OTTAWA — Five things to take away from Sen. Mike Duffy's first day of testimony in his own defence:
Sen. Mike Duffy, a former member of the Conservative caucus, arrives at the courthouse for his trial in Ottawa on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. (Sean Kilpatrick/CP)
Duffy travelled on the road with the Canadian rock band The Beavers in the summer of 1964 at the age of 18. The band members, who sported matching Mohawk haircuts, had him travel in advance to cities to set up for their arrival. They later changed their name to the Great Scots.
Duffy was an ambitious and shrewd young journalist, freelancing stories about football games in his mid-teens, and later working any small radio jobs he could get. In 1967, he paid his own way to Toronto to cover the Progressive Conservative convention for a Halifax radio station.
Duffy suffered a heart attack three days before he was set to wed his current wife Heather. The two had met years earlier, when she was his nurse for another ailment. Duffy said he went through a similar emotional conundrum when his daughter was born precisely the same hour that his father passed away.
Duffy's health is poor. He takes 12 different medications daily to treat his heart disease, diabetes and ulcers, and sleeps with a device to treat apnea. He has six doctors, and has been a patient with the University of Ottawa Heart Institute for two decades. Duffy has had open heart surgery twice, including two years ago.
When Stephen Harper asked him to sit in the Senate in late 2008, Duffy says he suggested he represent Ontario instead of Prince Edward Island. But Duffy says Harper was adamant it be PEI, and was fully aware that Duffy only owned a cottage there that he intended to winterize in the future as a retirement home.
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