Sen. Mike Duffy says he rents 2nd home in P.E.I. during winter
Senator Mike Duffy speaks during the Maritime Energy Association's annual dinner in Halifax on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013. (Devaan Ingraham / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Tuesday, February 19, 2013 9:42PM EST
CHARLOTTETOWN -- Faced with questions over his living allowance claims, Sen. Mike Duffy says he has two homes in Prince Edward Island so he can have better access to health care.
Duffy said he rents a home in Charlottetown during the winter -- in addition to a house he owns in Cavendish, P.E.I., where he stays in the summer -- so he can have quicker access to care in case of a medical emergency.
"You can't be out in the middle of a blizzard if you have a heart problem or a medical problem and get to the hospital," Duffy said Tuesday. "So I live in the city in the winter and I live in Cavendish the rest of the year."
The Conservative senator, who spoke with reporters during an event in Charlottetown, said Canadians know him as an "honest man" who wouldn't cheat on his expenses.
Duffy is being audited along with fellow senators Pamela Wallin, Mac Harb and Patrick Brazeau following questions about their housing expense claims.
"That's for accountants and heavens knows I'm not an accountant," he said.
"I'll just leave it to Deloitte and they'll give their report in due course and everybody will see what's what. It's hardly a big secret."
Duffy has been embroiled in a controversy over $33,000 in living allowances he has claimed since 2010, despite also having a home in Ottawa.
Opposition MPs are questioning whether his primary residence is a cottage in Cavendish, P.E.I., as he has repeatedly stated.
The Constitution requires senators to reside in the provinces they are appointed to represent.