If there was a weekly ranking of most unpopular Canadians, Conservative Senator Mike Duffy would undoubtedly be on top of that list this week. (well, maybe number 2 to his Senate colleague Patrick Brazeau)
Duffy is under fire for allegedly claiming over $33,000 in Senate living allowances to maintain a 'second home' in Ottawa. Media reports, however, suggest that the former CTV journalist has lived in his Ottawa home for many years and even votes in the Ottawa region.
For his part, Duffy claims that he's done nothing wrong and that his primary residence is in Prince Edward Island.
Nevertheless, analysts from PostMedia News to CTV News have been critical of the senator and of the way he's handled the issue. The mutual tension was exacerbated, on Wednesday, when he snubbed reporters at a speaking engagement in Halifax.
On Thursday, it was the CBC News' Rex Murphy's turn to have at Duffy.
I have to say, there's no one in Canada who can execute a better sharp-tongued attack than Murphy. Here's the text of his monologue, courtesy of CBC News:
"Bad week for Prince Edward Island … that innocent, pendant island haven is troubled.
First, princess of girldom, Anne of Green Gables - the young girl of large and chaste heart - is now being marketed with a book cover, that has looking more like a pouter-pigeon, blond fan of Beyonce than a red-haired innocent orphan. In other distressing island news, Senator "Mike" Duffy, is fleeing press curiosity by hiding out in the kitchens of some of the region's better restaurants. A not unlikely refuge for the Senator when you think of it - pastry on demand, stacks of crème brulee, that sort of thing. Doing that rather than meet up with his former friends and colleagues. Here he is exiting a talk last night, sidling by the boiling lobsters and about to sneak past the spaghetti bolognese.
Wasn't it Truman who declared: if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen? Mike "where does he live?" Duffy has caught a hold of the wrong end of the frying pan on that one. He's hiding out in a kitchen. Which raises the question: Can a person on a small island be a good senator for that island if he has to leave hotels via the backstairs kitchens under covering fire from veteran Tory sous chefs? Since crawling into the Senate from one of the top rungs on the ladder journalism gave him to get there, Mr. Duffy - once the very self-appointed pride of the fourth estate - remember his unfair and merciless re-runnings of the Stephane Dion interview stumbles - Mr. Duffy has kicked the ladder back down with a vengeance, and threatened boiling oil on those who question his ascent.
But now the pride of Cavendish County - who in the green and salad days of his gracile youth breathed the same air as Green Gables Ann - is caught in a delicate embarrassment: to wit, he is not sure he know officially where he lives. Nor it seems is anybody else. Does he live where a chaste and distinctly un-blousey Anne counted the Gables and waved her red hair, where dear Lucy Maud plotted a thousand future mini-series? Or is the Duffster, to adopt Keats - "standing in tears amid the alien corn?" . Or more plainly, Is P.E.I.'s splendid representative in the Chamber of Second Chances and Lifetime Freebies possibly, legally, a resident of cold Ontario? It's like a mad version of Where's Waldo? Where does the Senator "live?" Or a math test: If Anne has Seven Gables .. how many has Mike? Dear Lucy Maud would not be amused. A Senator cowering in the kitchen, shunning his old friends for a pile of red cushions and a dubious fame. Would she put Senator Duffy in her novels? I doubt it. The real Anne would chase him out.
For The National, I'm Rex Murphy"
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