By Archibald Hynd Johnstone
It comes as an unbelievable shock that Marjory LeBreton, government leader in the Senate, would state that Mike Duffy’s signature on a declaration of qualification form saying that he is from Prince Edward Island is all it takes to prove he is an Island resident.
As extracted from the Canadian Parliamentary Handbook:
Senators are appointed by the Governor General under the Great Seal of Canada, and hold their places in the Senate until they reach the age of 75. The actual power of appointing senators resides by constitutional usage in the Prime Minister whose advice the Governor General accepts.
To be eligible for appointment a person must:
a) be 30 years old;
b) be either a natural born or a naturalized subject of the Queen;
c) own real property to the value of at least four thousand dollars, (over and above all encumbrances) within the province for which he is appointed;
d) have real and personal property together worth four thousand dollars over and above his debts and liabilities;
e) be a resident in the province for which he is appointed and, in the case of Quebec, have his real property qualification in the electoral division for which he is appointed or be a resident therein.
Before taking his/her seat, each senator must take the oath of allegiance and make a declaration that by law he/she is duly qualified to be appointed a member of the Senate of Canada.
That Mr. Duffy is not a resident of Prince Edward Island has been clearly stated. Prince Edward Island government tax records identify Mr. Duffy as a non-resident owner of his Cavendish cottage. The Duffy primary residence is clearly not in Prince Edward Island as required. Residents of Prince Edward Island are required to own a Prince Edward Island health card in order to receive health services and associated benefits within the province of Prince Edward Island. Prince Edward Islanders pay their taxes in Prince Edward Island.
An attempt to contravene any or all of the above requirements only serves to make Islanders and Canadians as a whole even more critical of the actions and lack of dedication pertaining to some parliamentarians.
The enemies of our tried and trusted institutions are rejoicing, even the monarchy subject to attack. And what of those who in the thousands forfeited life itself in two world wars? Did they die in vain in that democracy would appear to be under siege by those who would take advantage? We wait and we watch with concern.
Archibald Hynd Johnstone of Kensington, C.D. Flight Lieutenant Retired, RCAF, RAF, is a retired senator for Prince Edward Island. He served as a chair of the Senate committee on veterans affairs.