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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

One to watch... The Senate

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Senator Mike Duffy gave what he perhaps considered to be a rousing speech on energy issues Wednesday night in a hotel in Halifax. The journalists in attendance, though, wanted to ask him where he lived. This is because Duffy spends a huge majority of his year living in a fine home in Ottawa, yet he claims a cottage in P.E.I. as his primary residence, earning him $33,000 in living allowances since 2010.

"You should be doing adult work. Write about energy," Duffy said to reporters after he was spotted sneaking through the hotel kitchen to avoid questioning.

Interesting, that use of the word "adult" by a Canadian senator.

Consider Patrick Brazeau, one of Duffy's fellow chamber members.

Last year, Brazeau called a reporter a bitch for reporting on his poor Senate attendance record. Recently, he made disparaging remarks about Chief Theresa Spence's weight. Since becoming a senator, he, like Duffy, has raked in large amounts of housing allowance cash by claiming his father's Maniwaki, Que., home as his primary residence even though he rents a home in Gatineau, much closer to Parliament Hill. And, as icing on the cake, CTV just revealed he used his former father-in-law's First Nations address to claim an aboriginal income-tax exemption between 2004 and 2008.

On Thursday morning, Brazeau even engaged in some name-calling, tweeting that the reporter who broke that story was a racist.

Also on Thursday, he was held by police on a domestic abuse issue and kicked out of the Conservative caucus. But that's a whole 'nother story.

If acting like an adult means cultivating qualities such as responsibility, self-control and integrity, then some Canadian senators had better avoid the use of the word adult.

As things stand now, it wouldn't take much to transform the Senate chamber into the parliamentary daycare centre.

-- David Connors

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 9, 2013 J12

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