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Mike Duffy Live

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Mike Duffy Live

For other people of the same name, see Michael Duffy (disambiguation).

The Honourable
Michael Duffy
Senator for Prince Edward Island
Assumed office
January 2, 2009
Personal details
Born Michael Dennis Duffy
(1946-05-27) May 27, 1946 (age 68)
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Political party Conservative (2009-2013)
Independent (2013-present)
Spouse(s) Heather[1]
Profession Television journalist
Religion Roman Catholic

Michael Dennis "Mike" Duffy (born May 27, 1946) is a Canadian Senator and former Canadian television journalist. Prior to his appointment to the upper house in 2008, he was the Ottawa editor for CTV News Channel. After resigning from the Conservative caucus on May 16, 2013 amid scandal,[2] Duffy now sits in the Senate as an independent, representing Prince Edward Island.

Early life and journalism career

Duffy was born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. He became a Ham radio Operator at the age of 16. He began his career as a teen disc jockey at CFCY-TV in the mid-1960s. He moved to print journalism with The Guardian in Charlottetown, before heading to CFCF as a lineup and assignment editor in 1969, and in 1971 he joined CFRA radio in Ottawa as a political reporter.

Duffy joined CBC radio's Parliament Hill bureau in 1974, and became a reporter for The National in 1977. Duffy became the lead CBC television reporter on Parliament Hill and covered most of the important federal stories of the Trudeau, Clark and Mulroney governments. Duffy is primarily known for his work as an Ottawa journalist, but he has been a foreign correspondent. He covered the fall of South Vietnam in April 1975 for the CBC and was one of the last journalists to leave Saigon before the arrival of North Vietnamese troops and Viet Cong insurgents.

In 1988, Duffy joined Baton Broadcasting as the first host of its Sunday morning news program Sunday Edition. When that series ended in 1999, Duffy moved to his role as a show host and interviewer with CTV Newsnet (now the CTV News Channel). Long known as an "Ottawa insider", he was able to get many elected officials to appear on his programs. Duffy hosted two programs on CTV Newsnet, Countdown with Mike Duffy and Mike Duffy Live. The latter program was broadcast from Parliament Hill and featured interviews with prominent Canadian political figures and commentators. Upon Duffy's departure for the Senate, CTV Newsnet temporarily renamed the program On the Hill and installed Graham Richardson as the host. On the Hill ran for one month before being permanently replaced with Power Play.

In the 1990s, Duffy sued Frank magazine for defamation. Duffy claimed that the magazine's satirical attacks against him cost him the Order of Canada.[3][4]

Bias in 2008 Federal Election

In 2008, a panel of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council ruled that Duffy had violated broadcasting codes and ethics during the 2008 federal election. The panel concluded that Duffy's decision to air "false starts" of an interview with then-Liberal leader Stéphane Dion "was not fair, balanced, or even handed" and that during the same broadcast, Duffy "significantly misrepresented the view of one of the three members of his Panel...Liberal MP Geoff Regan".[5]

Awards and honours

In 1986 he won an ACTRA Award for live television reporting, for his coverage of the 1985 Turkish embassy attack in Ottawa by the Armenian Revolutionary Army.[6] In 1994, Duffy was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.[6][7]

Duffy has received honorary degrees from his alma mater, the University of Prince Edward Island, as well as Wilfrid Laurier University and from Niagara University in Niagara Falls, New York.[8] He has been a visiting fellow at Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina, and has been twice nominated for the "best in the business" award by the Washington Journalism Review.[8]

Political career


On December 22, 2008, Duffy was named a Prince Edward Island representative to the Senate of Canada on the advice of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, sitting as a Conservative.[8][9] He subsequently retired as a TV journalist at the end of 2008.

In March 2010, Duffy criticized the University of King's College and other journalism schools in Canada for teaching Noam Chomsky and critical thinking. He went on to say that journalism schools in Canada were churning out leftists who thought private enterprise was bad. The head of King's School of Journalism reacted with surprise to Duffy's criticism, saying that Manufacturing Consent was not part of the curriculum. She also said she would not apologize for teaching critical thinking to journalism students.[10] A number of editorial comments were written in response to Duffy's criticism.[11][12][13]

Expenses controversy

Main article: Canadian Senate expenses scandal

In 2012, Duffy was one of four senators accused of claiming primary residency outside of Ottawa in order to claim living expenses for work in Ottawa.[14][15] Duffy, who has lived and worked in Ottawa for decades, has claimed his primary residence is in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island and claimed $42,802 in living expenses for the national capital region from November 30, 2010, to November 30, 2012.[16] Duffy may have also claimed $40,333 in the two years after his Senate appointment in December 2008.[17] When the Senate Standing Committee on Internal Economy investigating the expense claims requested health cards and other evidence of residency outside Ottawa, Duffy applied for a PEI health card and asked for the card to be fast tracked in time for the audit deadline.[18] Duffy has used his Ontario Health Card since 2009 when he was appointed to the Senate.[19] People living near Duffy's PEI cottage say he is seldom seen there. Cavendish resident Morgan Eisenhaur said "We've never seen Mike Duffy, he should show some leadership on this. He should have known better."[20]

On February 28, 2013, the Senate committee of internal economy announced that Duffy, Pamela Wallin, Mac Harb, and Patrick Brazeau would be subject to a forensic audit to determine appropriateness of their expense claims.[21]

PMO involvement

After several weeks of negative public attention Duffy volunteered to pay back the expenses he had claimed for his Ottawa residence, blaming what he called the Senate's unclear rules and forms for the affair saying, "We are going to pay it back, and until the rules are clear—and they're not clear now, the forms are not clear, and I hope the Senate will redo the forms to make them clear—I will not claim the housing allowance."[22][23]

Duffy originally expected the Prime Minister's Office to cover all expenses he claimed improperly.[24] In late February 2013, it was alleged that special counsel and legal adviser Benjamin Perrin drafted a letter of understanding between Chief of Staff of the Office of the Prime Minister of Canada, Nigel Wright and Duffy.[25] Perrin denied involvement in a May 2013 statement.[26][27] Wright then wrote a personal cheque to Duffy for $90,172 to cover past residency expenses claimed as part of the agreement with the PMO. A Conservative Party spokesman confirmed the money was a gift with no expectation of repayment.[28] Duffy then repaid the Government of Canada $90,172 in March 2013 for expenses previously claimed.

After repayment Duffy refused to meet with independent auditors or supply financial records, credit card statements and information about his calendar related to the investigation. Duffy's lawyer claimed that since the money had been reimbursed "Senator Duffy's participation in the review of the requested information was no longer needed."[29][30]

Reaction to expense controversy

In May 2013, the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner of Canada confirmed it is investigating Wright's gift of $90,172 to Duffy.[29]

Duffy resigned from the Conservative caucus on May 16, 2013, and is now an independent senator.[31]

RCMP investigation

In late May 2013 a report heard by the Senate committee on internal economy acknowledged Duffy had a pattern of spending that required RCMP investigation. When campaigning for Conservative candidates during the 2011 General Election Duffy claimed Senate expenses, which is not allowed by Senate expense rules. While on vacation in PEI during August 2012 Duffy claimed per diem expenses although he was not on senate business. Previous expenses Duffy claimed while on vacation in Florida had been repaid; Duffy issued a statement saying a temporary worker had made a mistake filling out the forms. Although the Florida vacation funds were repaid the committee acknowledged the claim was "not an isolated incident, but represents a pattern that raises concerns."[32]


External links

  • Mike Duffy
  • Parliament of Canada biography

Template:Canadian Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry

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