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Mike Duffy retires after career tainted by Senate expenses scandal

OTTAWA — Sen. Mike Duffy is stepping down after more than a dozen years in the upper house, where the Senate expenses scandal overshadowed the bulk of his parliamentary career.

Duffy turns 75 on Thursday, making today his last one as a senator due to mandatory retirement rules.

A Parliament Hill journalist and broadcast news fixture for more than three decades, he was sworn into the Senate in January 2009 after his appointment by then-prime minister Stephen Harper.

Duffy was suspended without pay for nearly two years over the expenses scandal, for which he was ultimately acquitted of 31 criminal charges in 2016.

The scandal’s long tail dragged on through last August, when he lost his bid to overturn a court decision that blocked him from suing the Senate for millions of dollars over his suspension.

The P.E.I. senator fired off a parting shot last month in his final address to the Red Chamber, which he accused of denying fair treatment to members and resisting change.

“The Senate is unelected and unaccountable to anyone other than itself. Sadly, that concept has been twisted to mean that senators are not permitted the procedural fairness available to every other resident of Canada,” he said on April 30.

“Sadly, reform-minded senators are learning that making change here is not easy.”

Upon his retirement at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, the Senate will have 15 vacancies.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2021.

The Canadian Press