90% Canadians agree: it’s time to either reform or abolish the Senate

Click to play video: 'Senator Mike Duffy goes back to work'
Senator Mike Duffy goes back to work
WATCH ABOVE: Senator Mike Duffy goes back to work. Jacques Bourbeau reports – May 2, 2016

As Sen. Mike Duffy is set to return to work Tuesday, an overwhelming number of Canadians say the Senate should be reformed or abolished according to a new poll.

The poll from the Angus Reid Institute released Tuesday found 55 per cent of respondents believe the Senate should be reformed, while another 39 per cent believe it should be abolished completely.

WATCH: Chief political correspondent Tom Clark speaks with Mike Duffy’s lawyer, Donald Bayne

Click to play video: 'Mike Duffy’s lawyer discusses acquittal, judges PMO comments'
Mike Duffy’s lawyer discusses acquittal, judges PMO comments

READ MORE: Mike Duffy returns to Parliament Hill

Just six per cent of Canadians think the Upper Chamber should be left alone.

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Duffy returned to work Tuesday, nearly two weeks after he was acquitted of 31 charges including bribery, fraud and breach of trust almost two weeks ago and was spotted outside his office in Centre Block Monday.

Despite several changes made in the wake of Senate expense scandal that first broke in 2013 involving Duffy, Pamela Wallin, and Patrick Brazeau, the new data shows the damage to the public perception of the institution might be beyond repair.

Two-in-three Canadians (64%) say the Upper House is “too damaged to ever earn their goodwill,” according to the poll.

WATCH: Mike Duffy returns to Parliament Hill

Click to play video: 'Mike Duffy returns to Parliament Hill'
Mike Duffy returns to Parliament Hill

READ MORE: Duffy to return to Senate after 3-year hiatus

Duffy has not appeared in the Senate since 2013 when he was suspend over questionable expense claims.

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He was acquitted of all charges on Apr. 21. Now, questions have been raised about whether Duffy should be repaid the more than $250,000 in salary he lost during his suspension – money his lawyer has argued Duffy should be paid.

“The Senate leadership at the time decided to suspend without pay which I took as a presumption of guilt contrary to the rule of law,” Duffy’s defence lawyer Donald Bayne said during an interview with Global’s The West Block. “[The judge] said most of this was administrative finance matter not material for a criminal court.”

Former Conservative colleague Sen. Linda Frum said Monday she was against writing Duffy a cheque.

“The Senate made a decision about his salary; it was part of a sanctions process against Sen. Duffy, and that sanctions process took place, and that’s the end of that story,” said Frum.

Duffy did not take questions from reporters on Monday.

READ MORE: Duffy’s expenses could still be examined by Auditor General

NDP MP Charlie Angus told reporters he doesn’t see a reason to give Duffy back the salary he lost.

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“What we’re seeing is a real disconnect between the Ottawa political bubble and ordinary Canadians who work hard and play by the rules,” Angus said.

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from April 28 – May 3, 2016, among 1,508 Canadian adults who are members of an online panel.  For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

*With files from the Canadian Press


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