Senator Mike Duffy testified before the Senate on Monday Oct. 28. The following are his remarks:
I come here today, against my doctor's orders, directly from the Heart Institute. I have to give them a plug. If you have any spare cash, they're always happy to take donations. Maybe that's out of order. Anyway, they are wonderful, caring people over there who advised me, if possible, to stay away from these proceedings because the stress from the proceedings is toxic to my heart. But despite their warnings, I have no choice but to appear considering the avalanche of untruths and character assassination with which I've been unfairly and viciously attacked by colleagues who should know better.
I listened with a mixture of sadness and incredulity to what has been said over the past few days. I thought Senator Carignan, Leader of the Government, would have been more careful in his accusations, especially considering the profile of him in The Globe and Mail and the defamatory things being said about him in his province of Quebec. He deserves the presumption of innocence in his activities on the elected playing field, and so do we three. Sadly, that isn't the case.
Hansard reports that on or about 16:30 on October 23, Senator Carignan said: "the rules of the Senate were violated repeatedly, with negligence and recklessness."
What rules? When and how? Does he not know that the PMO, speaking explicitly through Nigel Wright and after checking into my expense claims, wrote to me on December 4, 2012:
"Mike, I am told you have complied with all of the applicable rules and there will be several senators with similar arrangements?"
Was he referring to Senator Stewart Olsen, who took two years to move from her home in Ottawa to her home in New Brunswick?
This was December 4, colleagues, December 4, 2012, after I had been four full years as a senator, and this is in direct reference to all of the living‑allowance claims that Senator Carignan had the nerve to say I broke the rules about, recklessly.
And Nigel Wright wasn't alone. On December 3, 2012, the day before Mr. Wright sent me that email, Senator David Tkachuk, the Chair of the Board of Internal Economy, confirmed to the media that my expenses were entirely within the rules. He stated there was no reason for me not to claim the housing allowance in Ottawa.
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Senator Carignan's wild, unsubstantiated charge reminds me of that defamatory accusation made on May 28 at the infamous televised meeting of the Board of Internal Economy. That rare, televised meeting of the board was scheduled after I had the temerity to tell the media on May 23 that they could relax, that I wanted all of the facts to come out in the proper place, in the proper time, with all of the players under oath.
Well, guess what? The PMO didn't like that. "Duffy wants to go public. We'll fix him."
So they scheduled a televised meeting of the Board of Internal Economy, knowing my lawyer was away, and gave me nine minutes' notice that they had new evidence against me.
Well, I stayed away from the ambush and watched TV to learn what they were talking about, without ever interviewing me, and contrary to the findings of the independent auditor Deloitte, they concluded that I had engaged in a pattern ‑‑ a pattern ‑‑ of filing false expenses, and they called in the RCMP.
When I finally received a DVD containing the so‑called evidence, what did I discover? They had sent the Mounties every expense claim I ever filed in the Senate, from December 29, 2008 to August 12, 2013. That totalled 215 claims.
Senate finance decreased 47 claims, saying I had overcharged a meal allowance here, 13 bucks; a mileage adjustment there, a few dollars. But they also increased 28 claims saying I had not charged the Senate enough.
When you do the math, 215 claims over four and a half years, I overcharged the Senate, they said ‑‑ and we didn't challenge their math ‑‑ $437.35, which, on 215 claims, works out to $2.03 a claim.
And Senate finance corrected these small errors, this pattern of filing false claims, $2.03 per claim.
This is the type of minor expense mistake routinely made in all Senate offices, and you know, with the complexity of the Senate expense form, that that is true. That also explains why the Senate administration has since dumped those forms and brought in a new computerized accounting system to make it clearer and more understandable for everyone.
Colleagues, your staff sends in the form and Senate finance makes corrections and adjustments. Not a penny remains owing from these minor adjustments, which were all duly corrected and paid. Let's get it straight.
They, the Board of Internal Economy, on live television, accused me of submitting fake expense claims, a grand total of $2.03 a claim. And for this, they defamed a sitting senator on national television?
I asked for a copy of all of the correspondence from the Senate administration over the time that I have been in this august chamber, four and a half years. I wanted every communication between me, my office and the Senate administration about anything about which they were concerned.
Did they ever, ever once write and ask me, “What's going on? We have some concerns.” Never. Not one word.
If this monstrous defamation had been made outside, I would have sued, but it was made in committee, where senators are protected by parliamentary privilege. This was back on May 28.
The Board of Internal Economy actually met twice on that day. They met in secret in the morning. Were the 15 members of the board told there that they were about to defame a colleague on national TV over errors amounting to $2.03 a claim?
If this monstrous defamation had been made outside, I would have sued.
I can't believe my colleagues on the board would have participated in this hideous distortion of the truth had they known the alleged crime was the price of a Tim's: two bucks. $2.03. Small, inexpensive, insignificant claims mistakes, all immediately corrected.
Well, I can only conclude that this was a setup, planned by the Senate leadership under the direction of the PMO and designed to destroy my credibility with Canadians, if and when I ever went public about the real story behind the $90,000.
Given the enormity of the May 28 allegations, should any senator believe anything they are being told by the leadership today about the actions of Senators Wallin, Brazeau and me? What lies are they whispering this afternoon in caucus about if you only knew what we knew about these three terrible people?
I know one thing: You can't trust this leadership to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Speaking of leadership, that was quite a performance last week by Senator LeBreton. She smugly dismissed my revelations of conspiracy, bribery, threats and extortion. It was a whopper. Well, it is a whopper all right. You wait until Canadians see the email trail in the hands of my lawyers and, I hope, in the hands of the RCMP.
Those emails among the PMO, their lawyers -- including Ben Perrin, who is very actively involved in vetting resolutions for the party's national convention this weekend -- lawyers for the PMO; Ben Perrin; the Conservative Party's lawyer, Arthur Hamilton, he was involved; and my lawyer, when you look at all those emails in that chain, it proves this was a setup from the start and that I am innocent.
The PM knew I wasn't guilty. Nigel Wright knew I wasn't guilty -- he said so in that email. And the Senate leadership knew I wasn't guilty. Just take a look at the documentary evidence.
That was quite a performance last week by Senator LeBreton. She smugly dismissed my revelations of conspiracy, bribery, threats and extortion. It was a whopper. Well, it is a whopper all right. You wait until Canadians see the email trail in the hands of my lawyers and, I hope, in the hands of the RCMP.
So I'm back home in P.E.I., after the prime minister has decided we are going to do this nefarious scheme, and Nigel is working the phones, coaxing me to go along with this terrible plan. He even said he would pay the $90,000. All I had to do was to go along and do as I was told.
Not only that, but when I insisted on written guarantees that repaying money I didn't owe would not be seen by the Senate as a guilty plea, Nigel Wright arranged to have my legal fees paid. That is right. One cheque from Nigel Wright? No, ladies and gentlemen, there were two cheques, at least two cheques. The PMO, listen to this, had the Conservative Party's lawyer, Arthur Hamilton, pay my legal fees. He paid for my lawyer -- Arthur Hamilton -- a cheque, $13,560. That is right, senators: not one payment ‑‑ not one payment ‑‑ but two.
Contrary to the prime minister's assertion on CFRB last week that he ordered repayment because Senate expense rules were, in his words, "beyond the shadow of a doubt broken," he had my legal bills fully paid. Why would he do that? He would never do it, if he believed my expense claims were improper.
He did this because, as I have said from the start, this was all part of his strategy, negotiated by his lawyers and the Conservative Party's lawyers, to make a political situation, embarrassing to his base, go away.
He took their money ‑‑ I suspect; I can't prove it yet. I suspect he took their money, the base's money, to pay off ‑‑ to make this all go away. The cheques tell who is telling the truth and who is not.
One cheque from Nigel Wright? No, ladies and gentlemen, there were two cheques.
Mike Duffy, the man they now claim is a cheat, had more than $13,000 in legal expenses paid by Arthur Hamilton, the Conservative Party's lawyer from Cassels Brock, this on top of the $90,000, which they say came from Nigel Wright. I have never seen a cheque from Nigel Wright, but I do have the cheque stub and the transmittal letter from Arthur Hamilton, the Conservative Party's lawyer, and when I finish my remarks today, with the Senate's permission, I would like to table it, and copies of the emails and other memoranda that I will refer to in the next few minutes.
What more evidence do honourable senators need than the email train among the highest levels in the PMO detailing the contract negotiations? The links to the $90,000 payment, and now the further $13,000 payment from the party lawyer to my lawyers, shows that this monstrous fraud was the PMO's creation from start to finish.
When you have an opportunity to read these emails, you will see the back and forth as the PMO lawyers checked with their principal on the language which would be used to direct the future actions of Senator LeBreton and others in the Conservative Party leadership. As a senator, it saddens me to see that at one point, when Senator LeBreton actually tried to act independently, Nigel Wright wrote me a letter saying he was displeased by this freelancing by Senator LeBreton and her colleagues. His tone was, who do they think they are?
He ordered the Senate leadership and the Conservatives on the steering committee of the Board of Internal Economy to fall into line and stop unilateral action. It's all here in writing.
Are we independent senators or PMO puppets? When you read this documentation, colleagues, you will see who was running this brutal campaign to destroy support among Canadians for a chamber of sober second thought, a chamber that would act as a break on the unfettered power of the people across the way.
Senator LeBreton says she can't find that two‑page legal memo written on her behalf by her constitutional adviser.
Well, the document is dated January 6, 2009 and was sent to Senator Wallin and me before we were sworn in. In this memo, Senator LeBreton has her constitutional expert explain to us the Senate's residency policy. Why did she do that? Because we wanted to make sure we followed the rules. So they sent us this two‑page memo, and it says the Senate itself determines what constitutes residency, free entirely from definitions set out by other government departments or statutes. That memo further explains that residency does not depend in any way on the number of days spent in one's home province or at a given residence.
Are we independent senators or PMO puppets?
We followed the advice in this memo, as did my staff when they filled in my housing allowances and expense forms, under the guidance and supervision of the experts at Senate Finance.
I would like to table that as well.
(Duffy was informed his 15 minutes had expired but asked for, and received, more time to speak).
We have more to come. We have more to come.
The memo further explains that residency does not depend in any way on the number of days spent in one's home province or at a given residence. I followed the advice in this memo, as did my staff when they filled in my housing allowances and expense forms, under the guidance and supervision of the experts at Senate Finance. I would like to table that document as well.
So to recap: I followed the rules set out by Senator LeBreton's expert. Four years in, on December 3, Senator Tkachuk, a gentleman, then chair of the board of internal economy, confirmed to the media that I had followed the rules and was eligible for these allowances. The next day, on December 4, Nigel Wright at the PMO checked and reported my claims were within the rules. And finally, Deloitte confirmed that, except for a clerical error on per diems during my vacation, I had not broken the rules.
But there is more.
Senator LeBreton tried to brush off my February 13 meeting with the Prime Minister and Nigel Wright. How can she speak to this? She wasn't there. She was never present during the meeting.
As I told you, colleagues, last Wednesday, it was the prime minister, Nigel Wright and me, just the three of us.
And this wasn't a casual encounter, as Senator LeBreton suggests. The meeting was set up on February 11 when I met with Nigel Wright in the Langevin Block. That's when I first heard about it and immediately voiced my objections to this fake pay‑back scheme. Last week I told senators that at that meeting on February 13, down the hall, the prime minister agreed I had not broken the rules but insisted I pay the money back, money I didn't owe, because the Senate's rules are, in his words, "inexplicable to our base."
It was never about ethics. It was always all about politics, which explains why Arthur Hamilton was busy cutting cheques.
Have you heard enough?
Wait. There is even more.
As I told you, colleagues, last Wednesday, it was the prime minister, Nigel Wright and me, just the three of us.
Senator LeBreton, some Conservative MPs and some PMO spinners have been attacking me for saying I had gotten a loan at the RBC. Some people, colleagues, just have no shame. That line about RBC was part of a script written for me and emailed to me by the PMO.
On February 21, after all of the threats and intimidation, I reluctantly agreed to go along with this dirty scheme. The PMO spin machine was in high gear. Cellphone and PMO telephone records from February will show there were numerous phone calls and emails to me as the PMO developed their version of events, and rehearsed with me right up until minutes before I went on television the lines I would use with the media.
Early on, in those discussions with the PMO, the PMO experts predicted the media would ask, "Where did you get the $90,000?" When they heard that I had been using a line of credit to renovate my home in Cavendish, they jumped right on it. It was suggested I go to the RBC, borrow the cash to pay off that line of credit, and then, when the media asked, "Where did you get the money to pay the $90,000?", the PMO told me to say, "My wife and I took out a loan at the Royal Bank."
Well, that's technically correct, we took out a loan, but that loan wasn't to repay money, the $90,000 that the PMO agreed I didn't owe. That line was written by the PMO to deceive Canadians as to the real source of the $90,000.
That line about RBC was part of a script written for me and emailed to me by the PMO.
The millions of Canadians who voted for Prime Minister Harper and the thousands of Tories gathering in Calgary this week would be shocked to see how some of these people, some of these Tories, operate.
They have no moral compass. Oh, they talk a great game about integrity, but, in my experience, they demonstrate every day that they do not understand the meaning of the phrase "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."
How sad it is to see this attack on this important branch of our parliamentary system by people who are supposed to know something about the Senate's role in our democracy.
So why am I, a senator they agreed had followed the rules and who had foolishly played along with their nefarious plan, why am I being subjected to this unprecedented and arbitrary process of being suspended from the Senate? In the private sector, an employee can sue for wrongful dismissal, but not here in the Senate. The Senate, we are told, is above the law.
Last week, Senator Carignan said the Senate is a rights‑free zone. I couldn't believe it. He actual said the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the bedrock of our Constitution, does not apply in the Senate. Talk about special status.
Do Canadians really think senators should not be bound by the Charter of Rights? Do they want their democracy run without respect for the rule of law and due process? This assault on our rights undermines Canadians' respect for their Parliament, and if it's not stopped it will set a very dangerous precedent.
As Conservatives, we don't embrace changes in our system of government easily. We check it carefully to make sure it's absolutely the right kind of change, not just expedient change.
We remember and respect the Magna Carta that King John signed almost 800 years ago. The fundamental justice set out in the Diefenbaker Bill of Rights, more than half a century ago. So today, I ask you to stand up for fundamental justice and do not let this unjust motion pass.
Tell Senator Carignan that he hasn't proven his case or any case.
Tell him this is a matter for the justice system and ensure that with your vote, that justice prevails.
The government could end this by simply withdrawing these dangerous and anti‑democratic motions. Declare victory and go off to Calgary to celebrate the government's many substantial achievements for Canadians. Let due process proceed.
This is a case for the history books. Nigel Wright, Senator Tkachuk and Deloitte all found me not guilty. What will history say of you, honourable senators, after this vote?
Thank you, colleagues.
I would like to table documents here, with leave of the Senate.
Also on HuffPost:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, question period, Feb. 13
"In terms of Sen. Wallin, I have looked at the numbers. Her travel costs are comparable to any parliamentarian travelling from that particular area of the country over that period of time. For instance, last year Sen. Wallin spent almost half of her time in the province she represents in the Senate. The costs are to travel to and from that province, as any similar parliamentarian would do."
Wallin speaking Wednesday in her own defence
"By throwing a member of this Senate under the bus, finding her guilty without a fair hearing such as any other Canadian could expect — a right guaranteed us by the charter — to proceed without the evidence having been adduced and considered on which the charge in the motion is based, is a fundamental affront to Canadian democracy and makes a mockery of this chamber. This charade is supposedly about preserving the reputation of this place, but the real intent is to remove a perceived liability — namely, me."
Harper on Wallin's expenses, question period, Feb. 14
"The senator and all other senators and members of the House are fully prepared and committed to have an examination of expenses to ensure that they are appropriate. That is the commitment the government has made in both chambers, a commitment we will keep."
Harper in question period on May 28 on when he learned that former chief of staff Nigel Wright personally wrote a $90,000 cheque to cover Sen. Mike Duffy's expenses
"Mr. Speaker, I have been very clear on this question. This matter came to my attention two weeks ago, after speculation appeared in the media. On Wednesday, May 15, I was told about it. At that very moment, I demanded that my office ensure that the public was informed, and it was informed appropriately."
Duffy in the Senate on Oct. 22
"I made one last effort. I said: 'I don't believe I owe anything, and besides which, I don't have $90,000.' 'Don't worry,' Nigel said. 'I'll write the cheque.'"
Harper in question period, May 28
"As I have said repeatedly, my first knowledge of this was on the date and at the time indicated. Prior to that point in time, it was my understanding that Mr. Duffy had paid back his own expenses."
Harper in question period, May 28
"If the leader of the NDP is suggesting I had any information to the contrary from Mr. Wright prior to this, that is completely false. I learned of this on May 15 and immediately made this information public, as I have said many times."
Harper in question period, June 4
"Mr. Speaker, that information was already made public on Feb. 13, and I have been very clear about this. Mr. Duffy approached me after a caucus meeting to discuss this matter. From the beginning, my position has been clear: any inappropriate expenses should be refunded to taxpayers by the senators concerned."
Duffy in his Oct. 22 Senate speech
"I've violated no laws, I've followed the rules."
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair in question period June 4
"Mr. Speaker, why then did the Prime Minister, last week, deny instructing any members of his personnel to settle the Mike Duffy matter when he gave that order with that personnel present in the room at a caucus meeting in February of this year?"
Harper, in reply to Mulcair in question period June 4
"Mr. Speaker, it was my view from the beginning that any inappropriate expenses by any senator should be repaid by the senator, not by somebody else. That was very clear. Those are the facts obviously before us. As I say, my statements on this matter have been very clear and very consistent."
Harper in question period June 5 explaining his meeting with Duffy
"Mr. Duffy was seeking clarification on remarks I had made to this effect in caucus and I was adamant that any inappropriate expenses had to be reimbursed by him."
Duffy in the Senate Oct. 22
"So after caucus on Feb. 13 of this year, I met the prime minister and Nigel Wright, just the three of us. I said that despite the smear in the papers, I had not broken the rules, but the prime minister wasn't interested in explanations or the truth. It's not about what you did; it's about the perception of what you did that has been created in the media."
Harper in question period Oct. 23, referring to Duffy's account of the Feb. 13 meeting
"No, Mr. Speaker I absolutely did not say that."
Duffy to the Senate on Oct. 22
"I argued: I'm just following the rules like all of the others. But it didn't work. I was ordered by the prime minister: Pay the money back, end of discussion. Nigel Wright was present throughout, just the three of us."
Harper in question period on June 5
"I have made it very clear what my views were to all my staff and to our caucus. We expect inappropriate expenses to be reimbursed and I would expect they would be reimbursed by the person who incurred them. I would certainly not expect them to be reimbursed by somebody else."
Harper in question period on June 5
"Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated, Mr. Wright informed me of his personal cheque on May 15. This was an error in judgment. He indicated he did this because he believed that taxpayers should be reimbursed and he was prepared to ensure that happened, as in fact it did happen. However, obviously this was an error in judgment for many reasons that have already been outlined and for that reason, I accepted his resignation."
Harper at a news conference on July 6 in Calgary
"I think if you read the affidavit it makes very clear that the decision to pay money to Mr. Duffy out of Mr Wright’s personal funds was made solely by Mr. Wright and was his responsibility. Obviously, had I known about this earlier I would never have allowed this to take place. When I answered questions about this in the House of Commons I answered questions to the best of my knowledge."