There is lots of buzz this week about whether Prime Minister Stephen Harper knew that his chief of staff, Nigel Wright, was picking up a $90,000 tab for Senator Mike Duffy.
Did he know? Didn’t he know?
We will probably never really know for sure. But there is one thing that we do know that Harper knew.
When he appointed Duffy to the Red Chamber, he knew that the former journalist didn’t really live in Prince Edward Island. Even though he owned property in the province, he hadn’t really lived there for decades.
Harper knew this and yet still made him a Prince Edward Island senator, even though there is a residency requirement for senators. E-mails surfacing at Duffy’s trial this week indicate Harper felt, or perhaps rationalized, owning property was good enough to meet the residency requirement.
That is Harper’s primary transgression. Duffy should never have been appointed to the Senate in the first place, which Harper will undoubtedly agree with now.
What is disappointing, chilling, and reprehensible is that a prime minister would so willingly forgo such a basic requirement in appointing a senator.
We should be concerned rules were bent to appoint Duffy, not surprised that they were bent to get rid of him.