According to CTV News, Duffy sent a letter to Senate Speaker Noel Kinsella on Thursday morning, outlining his reasons.
Duffy reveals in the letter that he spent two-and-a-half days in hospital at the end of August after suffering “unstable angina,” or chest pains, at his Prince Edward Island home.
“On examination here this week, my Ottawa GP fears the disease has progressed,” Duffy writes. “He is suggesting immediate tests. My GP suggests that to avoid further stress on my system, I stay off work until I get the all-clear from my medical team.”
Duffy had open-heart surgery in 2006 and during the operation, doctors found three blockages. However, due to complications, doctors only fixed “the main problem,” according to his letter, and did not fix the other two blockages.
“They suggested that surgery could come later,” Duffy writes.
In a strange twist to the story, the Conservative party leadership in the Senate introduced three motions on Thursday afternoon to suspend — without pay — Duffy, Senator Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau for "gross negligence." (Brazeau was forced to take a leave of absence earlier this year, but because of the prorogue of Parliament he must be suspended again).
The motions will be considered on Tuesday. Should they pass, the suspensions would last for the duration of this session, meaning until the next Speech from the Throne.
Conservative senator Claude Carignan — the government's leader in the Senate — told reporters that he believes Duffy can still be suspended without pay even if he is on medical leave.
It's not a given, however, that all the motions will pass.
According to CBC News, maverick Conservative Senator Hugh Segal called Wallin's motion, in particular, unfair.
"The motion in Senator Wallin's case seems both ill-informed, inconsistent with the many problems in the report of the board of internal economy which itself has never been discussed in any way in the Senate," he said.
Liberal Senate leader James Cowan is noncommittal.
"These three senators, all of them appointed by Mr. [Stephen] Harper...breached our rules and our procedures and took advantage of the Senate for their own personal advantage," he told CBC News' Power and Politics.
"There will be a debate and the three senators...should have an opportunity to come and be heard and present their arguments why this is not appropriate. It may well be the appropriate sanction against them, but we can't just rush to judgement here. We have to have the opportunity to discuss it and debate it."
Duffy is being investigated by the RCMP for breach of trust for a "pattern of filing fraudulent expense claims" and "fraud against the government" for accepting a $90,000 cheque from Nigel Wright, the Prime Minister's former chief of staff, in order to pay back improperly claimed living expenses.
And, earlier this month, CBC News reported that the RCMP have also alleged that Duffy — using taxpayer dollars — paid a contractor almost $65,000 for "little or no apparent work" over a four year period between 2009 and 2012.
(Photo courtesy of CBC News)
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