Duffy suspension would hurt P.E.I.: senator

Senator Percy Downe is concerned about a loss of representation for P.E.I. if Senator Mike Duffy is suspended.

Senator Percy Downe is concerned about a loss of representation for P.E.I. if Senator Mike Duffy is suspended.

P.E.I. would be short one representative in the Senate for as long as Mike Duffy is suspended, says Senator Percy Downe. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

The Charlottetown senator was in P.E.I. Friday morning after being in the upper chamber to hear Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau defend themselves against motions to suspend them without pay. The three are facing allegations they claimed expenses improperly.

Downe told CBC News if Duffy is suspended, the Island will lose one of four voices in the Senate.

"What happens is people are suspended or expelled and they lose everything but the title, which means that the seat is not vacant," he said.

"So P.E.I. would have no representation and it could go on for years."

Downe said he has been hearing from many Islanders with opinions on both sides of the debate, and he has not yet made up his mind on how he will vote.

'A lot of good things are getting lost'

Gail Shea, P.E.I.'s representative in the federal cabinet, is concerned a number of important issues are getting lost while the debate continues.

"We will fix [problems in the Senate], but I believe there are a lot bigger things that we should be focusing on," she said.

Gail Shea is concerned important issues are being drowned out by the noise of the Senate debate. (CBC)

Shea believes in particular that the Canada-European Union trade deal has received relatively little attention.

She said she did not expect the controversy over the Senate to die down any time soon.

"I don't believe that this story will go away until the RCMP investigation is finished," said Shea.

"I think at the end of the day what we have to do is get down to the facts and deal with this issue and put this issue behind us."

The debate in the Senate continues Friday, but a vote is not expected until next week.

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