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Mike Duffy Was Not Exonerated!

April 23rd, 2016

Am I the only one reading the Globe and Mail on a Saturday morning and feeling very very queasy about the almost overnight near re-hagiografication of Mike Duffy in the media and the punditocracy?

Unless I am missing something, Duffy was only “exonerated” regarding a series of legal charges in a court of law. And yes, that exoneration should/may result in a rethink of a whole bunch of issues regarding … gosh, it is a very long list …. the Senate, its structure, its rules, the role of appointments, the PMO, its ability (under direction of a PM)  to skew/shape/distort governing processes, the rabidity of the press when it finds a juicy story,  and on and on and on and on  ….

But good heavens,  let’s not all of a sudden turn our backs on something fundamental here.

Duffy’s behaviour was personally reprehensible .. and that in no way is now exonerated by a court decision.

It is not something that deserves to be simply forgotten or downplayed because …. first, a court of law has “exonerated” Duffy of formal legal charges ……second, because he clearly operated (as do other Senators)  well within an opaque, imprecise, purposely-designed and politically-self serving set of Senate appointing and  operating rules …..  and third, and please! spare me the damn crocodile tears seen in article after article over the past few days, because Duffy’s health is in a bad state.

Would any of us suggest that the pattern of practice that Duffy  happily engaged in is something that offers a positive example to anyone in Canada of how to behave in public life? And particularly in a role when you are being paid by the public?

Do we actually think that “an evil PM and his PMO thugs made me do it!” plea has ethical merit to be accepted, let alone embraced or excused or even now deserving of some weird kind of sympathy?

We discourage children from using that excuse in the playground, don’t we?

When you eagerly belly up to a trough as a sentient being, well-versed in who filled it and for what purposes, and then you energetically partake of its contents …  you take your chances.

I am glad that the trough may be being rethought.

But let’s not exonerate from personal, ethical and “passing-a-public-smell-test” responsibility someone like now-poor Duffy who happily stood around that trough.

4 Responses to “Mike Duffy Was Not Exonerated!”

  1. Paul Crawford says:

    Canadians know Duffy is guilty, Gomeshi is guilty, government and senate are guilty , and money buys a determination of “not guilty”.

  2. Paul Gaffney says:

    You’ve nailed it, Frank. I was struck — actually, ‘appalled’ comes closer to the mark — by the headlines proclaiming Duffy had been ‘vindicated’, a feeling I’m sure was widely shared. So, he didn’t do anything that rose to the level of criminality. Big deal. And he couldn’t be pilloried for breaking senate rules that either didn’t exist or were confusing. Well yes, he could, but never mind that. The bigger issue, to my mind, is that the Senate of Canada will now accommodate the return of one of its ‘Honourable’ members who apparently didn’t have enough of a moral compass to determine – rules or no rules – that there might be something odd about having to buy his own breakfast in Kanata one day and have the rest of us pay for it the day after he was appointed.

  3. Bruce Wark says:

    Frank, I feel your argument would have been stronger if you had cited at least a couple of examples of what you condemn in Duffy’s behaviour. For example, Harper knew full well when he appointed Duffy that his main residence was in Ottawa, not PEI. Yet, he appointed him anyway, and Duffy says he was told by Sen. David Tkachuk that he had to claim those expenses or his status as a senator could be challenged. Since the Crown didn’t call Tkachuk to testify, Duffy’s claim went unchallenged. So, I’d like to know exactly what it is you object to in Duffy’s behaviour since he alone was singled out by the PMO and the Conservative Party for punishment. I’m not saying here that Duffy did nothing wrong, only that I think you need to nail down an example of two so I can judge the validity of what you’re arguing.

  4. Joyce Miller says:

    What Duffy did may not be ethical – it certainly was not criminal. He was doing what most politicians, political appointees and government bureaucrats have been doing forever – feeding off of the taxpayers hard earned money.

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