Harper should speak up about Duffy, says MRU prof

A Calgary political scientist says Stephen Harper should be speaking up about the Mike Duffy scandal.

Prime Minister's chief of staff gave Duffy $90,000 to repay improper expense claims

Senator Mike Duffy is under fire for accepting $90,000 from the Prime Minister's chief of staff and using it to repay wrongly-claimed housing allowance money. (Devaan Ingraham/Canadian Press)

A Calgary political scientist says Stephen Harper should be speaking up about the Mike Duffy scandal.

Elections Canada has been asked to look into suggestions that Senator Duffy used Senate money during the last federal election campaign. Duffy is already under fire for accepting a gift of more than $90,000 from the Prime Minister's chief of staff Nigel Wright.


"Stephen Harper has to speak up and Nigel Wright has to speak up," said MRU prof Duane Bratt to the CBC's Alberta at Noon Friday. "Why didn't the Prime Minister know?"

The money was used to repay several years of improper expense claims. 

Both Wright's gift and Duffy's acceptance of it are now under investigation by the House of Commons ethics commissioner and the Senate ethics officer, respectively.

Duffy initially told reporters in February that he would voluntarily pay back living expenses he claimed under Senate residency rules. 

Should RCMP investigate?

The rules allow senators to claim a housing allowance of up to $22,000 per year to cover accomodation while they're working in Ottawa — but only if their primary residence is more than 100 kilometres from the capital.

Duffy claimed his primary residence as the property he owns in Cavendish, P.E.I. and then later said he had made a mistake filling out the form.

"Did he not think that giving a parliamentarian, who votes on government bills, a $90,000 gift, or loan, whichever way you want to do it, you don't think you'd want to speak up about that?" said Bratt.

Duffy's expense claims will go back to a Senate committee for futher examination, said Conservative House leader Marjorie LeBreton.

Yesterday, Duffy quit the Conservative caucus to sit as an independent senator.

However, Bratt says that still doesn't go far enough.

"Not only should Duffy resign from the Senate, not only should there be a Senate investigation, there should be an RCMP investigation," Bratt said.