Speaking out

If she was in Duffy’s shoes, Senator Nancy Greene Raine would quit.

By Andrea Klassen, Kamloops This Week

Were she in Mike Duffy’s shoes, Nancy Greene Raine would resign.

The Conservative Kamloops senator and former Rosslander said her Prince Edward Island counterpart’s behaviour in the wake of a housing expenses scandal has been “sad and disappointing” to watch.

Duffy left the Conservative caucus last week amid reports that he had taken a $90,000 personal cheque from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff, Nigel Wright, to repay housing expenses he shouldn’t have claimed.

Wright himself resigned from his position in the Prime Minister’s Office over the weekend.

Media have also reported Duffy may also have double dipped on his expenses — charging the Senate for time he spent campaigning for the Conservatives prior to the 2011 federal election.

“Personally, if it was me, I would resign,” Raine said May 21, a few hours before the Senate was set to meet to discuss the expenses issue.

“He’s made some huge mistakes and using public funds during election campaigns and having his expenses, double-dipping as they say, that is just not acceptable,” Raine said.

“You can’t blame that on your staff.

“You need to be on top of those things. We were told very, very clearly that Senate resources were not to be used during the writ period when you are out campaigning.”

Raine said it’s normal for senators to campaign for their colleagues in the House of Commons, but said “there is no way” she would ever submit any such expenses to the Senate for such work.

It’s not clear if Wright’s payment to Duffy was a loan or a gift — and some national media have reported the cheque was part of a larger deal to take some of the heat off the embattled senator.

The Senate’s conflict-of-interest code forbids members of the red chamber from taking “any gift or benefit” beyond their wages “that could reasonably be related to the Senator’s position.”

Wright has publicly stated he kept the deal secret from Harper and others in the Conservative government.

Harper briefly addressed the controversy on Tuesday, when he spoke to his caucus before heading to South America on a trade mission.

“I’m very upset about some conduct we have witnessed, the conduct of some parliamentarians and the conduct of my own office,” he said, without referencing Duffy or Wright by name.

Raine said Duffy’s behaviour is good reason to reform the Senate and tighten up oversight of expense accounts, but it’s not reason enough to write off other senators.

“I think there’s a lot of good the Senate can do,” she said.

“It’s just the right people have to be chosen properly and they have to be held accountable.

 

Just Posted

Nuclear medicine temporarily suspended at KBRH

Upgrades expected to be in service by end of September

Nine fires burning in West Kootenay

All fires considered to be lightning caused.

West Kootenay afternoon storms spark fires

Lots of thunder and lightning, and little rain, as system moves through region

PLACE NAMES: Rossland neighbourhoods, Part 1

Early Rossland townsite built on top of mining claims

PHOTOS: Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Victoria mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of coroners inquest into overdose death

Resulting recommendations could change handling of youth records amidst the overdose crisis

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Most Read