Challenging salary suspensions, Senator Mike Duffy bit the dust in his attempt to take civil action against the Senate for pay.
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Already rejected by the Court of Appeal which had ruled that the courts do not have jurisdiction to decide these allegations which fall only within the power of the Senate, the Ontario senator saw the Supreme Court of Canada refuse to hear his appeal Thursday.
In a written statement, the one appointed by Stephen Harper said he was “disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision”. Despite this setback, Mike Duffy will however continue his civil lawsuit against the federal government and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The independent senator filed a lawsuit against the Senate for his suspension without pay in 2013. The Senate found that Mike Duffy had violated the rules on living allowance and travel expenses. He had been at the center of a scandal when he was reimbursed tens of thousands of dollars from the Senate for saying his cottage in Prince Edward Island was his primary residence. He then went to trial on 31 criminal counts of fraud, corruption and breach of trust, for which he was cleared in April 2016.
During the proceedings, Mike Duffy was suspended from the Senate for more than two years without pay.
Mike Duffy believed that the RCMP, in cahoots with his former fellow senators, violated his rights included in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by accusing him. He is asking for $ 6.5 million in damages, $ 300,000 in lost revenue and $ 1 million in punitive damages.
Following his criminal acquittal, his lawyer Lawrence Greenspon claimed that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) “did not pursue the good guy”, referring to the former chief of staff of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Nigel Wright, who signed a personal check for $ 90,000 for Mr. Duffy to reimburse his controversial claims in the Senate. Mr. Wright has not been charged in this case.
Even after this acquittal, the Senate withheld part of his salary, continuing to mention expenses the Senator had claimed without being entitled to them.
Mike Duffy alleged that these sanctions were unconstitutional, unfair and politically motivated. He also claimed that it violated his rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Senate had requested and obtained a dismissal by the courts of the lawsuit brought by Mr. Duffy, because it considered that the actions taken against him fell within its parliamentary privilege. The courts finally ruled in favor of the Senate.