Part of the “Ol’ Duff’s Day in Court” series.
There’s an old saying that says every accused deserves a day in court. There’s also an Ol’ Duff, accused of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust, who has earned at least 40 days in court. Good for him!
The second day of Duffy’s marathon trial shed light on Duffy’s living situation: a topic of interest across the country. The court saw documents that proved that Mike Duffy had edited his Senate residency declaration form, the form used to determine whether or not he qualified for meal and accommodation benefits. His edits were brilliant.
Using a blue pen and scribbling as legibly as kindergartener, Duffy selected both options in an “either/or” question which asked if his primary residence was either within 100 km of Parliament Hill or more than 100 km from Parliament Hill. Apparently, he spends most of his time everywhere. Call him a global citizen. Duffy’s creativity didn’t stop there. The Ol’ Duff crossed out the word “primary” on both options and replaced it with “NCR” (National Capital Region) and “PEI.” To be fair, he answered the question truthfully. It just wasn’t the question he was supposed to answer. Very crafty indeed.
Lower on the form, Duffy set himself up to claim out-of-towner benefits by crossing out the word “secondary” when describing his National Capital Region home. The modified sentence, which was supposed to describe his secondary residence, now read, “I own a secondary residence in the NCR.” Again, Duffy was telling the truth! He wasn’t answering the question he was asked, but, then again, who does? Answering questions as asked is bad politics. If this form proves anything, it’s that Mike Duffy is qualified for a life in politics.
“Guilty as charged,” you might scream. But why, and for what? Yes, this evidence makes painfully clear the Duffy set himself up to double-dip, but it doesn’t explain how he got away with it. Did no one see this form and think, “What the hell is Duffy trying to pull?” Is completing the form, even if horribly modified, the only thing one must do to begin claiming Senate benefits? This is akin to adding a few zeros to the end of the $1 you won on a scratch-and-win card and then actually collecting the larger prize. If this piece of evidence was supposed to answer questions, let me suggest that it failed. If this trial was supposed to do anything other than erode public trust, we’ve yet to see it happen. Days like this only add to the intrigue surrounding this grotesque display of corruption. Stay tuned!