The House

Mid-week podcast: drama of Duffy trial draws to a close

On The House mid-week podcast, we explore the legal and political stakes of the Mike Duffy trial as the three-year Senate saga wraps up Thursday with the court ruling. Then, a Liberal MP joins us to talk about what's going on behind the scenes days before the Commons debate the government's assisted dying legislation.
Listen to the full episode34:16

On The House mid-week podcast, special guest host and senior producer Nick Gamache sits down with political and legal insiders to preview the drama that could unfold tomorrow as the Mike Duffy saga ends after three long years.

"If he's convicted of anything, it's a devastating loss for Duffy," says Ottawa criminal defence lawyer Jason Gilbert of the 69-year-old senator from Prince Edward Island, who faces 31 charges related to housing and travel expense claims, consulting contracts, and a $90,000 cheque he received from then Prime Minister Harper's right hand man, Nigel Wright.

Penny Collenette, a law professor at the University of Ottawa and the former director of appointments in Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's office, agrees — but adds that if Duffy is acquitted, the impact will be just as devastating to the Senate.

"Almost counter-intuitively, if there is an acquittal of all the charges, that is also an indictment of the Senate because of the way that things have been allowed to progress...the shambles, the last three or four years of confusion, and the time and energy that could have been used for so many other issues, important issues in the country," she said. 

Then, we hear about the behind-the-scenes talks on the controversial doctor-assisted dying bill going on in the Liberal caucus and in town halls in ridings across the country, with Liberal MP Yasmin Ratansi

Ratansi calls the legislation "raw", and a first step towards crafting legislation her constituents want to see in place.

"It will evolve, everything has to evolve," Ratansi said. "[It] is probably a very good segue into ensuring that we do not get anyone stuck in the court processes."

Judicial vacancies on the rise as Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould conducts review into judicial appointments process. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press )

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