Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Stuff from Duff ™ (with apologies to Hilary and Hailey)

Mike Duffy, a supposedly neutral journalist and Ottawa pundit for nearly 30 years for both CBC and CTV before he became transparently neo-con and did everything he could on air to make Paul Martin Jr kick the political bucket was rewarded for his total lack of journalistic integrity with an appointment to the Senate from his supposed home province of Prince Edward Island.

Here's where it gets interesting.   As we all know, after years of benignly ducking the issue, the Senate Board of Internal Economy (the committee that cuts the paychecks and spending allowances of Senators) is now demanding proof of residency to justify whether a Senator lives outside the 120 kilometre circle around Ottawa - Gatineau and thus get the second residence allowance for living within the National Capital Region (NCR), which can run up to $21,000 per year.

The Duffster it seems has been rushing to get the PEI Department of Health to issue him a health card even though like anyone applying for a new card there is a three month hold, just as there is for new residents.    The Senator also claims to live in the resort city of Cavendish even though no one there has ever seen him there to shop, fill up for gas, hold a meet the constituents barbeque and so forth.    In fact he has been living in Ottawa for over forty years and as far as anyone knows that has been his factual residence (ergo, his province of residence should be Ontario).

Why is this important?   Because in addition to a minimum age of 30, Schedule V of the 1867 Constitution provides for the following oath from newbie Senators:

I A.B. do declare and testify, that I am by law duly qualified to be appointed a Member of the Senate of Canada, and that I am legally or equitably seised [sic] as of freehold for my own use and benefit of lands or tenements held in free and common socage [sic] in the Province of [insert Province] of the value of Four Thousand Dollars over and above all rents, dues, debts, mortgages, charges, and incumbrances due or payable out of or charged on or affecting the same, and that I have not collusively or colourably obtained a title to or become possessed of the said lands and tenements or any part thereof for the purpose of enabling me to become a Member of the Senate of Canada,and that my Real and Personal Property are together worth Four Thousand Dollars over and above my debts and liabilities.
Simple enough.   The $4000 floor was put in in 1867 because J.A. Macdonald believed the rich needed their own voice as they would always be a minority (seriously) and in those days $4000 of debt-free property would be like $400,000 today.   The problem of course is that in those days the vote was male suffrage at 21 and only if you owned any property.   Most Canadians did not, they were in effect still serfs of the Sovereign.

Today however, you can own side by side burial plots and that would be enough to qualify to be in the Senate.   As long as it is in the province you are summoned to represent.

It's simple Duff.   Prove you own any property in Prince Edward Island, and you're off the hook.   If you can't you must resign.   And a health card isn't good enough because other than for health care it's not even legally acceptable ID.

No comments: