The House

Peter Harder: Mike Duffy has a 'right' to return to the Senate

The government representative in the Senate, Peter Harder, says the way Mike Duffy will be welcomed back to the Red Chamber has yet to be determined.
Senator Peter Harder waits to take his place in the Senate before being officially welcomed as the government's Senate representative. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Peter Harder, the government representative in the Senate, says that if Mike Duffy decides to return to his post as a senator, there are "lots of ways the Senate can welcome him."

"The judgement from the court has been strong," Harder said in an interview with Terry Milewski on CBC Radio's The House. "It is clear that Mr. Duffy has a right to return to the Senate. I would make the point that the Senate to which Mr. Duffy has the right to return is a different institution than the one he left."

The recourse for Duffy's suspension and lost pay will be decided by each senator independently, Harder said.

It comes down to more of a professional, rather than legal, decision, in which Duffy's status as a legitimate senator, worthy of the pay he was suspended from for almost two years, has to be evaluated, he added.

"As an independent senator, on this matter, I would really wish to hear the voices of the Senate who have been frankly closer to this issue, to the management of this issue," Harder said.  

Harder remains optimistic that the Senate is in a new season after being plagued by scandals. 

"I do believe that the trajectory of reform and the winds of modernization are blowing strongly in the Senate," Harder said, adding that a reduction in partisanship in the Upper Chamber will help make senators more accountable and transparent.

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