POLITICS

Mike Duffy May Attend Senate Suspension Debate

10/22/2013 08:09 EDT | Updated 12/22/2013 05:12 EST
CP
Senator Mike Duffy may show up for today's Senate debate on the motion to suspend him without pay, sources tell CBC News.

While Duffy is currently on sick leave, sources say he may have to attend Tuesday so he can be there while the Senate debates his future and possible suspensions to his colleagues, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau, the CBC's Hannah Thibedeau reported.

On Monday, Duffy's lawyer levelled bombshell allegations at the Prime Minister's Office, saying his client's living expenses were "cleared from Day 1" by then Senate government leader Marjory LeBreton's office, and when they later became controversial, Duffy was pressured to take a deal from the PMO or face removal from his seat.

Lawyer Donald Bayne on Monday read from emails purportedly between Duffy and LeBreton's office as well as Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former chief of staff Nigel Wright and others to support his claim that Duffy did not knowingly break Senate rules.

Bayne said that when the growing scandal became politically explosive, Duffy was "in effect" told by the PMO not to co-operate with auditors, Bayne said.

PM offers no new info

Bayne said the PMO told Duffy "the Tory base" was offended by his residency claims and he would have to repay money for all four years of secondary housing claims for his Ottawa home. Duffy's objections to repaying money he did not believe he owed, said Bayne, were greeted by "threats and pressure from the PMO."

One of those threats, said Bayne, was that Senators David Tkachuk and Carolyn Stewart Olsen, who held the majority on a subcommittee, would declare Duffy's Senate appointment constitutionally invalid if he refused to co-operate with accepting a payment from Wright.

The PMO, Bayne said, came up with a "scenario" and communication lines for Duffy to use with the media about how to explain why he was paying back the expense money.

During Monday's question period in the House of Commons, the prime minister offered no new information to address the claims, repeating what he has said every time he has been asked about the allegations in the ongoing Senate expenses scandal.

"We've been very clear that we expect all parliamentarians to respect the letter and the spirit of any rules regarding expenses, and if they do not respect that, then they can expect there to be consequences and accountability for their actions," Harper said.

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