Wednesday, October 23 Commentary
If Senator Mike Duffy can be believed, there has been a grand conspiracy against him reaching deep into the Prime Minister's Office and trickling down to the upper echelons of the Conservative party politicos in the Senate.
Duffy, he says, against the advice of his doctor appeared in the Senate last evening trying to convince Senators to defeat the motion from the Government leader in the Upper Chamber to suspend Duffy....cutting off his pay and benefits.
Essentially Duffy argued that he followed all of the rules governing living expenses but the Ottawa Citizen made the issue public so he talked to the Prime Minister's Office and he claims the PMO told him everything was fine but as the pressure built Duffy was called to a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his then chief of staff Nigel Wright and there Duffy claims, Harper said to him...payback the money. He argued that he'd followed the rules but Duffy says Harper basically said to him that it didn't matter, it was how this appeared so pay it back. From then on, he says he was constantly pressured, intimidated, coerced.
Senator Pam Wallin will make her case against suspension later today.
Now let me see if I have this correct.
Mayor Rob Ford last year in the wake of the Danzig Street mass shooting demanding more money for police so they can get tough...not more money for social programs. That was law and order Rob.
Now we hear that he has written at least two character references to convicts...one of whom, Doug Sedgewick went to prison for murder, got out on parole, violated his parole several times and then got caught driving 115 in a 60, along the Queensway during the afternoon drive home period. The other was written for his long time friend Sandro Lisi for his sentencing hearing for threatening his girlfriend.
And my eyebrows went way up when I heard Doug Ford about this yesterday.
Not okay..especially not okay when you write it on the stationary of the Mayor of Toronto which he did in both of the instances already cited.
In one case, one could argue that Ford tried to exert influence on city hall staff to reinstate the towing license of Doug Sedgewick. Staff said he was too dangerous to the public but after the mayor's letter and other information, a tribunal overruled city staff and Sedgewick got his license back.
I would invite the Mayor to once again read the City Council Code of Conduct, which I reviewed again last evening. Section 8 regards the improper use of influence and reads in part:
"No member of Council shall use the influence of her or his office for any purpose other than for the exercise of her or his official duties.
Examples of prohibited conduct are the use of one’s status as a member of Council to improperly influence the decision of another person to the private advantage of oneself, or one’s parents, children or spouse, staff members, friends, or associates, business or otherwise."
There's also Section 6. "No member of Council should use, or permit the use of City land, facilities, equipment, supplies, services, staff or other resources.... for activities other than the business of the Corporation."
The Integrity Commissioner will investigate if someone files a complaint....hint, hint.
And from Queen's Park a couple of items...
For you the biggest is there's going to be a change in the law on distracted driving soon..probably within a matter of months. The fine just doesn't cut it...drivers are still yapping away a phone in one hand, the wheel in the other. Drivers are still texting, sending emails. So Transportation Minister Glenn Murray told CTV's Paul Bliss he's looking at demerit points. Repeat offenders would then risk losing their license and when you get demerit points, insurance goes way up.
The other story...and I can't believe the Liberals had the gall to do this...but just one day after Premier Kathleen Wynne was promising a more open and transparent government, her MPP's on the Estimates Committee were still trying to block the release of documents relating to the 2015 Pan Am Games. The PC's say the Liberals have been stalling for weeks but they finally got out meanouevered yesterday and as a result all Pan Am documents from the start of 2010 til the first of October must be released. The PC's are convinced the Liberals have something to hide and it certainly looks that way.