I really don’t understand why the media’s knickers are in a knot over the Mike Duffy incident. As I understand it, the former Canadian senator was abusing the privilege of his office by using government funds (read: taxpayer dollars) to pay for things that really shouldn’t have been billed to the taxpayer. He was audited, and these improper expenses caught out, publicized, and Duffy told to pay back the money owing, about ninety-thousand dollars, and rightfully so. Because Duffy didn’t have the money to pay off his improperly-claimed expenses, a member of the PMOs office, Nigel Wright, cut Duffy a cheque out of his (Wright) own personal funds to cover the debt. Also rightfully, Duffy was suspended from the Senate. He should have been kicked out, but that’s another matter.
The money isn’t the issue, as ninety-thousand dollars really isn’t a whole lot of money in the grand scheme of bureaucratic government. It’s the principle of the matter that counts: Duffy was fudging expense reports to cover items that really had nothing to do with Senate business. He should be penalized for that, and the Senate, by suspending him without pay for two years, did just that, although personally, I think he should have been kicked out. People in leadership positions in government should keep the proverbial clean relative to fiscal matters.
However, I don’t understand the witch hunt lead against the Conservatives over this matter. Wright made a personal loan, with full knowledge that it likely wouldn’t be repaid, to Duffy. Wright used his own. personal. funds. Not public, taxpayer funds, not party funds, but personal funds. How is it unethical, or a conflict of interest, for a person to lend another person money, on a personal level? And why do people even care to the vituperative level of saying that this incident might bring down the Conservatives? I frankly don’t see the relevance of whether the PM knew of this transaction or not. I don’t even see how this whole Duffy incident is an issue given that the money was paid back and that he’s been suspended from the Senate.
Please, explain to me why this incident has escalated to the point of criminal charges and a trial, why the media is gloating over how the PM might have known about Wright lending Duffy money, and why isn’t the relevance of whole institution of the Senate being revisited.* Surely calmer minds should prevail and a look at the need for the Senate be investigated (and I don’t have an answer as to whether that institution should exist or not), but the rest of it seems farcical. Not unlike the song and dance of an episode of Looney Tunes.
*and I am serious, please explain to me, as I really would like to comprehend why this whole episode is so relevant.