Every possible indicator appears to point to the fact that Mike Duffy is not a resident of P.E.I. Since nothing really has changed in four years, it would appear that Mr. Duffy was not a resident in January of 2009. Consequently, as suggested by this writer, his appointment to the Senate was unconstitutional. And even though the Senate shirked its duty to inquire into that appointment, the passage of time will not turn an unconstitutional act into a constitutional one. Simply put, Mr. Duffy is no more a senator today than he was four years ago.
But this raises a question: what is the status of legislation passed by the Senate while Mr. Duffy (and Ms. Wallin) were sitting in the red chamber. They would have been what is sometimes called "strangers". Does the unconstitutional participation of "strangers" nullify the actions of a legislative body? An interesting question. If the answer is yes, then we have had four years of unconstitutional federal legislation, since the Senate was not legally and constitutionally assembled to act on bills.
It would be a kind of constitutional version of the American "fruit of the poisoned tree."
Maybe the Senate should be concerned about more than Mr. Duffy's claims for living expenses.
David M. Bulger,
University of Prince Edward Island