Key developments:

  • Ezra Levant testified that he wrote a couple of speeches for Duffy and was paid by Gerald Donohue’s company
  • A dog breeder said she didn’t sell a puppy to Duffy at a Peterborough, Ont., dog show
  • Conservative MP John Duncan said Duffy’s hotel and meals were paid when he attended a fundraising event in B.C. 

 

EZRA LEVANT'S SPEECHES

The former Sun News host finally testified Wednesday about the time he wrote a couple of speeches for Duffy.

Levant told court by phone from Toronto that he was a freelance speech writer from 2008 until early 2011, between journalism gigs. He said he had a rapport with Duffy and wrote two or three speeches for the senator.

Levant said he had a “universal policy” for his speechwriting services, which was “pay me what you think is reasonable.” He said Duffy paid him $2,100 each for two speeches in 2010 and 2011. Levant said he was told to invoice Gerald Donohue’s company, Maple Ridge Media.

The Crown has alleged that Duffy used $65,000 worth of contracts with his friend Donohue in order to skirt Senate rules and pay others for non-parliamentary services.

PUPPIES AND HORSES

Court then heard from Barbara Thompson, a dog breeder who phoned in from New Brunswick. Thompson said she believes she met Duffy at a horse show. She said Duffy and his wife Heather eventually came to her house to pick out and buy a puppy. They later got a replacement puppy after the first one died.

Under cross-examination from Duffy’s lawyer, Donald Bayne, Thompson said that Duffy never bought a puppy from her at a 2010 dog show in Peterborough, Ont.

The Crown had previously alleged that Duffy and his wife improperly expensed a trip to Peterborough to meet with then-MP Dean Del Mastro, but were actually there to buy a dog.  

CONSERVATIVE MP TAKES THE STAND

Government whip John Duncan, the MP for Vancouver Island North, testified that the electoral district association in his riding arranged for Duffy to attend one of their events in Courtenay, B.C., on June 22, 2009. Duncan said the purpose of the dinner was to raise the Conservative Party’s profile in the area and fundraise.

Duncan said a lot of people were interested in meeting Duffy, who had been appointed to the Senate just a few months earlier.

He said he believed Duffy could tie the event in with other business he had on Vancouver Island. 

Duncan testified that the electoral district association, or EDA, paid for Duffy’s room and his meals at the hotel. He described it as a “normal arrangement” the EDA made with senators and MPs who attended such fundraising events.

He said the EDA president also offered to pay for Duffy’s flight from Vancouver to Comox, B.C., but the EDA treasurer refused.

During cross examination, Bayne asked Duncan if he knew what Duffy was doing the entire time he was in the riding.

Asked if he was aware that Duffy met with local veterans to discuss pension issues, Duncan said no.

Bayne also asked if Duncan was aware that Duffy met with local mayors and municipal officials about the rollout of the Conservative government’s economic action plan. Duncan said he wasn’t aware and was surprised to hear about those meetings.

With files from CTV’s Katie Simpson in Ottawa