Harper fails to act on Senate scandal

Apart from apparently filing bogus expense claims, most Canadians would be hard pressed to name a single duty that senators fulfill

The pace of government action (or in this case, inaction) is something Canadians will never fully be able to grasp.

In the blink of an eye, the Conservative government can strip away the retirement dreams of millions of Canadians. But when a loyal soldier of the government stands accused of bilking taxpayers with improper expenses, the prime minister claims to be powerless, while money is quietly funneled out of his office to repay the alleged wrongdoing.

But, this time, Canadians may finally have had enough. The cloud of scandal continues to grow over the head of embattled Senator Mike Duffy. The former TV journalist is accused of fudging his expense account, eventually repaying the improperly claimed expenses with $90,000 he received from Nigel Wright, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff who has since resigned.

Duffy has now quit the Conservative caucus in the Senate, but he is so far rejecting calls to resign as a senator. And the prime minister seems unwilling to push him out the door.

Harper said he was “not happy” and “very upset” with the conduct of some parliamentarians and his own office, before hopping on a plane for a South American trade mission without answering questions from reporters.

The same prime minister who has shown the powers of a majority government are almost limitless is now unable to even mention the name of his disgraced colleague.

Canada’s 105 senators all make a basic salary of $135,200. And apart from apparently filing bogus expense claims, most Canadians would be hard pressed to name a single duty that senators fulfill.

Maybe Mike Duffy has done a service to his country after all. Maybe the senator’s actions will be the straw that broke the camel’s back and prompt Canadians to demand an end to the political embarrassment that is this nation’s Senate.