It hurts to commend someone for being a big spender when the tab is passed to the Canadian taxpayer.

But top office budget claimant Senator Mike Duffy deserves some credit for investing public money into doing a better job.

The reason Duffy is claiming top spender status is not, surprisingly, due to his fine and frequent dining habit or frequent travel as a Conservative sycophant.

It’s because he’s stretched a $159,000 budget to open an office in the Prince Edward Island constituency he was appointed to represent.

For these supposed sober-second-thought thinkers to bend an ear toward local concerns is highly unusual. Some need a road map for those rare times when they stray from their moonlighting jobs and Red Chamber naps to visit their representative regions.

So let’s give Duffy credit for trying to bring the Senate closer to the people.

After all, every MP has a fully-staffed office in their local riding. Apparently senators are supposed to represent their provinces by telephone, text or Twitter.

Of course the real question is whether Duffy is capable of listening to local concerns with an unbiased ear.

He bolted from the neutrality of the television host chair to become the loudest pom-pom waver on Stephen Harper’s cheerleading squad with dizzying, reputation-shredding speed.

But, hopefully, he puts his effusive praise of all things Conservative on pause and listens to what Prince Edward Island voters have to say when they come to his office.

And, if they make a convincing case for the government to act or correct an action, perhaps Mike Duffy can cash in the many IOUs he’s collected as Stephen Harper lapdog to deliver real senatorial representation to the region.