled out all of the stops.
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I lobbied the responsible ministers, and even spoke at their local riding associations as part of my on-going campaign.
Minister James Moore told the Confederation Center of the Arts, that I had become a pain in the neck, constantly pressing him for funds for the Confed Center and our 2014 celebrations.
I am not unique in this. All honourable Senators do similar things for their provinces.
I am proud to be a voice for Prince Edward Island here in the Senate of Canada. And I admit, I loved every bit of this work—I was putting knowledge gained in my years in journalism to work in a new and meaningful way. Helping to build a better province and a better country.
When the election came in 2011, I was pleased to accept invitations to help in the campaign by speaking at events across Canada.
Throughout this partisan activity I followed all the rules regarding expenses.
I wasn’t trying to rip off the government, the Senate or Canadians.
Serving in this chamber is, I repeat, the greatest public professional honour I have ever had – why would I want to subvert or discredit it in any way?
I did not, and I do not.
Since I came here I have dedicated myself to working for a better 21st century Canada, and specifically to building a better Prince Edward Island.
I have been absolutely thrilled to be able to do this. And even if suspended, I will continue this work.
No-one is more sorry than me that this controversy has diverted us from more important issues. The toll on my friends and family has been staggering. But faced with unfair attacks on my character, I felt compelled to do what any honest Canadian would do. I fought back.
The Government leader in the Senate brought in closure, because he wants this rammed through quickly, so he can then turn the page.
Let me tell you the page isn’t going to be turned on this issue for a long time.
The auditor-general is just starting; and doing audits of all Senators going back to 2009, as he must if he is going to treat everyone equally, will take a long time.
And now we have the RCMP investigating to determine just how many people in the PMO, the Conservative Party and the Senate leadership, knew about the deal to force me to repay money I didn’t owe.
The Conservative Convention is over.
So what’s the rush?
Why throw away due process when all of the competent authorities are working?
It just doesn’t make sense.
Colleagues, the Senate and the House of Commons are not courts, or if they are, they’re Kangaroo Courts undermined by partisan, political or personal conflicts of interest.
Due process is the only way to achieve fairness and fundamental justice in our cases.
Witch hunts are bad, our ancestors learned that after the trials in Salem, our parents and grandparents learned it from the slanders of the late Senator Joe McCarthy, my generation learned it from Watergate.
Please stop this witch hunt and allow the police and the auditors to do their work.
Thank you, honourable Senators"