April 17, 2013 5:30 pm
Updated: April 17, 2013 7:15 pm

Sen. Duffy dodges questions about housing allowance repayment

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Conservative Senator Mike Duffy won’t say whether he’s repaid tens of thousands in improperly collected housing allowance, two months after he promised to do so.

Duffy refused to answer Wednesday when asked by Global News if the money had been paid back yet.

“I’m a man of my word,” Duffy said, upon leaving the Senate chamber and entering an elevator.

When pressed for a yes or no answer, Duffy responded, “I’m not going to answer your question: I’m a man of my word.”

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When asked again, Duffy asked the reporter “what is wrong with you” before leaving the elevator and scurrying up the stairs.

In February, Duffy said he would pay back several years’ worth of housing allowances he admits he may have mistakenly collected, blaming “confusing” forms for the blunder.

“The Senate rules on housing allowances aren’t clear, and the forms are confusing,” Duffy said in a statement at the time. “I filled out the Senate forms in good faith and believed I was in compliance with the rules. Now it turns out I may have been mistaken.”

The journalist-turned-senator came under fire last year for claiming $33,000 in housing allowances since 2010 after he reported his primary residence was his cottage in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island – the province he represents in the Red Chamber.

But Duffy has lived in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata for years, even before his appointment to the Senate.

Senators are required to keep a home in the province they represent. If a senator’s primary residence is more than 100 kilometres away from the National Capital Region, he or she is eligible for an allowance to offset the costs of keeping a second home.

To prove where they live senators are required to fill out a declaration including the address of their primary residence. The declaration also asks for details about a senator’s secondary residence.

Duffy is one of the four senators whose expenses are being scrutinized by an ongoing external audit. The Senate has yet to set a date for the audit’s release.

© 2013 Shaw Media

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