By Mike Archer. One of the comments in MacLeans Magazine this week suggested Senator Mike Duffy is on a mission to destroy the senate from the inside. The embarrassing scandal surrounding the senator grows more interesting with each of his sloppy attempt to cover it up.
For those who missed it, Duffy is accused of falsely claiming the costs of his Ottawa home as a second residence when he actually lives there year-round and is not actually a citizen of P.E.I, the province he is supposed to represent. Against the rules … it turns out.
Today columnist Walter Neufeld did a beautiful send up of the senator making the point that several of Canada’s best known journalists have found cozy retirement outside of their profession.
There are several examples of individuals who have risen through the ranks of the vapid world of Canadian journalism to the heights of Canadian political society.
The week Morrison was fired was referred to “The week of the long knives in the newsrooms of Canadian television.”
Wallin went on to a long stint at the public trough first as Consul General of Canada in New York and eventually was appointed to the Canadian Senate.
In fact, the dismissals are both the result of long-simmering internal feuds. Wallin’s relationship with the CBC, which wooed her away from CTV in 1992, has been rocky almost from the start. According to many CBC insiders, she was constantly at odds with colleagues at Prime Time News. And she was clearly losing her battle for on-air equity with co-host Peter Mansbridge. Morrison, meanwhile–whose career has shifted from Canada to the United States and back–had been steadily eroding the patience of his CTV colleagues. They complained that he was pushing to succeed Robertson sooner than planned, and straining his schedule by juggling duties at Canada A.M. with freelance projects for American television.
Her female rival in the
newsrooms news reading rooms of Canada’s TV giants, Valerie Pringle whose annoying perkiness drove millions of viewers from their living rooms everyday screaming ‘make it stop,’ never managed to make the jump to public life and currently hosts a travel show, her smile undiminished.
While Kent retired to Stephen Harper’s cabinet to become the saddest looking excuse for an environment minister … ever … and pitch the anti-environmental views of his boss and preside over the dismantling of the protections built up for the environment over a generation, Mike Duffy took a more pompous and pointless appointment as the Senator from Prince Edward Island.
Turns out he only maintains a cottage in P.E.I. and doesn’t qualify as a resident so his claiming of thousands of dollars of expenses to keep his Ottawa home may be bogus as may be his right to his job. Rules require you to actually live in the province you get paid to represent.
Pam Wallin is under investigation for the same scam. As the Senator from Saskatchewan the two little pieces of property she co-owns but doesn’t live in are causing the same sort of questions to be raised about her expenses and ability to hold her job.
It wouldn’t be quite so bad if these former watchdogs weren’t bilking the taxpayer for their little scams. When word got out about the scandal Duffy reportedly got in touch with the P.E.I. minister of health to quickly get a health card. The minister rightly refused.
And don’t kid yourself that the same thing doesn’t happen all the way down the food chain to the local level. Where do you think the PR hacks in the local constituency offices of MPs, MLAs come from. Who do you think populates the consulting firms hired to polish up the stained and dirtied images of politicians at all levels when they need sprucing up.
Look no further than your local community newspaper for the members of the farm teams that feed the big league. And next time you read a particularly laudatory piece extolling the virtues of a local politician, policy or bureaucrat, think of the career paths of Mike Duffy and Pam Wallin.
And gran hold of your wallet.