Allegations Mike Duffy fathered a child salacious but fair game: Duffy biographer

Teresa Wright
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Senator Mike Duffy arrives on Parliament Hill for a meeting of the Senate Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration committee on Parliament Hill on May 9, 2013 in Ottawa.

Allegations that P.E.I. Senator Mike Duffy fathered a child with a convicted drug smuggler may be personal and salacious, but they’re fair game in today’s world of politics, says former newspaper editor and Duffy biographer Dan Leger.

The explosive allegations, contained in a recent MacLean’s Magazine article, are being made by Karen Duffy, a 32-year-old Peruvian woman. She insists Duffy is her father and has filed a civil suit in a Peru court to try to prove this is true.

The article sent shockwaves across the country, with most political watchers expressing surprise at the allegations. Leger, who recently wrote a book about Duffy’s life, was no exception.

RELATED STORY: New book chronicles rise and fall of Mike Duffy

“I was as surprised as anyone when I saw the story,” he said.

Leger spent months researching all things Mike Duffy and interviewed over 30 people for his book, Duffy: Stardom to Senate to Scandal, which hit bookstores in March.

The book chronicles Duffy’s life from the time he was born in Charlottetown in the 1940s to the day he was unceremoniously suspended from the Red Chamber last fall amid a national scandal surrounding his housing expenses.

In all his research, neither an affair with a convicted drug mule nor an unacknowledged child ever came up, Leger said.

“It kind of does fit in with what I know of Mike Duffy, in that he was pretty careless about his personal life,” Leger said.

“But these things happen to people and I can understand how they happen. This sounds like another thing that will only make his heart problems worse.”

In the MacLean’s article, Karen Duffy alleges her mother met Mike Duffy after she was convicted of trying to smuggle cocaine into the country. She says her mother, Yvette Benites, was at the Kingston Prison for Women at the same time Duffy’s sister was serving time there in the late 1970s.

After being granted parole, Karen Duffy claims her mother brought Duffy a gift from his sister and a romance blossomed soon afterward. She claims Benites only told Duffy about the pregnancy the day before she was deported back to Peru in 1981.

Karen Duffy claims she does not want money or Canadian citizenship, but merely wants a connection with the man she believes to be her father.

In a statement to the magazine, Duffy says the article “contains untrue allegations, made by a convicted narcotics smuggler.”

Many have taken issue with the article, pointing to the intensely personal nature of the allegations and the fact they stem from events that occurred decades before he was a politician.

Leger says he came upon other salacious details of Duffy’s life in his own research, but did not include them in his book because they were irrelevant.

“I don’t see how what happened 30 years ago has any bearing on his life today,” Leger said.

However, the former newspaper editor says he would have been in favour of running the MacLean’s story if it had been up to him.

“He is a public figure, and I wonder if they found out something similar about Justin Trudeau or a Liberal senator, whether the Conservatives wouldn’t find a way to make it public. Politics is a rough sport these days.”

Also, Leger points out Duffy did not outright deny the paternity claim.

“(The story) appears to be sound, and Duffy’s response is not a denial,” Leger said.

“But in the grand scheme of things, this has no bearing on his role as a senator so the public interest in this is purely salacious.”

The Guardian has not been able to verify the claims made in the MacLean’s article. A request to Duffy for comment was not immediately returned.


Organizations: Red Chamber, Kingston Prison for Women, Conservatives

Geographic location: Peru, Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • Monique
    July 24, 2014 - 10:24

    You know if it was Mike Duffy the reporter, he would be interested in exposing this. Very interesting that she came into the news the same week the RCMP laid charges. If I was her, I wouldn't acknowledge him as my father.

  • Rebecca
    July 18, 2014 - 05:45

    I disagree with Dan Leger. There is nothing salacious about this story. Reporters were not snooping around in Duffy's personal life - the press reported on this because the daughter herself came forward and filed a case in a courthouse. It's the job of the press to report on legal cases. And it can have a bearing on Duffy's life today because it shows possible dishonesty and lack of responsibility for his actions.

  • Trashy Magazine
    July 17, 2014 - 07:09

    Join the Club, how many men out there in the same boat? MacLeans must be desperate for sales! Are they the new National Enquirer?

  • Robby McRobb
    Robby McRobb
    July 17, 2014 - 06:53

    The Conservative backed Witch hunt continues. the proposed charges against Mike by the RCMP and this ludicrous claim from Peru are certainly the work of Harperites. or Hypocritse A word that means the same. Mike Duffy IF he has done as is claimed about his spending I say once again as a 10 year PMO staffer. Checkeveryones expenses before charging a scapegoat that earned millions for the vurrent Government. If in fact I was famous or a celebrity of sorts. Would I be considered to be the Father of a love chid? Leanne McRobb fellow alki of Rob Fords. I think not. Leave Mike alone let him relax and enjoy life reflecting on all the GOOD that he did for Canada and the PC Party. A.Robby McRobb CFA and Canadian Patriot

    • hmatthewl
      July 17, 2014 - 07:31

      You write quite a crock........., Mike Duffy, did nothing for me, or any other PE Islander, except look after himself.

    • nitpicker
      July 17, 2014 - 12:06

      Really. So I am to believe that the 30+ charges just laid by the RCMP are at the behest of Stephen Harper; that our national police force is but a tool of the federal PCs? I don't think so. Are you a Canadian patriot? Then stop simplifying important issues to juvenile partisan politics.

  • sonny
    July 16, 2014 - 22:36

    Duffy shouldn't burn any bridges. The information available about this your woman is that she is form an affluent family. Duffy may be needing someone to look after him and she sounds willing to do that for him. She certainly is not going to benefit from him in any way.

  • Dan
    July 16, 2014 - 21:25

    Amazing what alcohol cam lead too...

  • w kennedy
    July 16, 2014 - 20:57

    checking comments I see you still allow Anonymous posts ...where is He ???

  • Imagine the Duffster with flowing locks
    July 16, 2014 - 20:31

    I am sorry, and apologize in advance but two items spring to mind: Firstly is the image of Mike Duffy as a teenage female with long flowing hair. I realize this is unfair but holy smokes, what an image. Secondly, is a question of wonderment. Does Peru not have Internet? For if it had Internet , then why, oh why, would anyone want to try to prove that Mike Duffy was her father?

  • Shutterbug
    July 16, 2014 - 20:23

    Who really cares? People have kids all the time. This isn't news.

    • exactly
      July 17, 2014 - 07:11

      Exactly. It is not a story.

  • Must Have Been a Long Dry Spell
    July 16, 2014 - 17:37

    That woman must have been in prison for a long time to want to do the dance with the old Duffer.