Duffy had sex when he was younger? Shocking!

Rick MacLean
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“I mean, really, why should I care?” I thought as I read first the headline, then the story.

“Beleaguered Senator Mike Duffy faced fresh controversy Tuesday after Maclean’s magazine published an interview with a Peruvian woman who claims to be his daughter,” one breathless account began last week.

“The magazine reported that the woman, Karen Duffy, was born to Duffy after an affair with a convicted Peruvian drug smuggler who served time at a Kingston, Ont., prison.

“The Maclean's story says the alleged affair lasted for a few months in the early 1980s while her mother was on parole at an Ottawa halfway house.”

This what the media has come to? I tut-tutted. Sex, politics, a woman in prison. Sounds like a TV series, not news. What about global warming, poverty, government secrecy? Why should I care if The Duff allegedly had sex with someone 30 years ago?

When a story appeared in this very paper suggesting the news coverage was OK, my face wrinkled up in doubt.

“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,” it began.

“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.”

I laughed out loud at that last one.

“I don’t see how what happened 30 years ago has any bearing on his life today,” he added, before saying he’d have run the story if he was the editor. “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.”

My sense of moral superiority was so refreshing I practically wallowed in it. Then I flipped to Google and searched for this Karen Duffy. Wonder what she looks like, I thought. Just a peek. Research, really.

Gee, she does sort of look like him.

True, she has hair, lots of it, actually. Sort of blonde, but it’s probably from a bottle. Still, not bad looking. Has a bit of his round face. Just a bit, not the full-meal deal. And she has his eyes.

No! Get to The New York Times. Read something important. Learn stuff.

I tried.

Then a few days later The Duff was back in the news for more familiar stuff. The RCMP had lowered the boom. The prime minister’s right hand man might not have broken the law when he handed the sort-of-Islander senator a cheque for $90,000 to pay off some politically embarrassing debts, said the men in red serge.

But The Duff broke the law when he took the cheque.


Anyway, lots of charges, a court appearance coming soon to every Canadian TV news program near you. Commentators limbering up their lips at the very idea the prime minister might be hauled into court to testify under oath.

Now that’s real news. Public officials being held accountable for the spending of public money.

Then, it seems, The Duff called his alleged daughter. And I read about it.

“Out of respect for the parties we will not be making any further comments or statements at this moment,” the woman’s lawyer said primly to reporters.

Bet they will, eventually. And I’ll be waiting.

Rick MacLean is an instructor in the journalism program at Holland College in Charlottetown.

Organizations: Holland College, Maclean's, Conservatives Google New York Times RCMP

Geographic location: Kingston, Ottawa, Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • concerned
    July 28, 2014 - 08:06

    I see the sex issue as another peg, in addition to his fraud charges, that raises big questions into his morals and ethics. She's a convicted drug smuggler from a foreign country... IE: he is/was intimately linked to someone involved in organized crime... If you think there's nothing of substance to that information, then you need to get your head out of the sand.

    • Peggy Bundy
      July 28, 2014 - 16:25

      I agree it totally shines a light on how sleazy Harper must be to stack his deck with this bunch of cronies. He picked the worst possible people and he knew exactly who they were when he hired them. Does anybody really believe they weren't vetted before they were hired? There were all kinds of people openly questioning in the media how Duffy could be hired since he has worked and lived in Ottawa for years. Harper knew TURK 182.

  • Angus
    July 26, 2014 - 18:50

    And you teach journalism. Do you teach your students ethics and honesty? Do you also tell them that Gallup says only 25% of those polled trust journalists' ethics and honesty. I wonder does such a low number have anything to do with the personal characters of the teachers themselves, that journalists turn out to be lower on the trust scale than politicians. Just askin'.

    • Ben Franklin
      July 26, 2014 - 20:43

      The Harper and the Baird only like the FOX news style journalism. The ex model kind of journalist that SUN and FOX hire didn't have journalism instructors because they are not journalists. I tend to believe people that have pursued the career legitimately did so because they wanted to report the news. Not their fault the stories they report are about crooks like Harpercons. The problem is Harper's buddies own the news and employ the journalists. Prime Minister Office buddies decide on how the story is told not the journalist. Thats why the papers dont ask why Nigel Wright and Harper gets off the hook but Duffy hangs?

    • A
      July 27, 2014 - 13:17

      Not sure what you're comment has to do with mine, but if you want to deflect by ranting on about Harper & Baird wail away. My point is that this column truly reflects how sparse the media gene pool is and the depths to which the MSM are prepared to sink. Thus the low esteem in which they are held.

  • ugh
    July 26, 2014 - 13:56

    I think the only victim would be his wife if he were married to her at the time.

  • ugh
    July 26, 2014 - 13:55

    I think the only victim would be his wife if he were married to her at the time.