Mike Duffy appointment allegations false: source
Suspended senator Mike Duffy arrives at court in Ottawa on Monday, April 27, 2015. (Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press)
Michelle Zilio, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, April 29, 2015 1:46PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 29, 2015 5:08PM EDT
A Conservative source says allegations that Mike Duffy asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper if he could represent Ontario instead of Prince Edward Island as a senator are completely false.
Duffy has told people close to him that, prior to his appointment, he asked Harper if he could represent Ontario rather than his native province because he had not lived on the island for decades.
But a source says Duffy never asked Harper that question, or expressed concern about the appointment.
The disputed allegations topped discussions on Parliament Hill Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair accused Harper of only looking out for himself when he allegedly pressured Mike Duffy to represent Prince Edward Island in the upper chamber, despite the now-suspended senator’s concerns about his own eligibility. Mulcair drew his own conclusions on questions of how Harper handled the appointment.
"What we now realize is that Stephen Harper was protecting, of course, Stephen Harper,” Mulcair said.
The NDP leader says his party does not understand how it was possible, under the Constitution, for a senator to be appointed to represent a province in which they do not reside.
"How is it possible to go after Mike Duffy when someone like (Senator) Carolyn Stewart Olsen was named in exactly the same circumstances?" said Mulcair.
After Stewart Olsen's appointment to represent New Brunswick in 2009, she too filed expense claims for an Ottawa home she already lived in.
Mulcair said the essence of the Duffy affair "begins with the nomination of someone who clearly wasn't allowed to be named as a senator from Prince Edward Island."
He said it's a "shame" that Harper won't be in the House of Commons daily Question Period on Wednesday, to answer questions about the Duffy appointment. Rather, the prime minister will be participating in a photo op with King Abdullah of Jordan.
Mulcair led off question period Wednesday with the Duffy matter, to which Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister Paul Calandra responded.
“It’s really a shame that the NDP are trying to make a victim out of Mike Duffy right now,” said Calandra. “It would be inappropriate for me to comment on evidence before the court.”
Calandra quickly turned the question around on Mulcair, highlighting the $2.75 million that 68 NDP MPs owe for the use of party satellite offices in Quebec. The Board of Internal Economy ordered the MPs to repay the money in February.