The Rise and Fall of Mike Duffy – the fifth estate

The Rise and Fall of Mike Duffy – the fifth estate


( ♪♪ )>>Linden: Mike Duffy never ran for public office but became as famous as the politicians he reported on.>>You know, if we’re on camera, you know what people are going to say?>>What?>>Who’s that guy with Mike Duffy! (Laughing)>>Hello again and welcome to the Thursday edition of “Mike Duffy Prime.”>>He was a bon vivant, to some degree a high roller. He’d spend a lot of money on booze, on good food.>>Linden: He was born to shmooze, and it took him to the top of his profession in radio and TV.>>It’s the speakership of the Senate or nothing at all.>>Linden: It was fun and it was funny when it was just a joke, but beneath the joking lurked a secret dream. An appointment to the Senate made the private lifestyle of the bon vivant public business. And a $90,000 cover-up has turned the newsman into news.>>The old Duff, the Duff they’ve known and trusted, would never do anything wrong. I would never knowingly fiddle anything.>>Linden: The old Duff thought he understood the game of politics. Until he started playing it. And learned the lesson of a lifetime.>>And if you become inconvenient to Stephen Harper, you have a very short shelf-life in this town. (♪♪)>>Linden: Good evening. I’m Linden MacIntyre in Charlottetown. Big moments in a nation’s history sometimes have small beginnings. A boy who dreams of being close to power, better still, of being powerful, is consumed by a national drama, a scandal, of perhaps historical proportions. Tonight, the story of a high school drop-out who dreamed large, achieved modestly, whose name became a lightning rod for people who would happily eliminate a renowned political establishment. The Senate. (♪♪) ♪ This is a song about Senator Mike ♪ ♪ A long time ago he rode on my bike ♪ ♪ He once managed a band ♪ ♪ Called the Thunderbirds ♪>>Linden: A depressing number of Canadians consider Parliament a crime scene… For wanton waste of public treasure… These angry taxpayers have sentenced one accused offender to death by mockery. A disgraced conservative senator, recently a household name and television icon, Mike Duffy, now a metaphor for undeserved entitlements. Grass roots members of the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation have splurged nearly $5,000 for this balloon, what they describe as a life-scale model of Mike Duffy’s ego. (Laughing)>>Pretty good, eh?>>Sheesh. You know, I bet Mike always wanted a statue, but I doubt if he had –>>Some kind of monument or lasting –>>Holy smoke. There’s only a certain amount of things I can say on TV. There’s a lot going through my mind.>>Linden: Gregory Thomas, federal director of the Taxpayers’ Federation. Many of his members feel the Senate should be abolished, an opinion that’s growing, largely driven by the Duffy scandal.>>It’s not a sterile discussion, Senate reform, you know, it becomes down to Mike Duffy getting $90,000 that he didn’t work for.>>Linden: $90,000 that he didn’t work for. But was it just a $90,000 misunderstanding? Or a misappropriation of public money, potentially a crime compounded by a cover-up.>>Reporter: News the R.C.M.P. has requested information about the Senate’s rules related to living and travel expenses. Mike Duffy, one of the senators at the centre of the storm, is saying very little.>>This has been an embarrassing month for the Senate and for conservative senators in particular.>>Canadians know I’m an honest man and that I wouldn’t cheat on my expenses.>>My opinion, he committed fraud.>>This monstrous fraud was the P.M.O.’s creation from start to finish. (♪♪)>>Linden: A melodrama, Mike’s misadventure. Here’s the background. It begins with an audit that would eventually flag four senators. Harb, Brazeau, Wallin, Duffy, for dubious expenses. It turned into the Mike Duffy show with a plot line driven by a simple question: Where is home? In Ottawa, where he’s lived for decades, or is it a cottage back in P.E.I.? But simple questions can be hard to answer when the stakes are high. For a senator from P.E.I., surely, home should be in P.E.I., but Duffy got a letter from the Senate saying no matter where he was a resident, senators can represent their province providing they own property there which he clearly did. Here’s the real problem. Mike Duffy would capitalize on that technicality claiming living expenses for the time he spent in Ottawa, which was most of the time, and it would add up quickly. Dan Leger, a former parliamentary reporter and contemporary of Mike Duffy, has written a book on the Duffy scandal.>>In Duffy’s case, I think this is a systemic, deeply-rooted notion or idea of entitlement, that it is very common among the senators. I mean, you know, this was a situation created for abuse. If I’m a senator and I say to you, I live in P.E.I. You are duty-bound to take that as gospel.>>Linden: It used to be a gentlemen’s agreement. But after a warning from the auditor general in 2012, they’ve tightened up the rules.>>When they asked for driver’s licences and other proof of official residence, and indirectly, that’s what set off the chain of events that made this whole thing explode because Duffy — he had an Ontario health card.>>Linden: December 2012, the media was raising questions. It was already an administrative challenge inside the Senate, Mike claiming living expenses when he really lived at his real home in Ottawa. Now the problem was political. At the pinnacle of power in Ottawa, the centre of everything, Stephen Harper’s office, it would set off political alarms. And because Mike was famous, a Tory Senate star, it smelled bad, it looked bad politically, it could damage Harper’s brand. The dubious expenses had to be repaid. They totalled tens of thousands of dollars, predictably, Mike balked.>>One of the reasons that Duffy has always fought this whole thing, why he wouldn’t pay money back, was that he was getting advice that that was, in effect, an admission of guilt. That that was the kind of — if you admit that you did something wrong now and went and paid it back like other senators have done, that’s going to end up being held against you later.>>Linden: Enter Nigel wright, chief of staff in the Prime Minister’s Office. His task? To prevent a scandal over Duffy’s expense claims, but it turned out that the cheerful little guy from P.E.I. wasn’t going to make it easy for him. Duffy’s position spelled out by a lawyer was clear. If he owed money, someone else was going to have to pay it back. It would be stipulated that he’d done nothing wrong, Tory big wigs would have media lines that would make the senator look good. There would be no further auditing of his finances. Nigel prudently replied by E-mail that he’d have to speak to the prime minister. And in what seemed to be a flash, there was another E-mail. Good to go from the PM. Later that day, in P.E.I., Mike made his position clear, there was no wrongdoing, the rules confused him, his mistakes were honest, he’d pay the money back because it was the right thing to do. Not because he fiddled it in the first place.>>People are talking, well, where do you live, what’s that all about, it’s become a major distraction, so my wife and I discussed it and we decided that in order to turn the page to put all of this behind us, we are going to voluntarily pay back my living expenses related to the house we have in Ottawa. I hope it reassures islanders and Canadians that the old Duff, the Duff they’ve known and trusted, would never do anything wrong. I would never knowingly fiddle anything. (♪♪)>>Linden: But behind the scenes, the facts were a bit more complicated. When Harper instructed that he pay the money back, Mike pleaded poverty, he didn’t have it. The Tory party said they would cover it but when they discovered just how much he owed, the figure had ballooned to $90,000, they refused. For Nigel wright, it was an aggravating problem, but there was an obvious solution. Wealthy people make problems go away by writing cheques. So eventually, Nigel wrote a cheque for Mike, and he caused an even bigger problem. Suspicious Mounties started to investigate both Mike and Nigel. When we return, the pride before a fall.>>That’s the worst part of this job, you know that? I hate it. If you don’t wear it, these cameras they got, every little blemish shows. (♪♪) (♪♪) ♪ What can you do ♪ ♪ There I can do ♪>>Linden: The ’60s, when teenagers would discover that they could use the television medium for fun. It wasn’t just for stars and stuffy grown-ups. You could be 15 years old in Charlottetown and have a show like this, sort of. (♪♪) ♪ What can you do ♪ (♪♪)>>Linden: Swingin’ Safari, theme of Mike Duffy’s first TV show, an almost forgotten first step in his career. Mait MacIssac was Duffy’s co-host.>>Wow.>>Linden: Takes you back.>>Takes me back. It sure does.>>Linden: Do you want to dance?>>No, no. Well, no, I don’t think so at this time, but we certainly did in the day. Mike was only 14 or 15 so he quite happily sat and watched. And Mike fell into the doing significant amount of the interviewing. He was driven from that point in time to use the radio and the TV to be in front of it and deliver messages. I mean, he was a natural. He was very, very good at what he did. (♪♪)>>Linden: The media, radio and television, offered liberation from the quiet neighbourhoods of Charlottetown. Where your religion and your politics determined much of who you knew and how you lived. Duffy would abandon the security of a quiet home in a better section of the little city for a wider world. He knew his destination from the start.>>I remember we were walking somewhere, come home from a dance or whatever, and Mike said, well, you know, are you going to become a doctor, become a priest, become a lawyer, whatever, Mike says I want to go to the hill.>>Linden: Not any hill. Parliament hill. His boyhood chum Charlie MacMillan became a political strategist, is now a university professor.>>That was his goal from day one.>>When we were 14 or 12 or whatever, I don’t think Mike was born, I want to be a senator, but he wanted to go to the hill.>>Linden: And hard work got him to the hill. Where he soon became a television star.>>Oh, God, they’re hammering, are they? If it’s not tourists and bands, these guy’s are hammering.>>Linden: But first, the sheltered world of radio, first in the Maritimes, then Montreal, and downtown Ottawa. He even did a brief stint reporting on a war.>>Mike Duffy,CBC News,in Saigon.>>Linden: Inevitably, politics became his defining story. John Diefenbaker, a former prime minister, inspired him. Politics and, in time, television would make him seem to be as famous as the people that he covered.>>Sir, if I could ask you about the R.C.M.P. affair. (♪♪)>>Hello, I’m Peter Gzowski, standing in front of the parliament buildings and standing with one of the most famous men on this hill. He’s not a politician, although he’s waiting for one right now. He’s a little shorter and a little rounder than the peace tower in the background. He’s Mike Duffy ofCBCtelevision“The National.”>>Duffy is more famous than most of the people he interviews.>>Linden: The seduction of celebrity was irresistible.>>You know, if we’re on camera, you know what people are going to say?>>What?>>Who’s that guy with Mike Duffy! (Laughing)>>Sources say the government has already decided to restore full indexing for all pensioners. Not just the poorest who receive the guarantee income supplement. That one was all right in terms of the words, but I didn’t feel I was coming through the lens, I wasn’t sort of — I was talking at you rather than to you.>>That’s the worst part of this job, you know that? I hate it it. But if you don’t wear it, with these new cameras they got, every little blemish shows. What would my mother think if she knew I wear make-up? She just thinks I always have a nice tan.>>With me now is theCBCsenior parliamentary reporter Mike Duffy. Mike –>>Linden: David Halton, a renowned foreign correspondent, worked with Duffy on the hill in the early ’80s.>>His role on the hill was essentially as our smoother in chief. He’d go over to Parliament Hill, he’d work the corridors, he had incredible range of contacts from cabinet ministers down to lowly backbenchers.>>Wilson may quit over this.>>Linden: He had the persistence of a salesman.>>It’s true, it’s true, he’s seeing him at one — No, no, but he’s seeing the PM at one today.>>If I ever leave, you’ll be one of the real things I’d miss around here because you’re a delight. You’re a joy to be with.>>Anyway, he’s meeting him at noon.>>I love you Duffy.>>Linden: Paul Wells, author and political editor of “Maclean’s” magazine.>>He was such an ingratiating figure that it was awful hard for people not to sidle up to him and spill your next secret to him.>>Ok, great thanks a million. Talk to you later on, okay, bye-bye. This is unbelievable. What has happened is the Prime Minister today, I was just talking to some highly-placed sources, say it’s 99% sure that today he’s going to announce the rollback on the pensions on the de-indexing of the pensions.>>Politicians value journalists who offer the shortest route to the public. And Duffy would not normally heavily mediate what he was told. If you told Mike Duffy something, if you e-mailed him something, there was a very good chance it would be on TV five minutes later and that made him valuable to a lot of politicians.>>Wait till you watch the news tonight.>>Linden: Sooner or later, celebrity parts company with reality. But celebrity becomes addictive, difficult to cure, impossible to satisfy.>>Mike was a very good self-promoter. By all accounts, he carried with — he travelled a little briefcase with a lot of photographs of himself so when people came up to ask for an autograph, he’d pull out — oh I’ve got a photo as well.>>Linden: Celebrity would one day redefine the boy from Charlottetown. According to a former colleague now chronicling his fall from grace, Dan Leger.>>Mike Duffy, this sort of overachieving guy from P.E.I., you know, not particularly well-educated, not very worldly, that, you know, he, over time, grew into the persona of the old Duff, the old Duff subsumed Mike Duffy from Charlottetown.>>Linden: His star power even charmed the charmer, Brian Mulroney.>>Is this Mike Duffy’s hometown? Where is he? Oh, there he is. How are you doing there, Michael?>>I’d like you to meet my brother Peter.>>We would go in restaurants, I remember back touring around following prime ministers and whatnot, and he’d say, boys, I’ll sit with my back to the room so we’re not all bothered all night by people. So okay, Mike, you sit there, and we would get going. Ten minutes into it, he’d be twisting around, is it going, and then five minutes after that, he’d be shaking hands around the room, and people loved it because that’s really at heart what he was. But this whole thing with the custom-made suits and, you know, the $200 ties and the hanging out with the rich and powerful and famous, that stuff went to his head. I believe that. And I mean, it has resulted, I think, in him developing a blind spot about the trouble that he was getting into.>>It has been a gruelling campaign and everyone is tired, even the old Duff.>>Linden: When we come back, the storyteller becomes the story.>>What we’re going to show you is exactly what happened in that Halifax hotel suite, the tape has not been edited. (♪♪) (♪♪)>>Good to see you.>>Yeah.>>Take care.>>Six more sitting days.>>Linden: On Parliament hill, it’s often hard to tell the pundits from politicians. Like most elected politicians, old Duff was a consummate campaigner, always on the job. It was a running joke that he’d just love to be one of them. He looked and sounded like what people thought of as an unelected pampered senator.>>Good morning, I’m Peter Gzowski. This isMorningside.>>Linden: But Duffy in the Senate? It was just a joke, right? A joke?>>What’s going on, Duff?>>It used to be that an appointment to the Senate, Peter, was a taskless thanks. Unfortunately, some of these — (laughing)>>Did you just make that up, Duffy? (laughing)>>Unfortunately, some of these new people actually seem to think they should take this seriously, and they run the risk of getting the place abolished before I’m old and grey enough to even be considered for an appointment. That’s a joke. Seriously, they’re almost all the new people who haven’t yet learned this is a place where you’re supposed to sip scotch quietly, make sure that you don’t cause too much ruckus.>>Linden: But the shock of finding out that he was really lobbying for the ultimate political reward.>>It’s the speakership of the Senate or nothing at all. And these guys from Prince Edward Island, apart from their sartorial elegance here, they know what to hang out for.>>Linden: Lowell Murray was Mulroney’s leader in the Senate when Duffy asked him as far back as the mid-’80s to put his name before the boss for a Senate seat in P.E.I.>>Mike Duffy was in the parliamentary press gallery, I knew him a bit, as we all did. He came to see me when I was government leader in there. There was a vacancy in the Senate, and he wanted to let me know that he would be interested in filling that vacancy from Prince Edward Island. And I had to explain to him that the Prime Minister had somebody else in mind, and I told him I would tell the Prime Minister of his interest.>>Linden: And you told the Prime Minister?>>Yes.>>Linden: What was his reaction when he mentioned Mike Duffy?>>He would say I know. (Laughing)>>Linden: This wasn’t –>>It was not news. (Laughing)>>I don’t know why Duffy’s not here. (Laughing)>>Linden: Old Duff seemed to have no party preference.>>You wanted to be a senator, Mike, because when I was, you know, my office is on the third floor Prime Minister, he was in the lobby of the House of Commons, you know, having his program every night. And I think he asked me at least a hundred times, Prime Minister, I’m ready, I’m ready. You know, I didn’t name him, I left him to Harper. (Laughing)>>I found him very political in the sense of advancing his own interests in journalism and cultivating politicians but also very non-ideological. I don’t think he had any partie prise, as they say in French. I don’t think he had any commitment to any party, I think he looked for the party when it came to an issue of his advancing his Senate bid, any party that would best suit him.>>Linden: By the federal election of 2008, the governing party of the moment, Stephen Harper’s Tories, seemed to be in trouble. By late campaign, the conservatives were struggling, trailing in the polls. The liberals and Stephane Dion were on a roll.>>Hello again, and welcome to the Thursday edition of “Mike Duffy Prime.”>>Linden: Five days before the vote, Duffy handed Harper and his Tories a gift. A stumble by the liberals on CTV in Halifax. Mike had been a star on CTV for 20 years by then.>>This good news came in the form of a devastating reminder of Stephane Dion’s struggle with the English language. We’ll have the tape in just a few moments. If you’ve got a PVR, set it on “record.” This is going to be one you’ll be talking about for days.>>If you were Prime Minister now, what would you have already done in this crisis that Mr. Harper hasn’t done?>>Again, I couldn’t understand the question, because are you asking — at which moment, today or since a week or two weeks –>>If you were the Prime Minister during this time already –>>We need to start again. I’m sorry. If I was the Prime Minister starting when, today?>>Murphy asked him a question which was so convoluted, it jumped forward and backward in tenses and time, you know, English is a second language to Stephane Dion and I think he got hopelessly confused — so he would say if I was Prime Minister now or then –>>Let’s start again.>>Okay.>>We’re still recording.>>Mr. Dion, thank you for coming.>>Thank you, Steve.>>Let’s start again. (Laughing)>>When the interview ran on the local show here in the Maritimes, you saw the stopping and starting and the fumbling and the going back and the reasks, but you also saw the entire interview about Afghanistan, the economy, you name it. Duffy’s people were watching the feed in Ottawa, and they seized on it.>>Can we start again?>>Do you want to?>>I’m going to start again.>>Because I think I’ve been slow to understand your question.>>Duffy played this tape over and over and over but not the interview, just the stumbles, just the retakes, just the parts which made Stephane Dion look like he couldn’t answer a question in English.>>Linden: In Winnipeg, the national media was startled by a summons from Harper’s handlers. There would be a rare evening scrum and when the Prime Minister arrived, the subject was the liberal leader’s incoherent moment.>>Stephen Harper: When you’re running a trillion-and-a-half dollar economy, you don’t have a chance to have do-overs over and over again, and I think what this incident actually indicates very clearly is that Mr. Dion, the Liberal Party, really don’t know what they would do about the economy.>>If the Prime Minister comes out and talks about the interview footage in an unprecedented emergency late-night scrum, that’s the biggest story off the campaign trail that day and you’ve got to put the Prime Minister on TV, and having put the Prime Minister on TV, then you’ve also got to run the footage.>>Well, back to the campaign now. There was an awkward moment for the liberal leader today, it happened during a taping of a television interview in Halifax. When Stephane Dion was asked a question that was not clear to him.>>Can we start again?>>Do you want to?>>Yeah.>>Linden: It became the talk of the campaign in the crucial 11th hour.>>Conservatives believe that that cemented victory that had become very shaky by the closing weekend.>>Linden: Whatever the impact of Duffy’s broadcast, Harper squeaked to victory less than a week later. And ten weeks after that, Mike Duffy had the job he’d always dreamed of, a Senate seat. Security for life. Prestige for even longer.>>I still to this day have a lot of sympathy for the notion that the footage of Dion not having an answer to a legitimate question was a legitimate story. But if all you show is the guy looking like a stumble bum, then you open yourself up to allegations of partisanship and one way to cement the validity of allegations of partisanship is to take a Senate appointment from the guy’s opponent. That’s a smokin’ gun if I ever saw one. You know, if you don’t want to look like a Tory shill, stay out of the Senate. And Mike wasn’t able to resist the offer when it came. (♪♪)>>Linden: January 26th, 2009. The punchline for what had been a joke for years. The old Duff, officially a Tory senator.>>The country was full of Tories who would have jumped at the chance, why Mike?>>Well, Mike was — if you needed someone to get into the Senate quick, from Prince Edward Island, you’re always best to pick the islanders who lives in Kanata. (Laughing)>>He was a bus ride away. And, look, Caesar says of Cassius I do not like young Cassius, he hath a lean and hungry look. Duffy has the opposite kind, he was easy to like.>>And you go out there all by yourself, just that little woman, going along, taking on this big job.>>Yeah, a lot of the times.>>Linden: Overnight, the Duffy brand became a mainstay at the Tory party gatherings. He looked and sounded like a news man everybody knew, but he was a politician, a convert who suddenly seemed more zealous than true believers.>>Great to see you, just one of the thousands of top Tories across the country who are working for Canada’s party, Canada’s conservative party. (Applause)>>Linden: It was an unlikely honeymoon, the taciturn PM and his gregarious new Senator. But Duffy’s fame was now a priceless political asset. The Harper government was drastically rewriting rules on how elections were financed.>>The conservatives wanted to get rid of the party subsidies paid through the public purse to political parties. If they’re going to do that, they have to depend on private fundraising. Duffy was hired as a senator/fundraiser. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. He travelled the backroads of Canada giving speeches in little towns and having his picture taken with local MPs and local riding executives and the little old ladies and things like that.>>And he was all over the country helping in fundraising but also in speaking tours for the party.>>He was a money magnet for Harper’s party.>>He was a magnet.>>Hello, Stephen, Mike Duffy here.>>Linden: A virtual old Duff making personal appeals.>>Hey, Jane, it’s Mike Duffy. Hey, Dennis, Mike Duffy here. Hi, Donald, it’s the old Duff here.>>Linden: Asking for contributions to the Tory war chest. A seamless transformation but something vital had been lost.>>I want to learn what you and your neighbours care about, and, at the same time, I’ll report back to you on how we’re moving your interests forward.>>Linden: As a pundit he had been a king. In the game of politics, he was a pawn but didn’t know it.>>And if you become inconvenient to Stephen Harper, you have a very short shelf-life in this town.>>Linden: When we come back, the old Duff becomes a magnet for the Mounties. ( ♪♪ ) (♪♪) ( ♪♪ ) ♪ This is a song about Senator Mike ♪ ♪ A long time ago, he rode on my bike ♪ ♪ He once … ♪>>Linden: In the Maritimes, you know you’ve gone from fame to notoriety when they mock you in a song. Dennis Boudreau has known Mike Duffy since they were boys growing up in Charlottetown. Mike went on to fame, first as a journalist, then a senator. When he isn’t making music in the local watering holes, Dennis works at Walmart. ♪ Then all of a sudden it was made known ♪ ♪ That Mike was in Ottawa, though P.E.I. grown ♪ ♪ His living expenses they just didn’t pass ♪ ♪ They even have charged us for mowing his grass ♪>>Mike was known as a man with the gift of gab. He could talk his way into and out of any situation you can imagine.>>Do you think he was going to talk his way out of this situation.>>Well, he’s got a job on his hands if he does. (♪♪) ♪ I’m sure there will be more to this Mike Duffy tale ♪ ♪ It just might be that he’ll end up in jail if the R.C.M.P. can show Mike is a cheater ♪ ♪ He’ll never get hired as a Walmart greeter ♪>>Okay. Now, we’re going to do somebody a Duffy, 20 bucks. We’re gonna cut you a cheque, you don’t have to say where you got the money from, you could pay off your debts so who do you owe money to?>>My brother lent me his car a few years ago, and I brought it back without gas and he won’t let it go.>>Okay, now the only thing is, Cher, you cannot tell your brother where you got the money, just give him the money and say here you go, and walk away, your debt’s paid.>>Linden: Even the local rock radio station joined the fun, hot F.M. 105.5, had a do ya a Duffy contest helping listeners out of debt up to a staggering 20 bucks.>>Alright, this is Miles McKinnon. Hope you have a great day.>>Biggest response we’ve ever got to a contest we’ve ever done. I think the thing that really was the tipping point was the fact that his cottage being snowed in, the image of that, I think, is what sort of — everyone is like, look, you know, we know it’s a cottage, we drive by it every Sunday.>>Linden: He can call it his main residence, he can call it Duffy’s castle if he wants to, but to islanders, it’s just a cottage at the centre of a scam. A perception that has excited Ottawa, politicians, auditors and Mounties. A scandal vortex that soon sucked in the biggest names in town, Nigel wright and Stephen Harper. Affable Mike Duffy found himself in an unfamiliar role, the villain in a horror show. He stayed quiet for a while. But then he blasted back from the platform Harper handed him after the election in 2008. The Senate.>>They have no moral compass. Oh, they talk a great game about integrity, but in my experience, they demonstrate every day that they do not understand the meaning of the phrase “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” This monstrous fraud was the P.M.O.’s creation from start to finish.>>Linden: It was an aggressive move to shift the focus of the story from his alleged transgressions to the ruthless cynicism he now believes drives politics in Ottawa.>>When you switch from being a Senate scandal and expense scandal to the Prime Minister’s Office and what did the Prime Minister know or didn’t know, you’re into very treacherous ground politically.>>Linden: Spoken from long experience.>>From long experience and watching these things with provincial and federal people, different parties, and I just think this thing is going to, you know, have severe consequences.>>Linden: Consequences. Not just for Mike Duffy. The fate of Nigel wright perhaps best illustrates the brutally-pragmatic politics of Stephen Harper. Harper was steadfast when his chief of staff was first exposed as Duffy’s benefactor. May 17th, 2013, he had full confidence, Mr. wright was staying on. May 19th with his generosity under fierce attack, maybe even police investigation, Nigel quit. Harper regretfully accepted the resignation. May 22nd, that word again, Nigel had resigned. June 4th, again, resigned. But by late October, a change in tone and terminology. Nigel wright had been dismissed. So why the change? The PM seemed finally to realize that what Nigel did for Duffy might have been a crime. And even if it wasn’t, it would offend grass roots Tory sensibilities. He needed distance, and he hoped to get it by throwing Nigel to the wolves. But when you’re the boss, the buck stops on your desk. And it often sticks there. Even loyal Tories are shocked by what they see as a betrayal. Former Tory strategist Charlie MacMillan.>>Nigel clearly knew he made a mistake. And instantly resigned, the honourable thing. And trust me, in those offices, you make mistakes. Some are public, some are not so public. But then four or five months later to say he wasn’t — he didn’t resign, he was fired, and that circle of whatever, and Nigel has a lot of friends, you know, not just on Bay street, and, you know, as a personal friend and family friend, people aren’t happy about that.>>Linden: And not just Bay street unhappy. The dismay has spread to Main Street. Gregory Thomas of the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation.>>Duffy’s actions have had a devastating effect on the Prime Minister operationally. Like Harper lost his most brilliant staffer. Nigel Wright — gone. Untouchable. Over this. Over Mike Duffy’s expenses. (♪♪)>>Linden: There’s a lesson here. Stephen Harper came to power determined not to be undone by corruption or the weaknesses of others. That meant controlling almost every aspect of his government, but that obsession now makes him uniquely accountable for any lapse that he was unable to prevent, even in the Senate. The former Progressive Conservative Senate leader Lowell Murray. Who do you blame?>>Oh, no question about it, it’s the instinct at the centre, P.M.O., to control everything. I hope they learned their lesson with this but it’s been at a big, big price. It’s damaged the Conservative party, it’s damaged the government, and Mr. Harper.>>Linden: And the Senate?>>Yeah, it’s damaged the reputation of the Senate.>>Linden: And as for Duffy, Harper’s personal recruit chosen for his fame and credibility, out of the Tory caucus, suspended from the Senate, maybe facing prosecution. Mike Duffy’s misadventure turned into a quagmire for everybody close to it. But mainly Stephen Harper who lost control and, with it, political credibility. For Nigel Wright, a brilliant career in law and politics has stalled. He could yet be prosecuted. And besides uncertainty about his future, Duffy must lament the life he left behind. Once a hunter, the former media celebrity becomes the prey of former colleagues in a Halifax hotel. If you can’t stand the heat, get out through the kitchen. Do you feel sorry for him?>>No, I don’t. He created this situation. He got himself into it. He’s the guy who wanted the $3,000 suits. He’s the guy who submitted the expense claims. He’s the guy who said that Stephen Harper was the greatest Prime Minister since John A. MacDonald. He’s got to live with it.>>Linden: It all comes back to Duffy. If what he did was criminal, it was also criminal for the P.M.O. to try to cover up his crime. But among his legal woes, there’s one alleged transgression that’s his alone. No P.M.O. to blame. And so far, no explanations. The R.C.M.P. investigation of his Senate spending turned up this, a series of contracts worth more than $60,000 for professional services by an acquaintance named Gerald Donohue. Donohue has told the Mounties he did virtually nothing for the money so why did he get paid? We wanted to discuss it with him, so we paid him a visit at his home, which is less than welcoming. His response was less than helpful.>>Do you see the sign?>>Yeah, I know.>>The signs say no trespassing. I mean, I can call the police now.>>I appreciate, but –>>Just leave.>>Linden: The perplexing mystery remains. But the police might not be quite so easy to get rid of. (♪♪) ♪ Some people are saying that Mike should resign ♪ ♪ But Mike isn’t stupid, he’s biding his time ♪ ♪ He’s waiting for his eligibility ♪ ♪To get a big pension from both you and me ♪>>Linden: Mike Duffy was the pride of P.E.I., a TV icon across Canada. But in Canada, and in P.E.I., when you mistakenly believe that public recognition means importance, and that privilege means entitlement, you’re already on the threshold of humiliation. The smallest scandal is enough to push you over.>>And I think what he found out was that politics as practised by real politicians is infinitely more dirty, more nasty, more hypocritical, and for much higher stakes than he ever dreamed.>>Politics is always an amazing show. Like it’s — it’s — this is very entertaining until you’re the person that the Prime Minister needs to cut loose so they can keep being Prime Minister. This is not Mike Duffy’s Ottawa. And if you become inconvenient to Stephen Harper, you have a very short shelf-life in this town. ♪ If the R.C.M.P. can show Mike is a cheater ♪ ♪ He’ll never get hired as a Walmart greeter ♪ (♪♪) (cheering)>>Linden: Obviously, we wanted to have a long chat with Mike Duffy, whom I’ve known professionally for nearly 50 years. He declined. His lawyer sent a statement that Mike Duffy has done nothing wrong and trusts the patience and fairness of Canadians to wait until the story is fully told before rushing to judgment. We’ll definitely be waiting, and we’ll bring you up to date. Stay with us. “The Fifth Estate” will return. (♪♪)

17 thoughts on “The Rise and Fall of Mike Duffy – the fifth estate

  1. Lol 7 minutes into it and it's obvious the guy's a crook.
    He lived in Ottawa since the 1970s.
    He had a cabin in PEI that he didn't live in. He ran his campaign as though he was from PEI even though he lived in Ottawa.
    Once he gets elected, he starts claiming living expenses for having to live in Ottawa (where he's already been living since the 1970s).
    To the tune of $90,000 he claimed he needed, for the incontinence of not being able to live in Prince Edward Island ..where he didn't live.
    How is there any debate on this?

  2. The judge said Duffy had no choice in the matter, as he had been appointed to represent Prince Edward Island in the Senate.

  3. What really stinks here is his 8M$ lawsuit against the federal govt, RCMP, and Senate for damages. Although the courts blocked him from suing, he is appealing that ruling. So how's that for entitlement?

  4. This sanctimonious piggy used to get on CTV and run his mouth off about government waste. Then we find out the piggy was at the trough.

  5. One of my exboyfriends told me years ago that Duffy and him had a " expereince" that was at best UNTOWARD. whenever he saw him on TV news he would shudder and recoil in disgust & shock. So much that i knew better to never probe for details for fear that i would open a huge hornets nest of issues, bad memories and problems.

  6. And humpty dumpty is still a senator 5 yrs later.couldnt imagine why we have all lost faith in the injustice system. It's a total fraud show top to bottom. Did it get better…nope we just watched our corrupt mentally twisted prime minister behave to a t like a god father along with his party and when caught crickets from our billion dollar injustice system

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