I’m not sure there’s a more delicious irony than the fact that the Conservative Senator now being publicly alleged to have defrauded the public of tens of thousands of dollars in wrongfully claimed living expenses, on the dubious grounds that his vacation cottage in PEI is his “primary residence” and the home he uses in Ottawa is merely his “secondary” home, is none other than former journalist Mike Duffy. This man is an even greater dunce than his colleague, Olympian skier turned climate change denialist Nancy Greene. A couple of years ago, Duffy demonstrated the full extent of his stupidity by giving a lecture at a journalism school in which he denounced what he saw as a wave of “critical thinking” — his words, not mine — overtaking the media.
Sixth Estate has accused Canadian journalists of many things, but I don’t think I’ve ever been nasty enough to accuse them of thinking critically. Yikes!
Anyhow, Senator Duffy has a loyal defender in none other than Speaker of the Senate Noel Kinsella, who, asked to comment on the scandal, provided the following fantastically preposterous explanation of why it’s all not so simple as it sounds:
“The instrument that has created the Parliament, which includes the Crown, the House of Commons and the Senate, was written in the latter part of the 1800s in the language of that time,” Kinsella said. “So I’m not sure of the fullness of the meaning so this is why [the review is] a good thing.”
Heh. I guess they decided that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s golden excuse for fiscal indiscretion — that he hadn’t read the ethics code and therefore wasn’t bound by it — could only possibly work once. So they went with the second best choice: we don’t have to follow the rules if we’re too stupid to read them.
It so happens that I have a degree in history, albeit not in law, so I decided to check out “the instrument” and interpret it for them — the word is Constitution, but Conservatives in this country are having increasing trouble uttering the word ever since Jason Kenney called the Charter of Rights and Freedoms “stupid” and their lawyers argued in court that Constitutional rights do not apply to decisions made by Cabinet ministers. Rule of law, schmule of schlaw.
Anyhow, I digress. I dusted off my copy of the Constitution and proceeded to find the relevant section so I could help Dr. Kinsella — who, by the way, is a former professor — parse the bizarre, convoluted, arcane, and indecipherable prose. I’m sure you’ll agree that the relevant section is a doozy:
The Qualifications of a Senator shall be as follows:… He shall be resident in the Province for which he is appointed;
I was going to use my evil “critical thinking” skills and put it in simple language for the Professor, but frankly, I don’t know if I can put it any more simply than it’s already written, complex 19th-century language and all.Tweet