News, Politics

Canada’s Senate Scandal Grows Amid Accusations And Denials

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Mike Duffy. Image: Ayelie
Mike Duffy. Image: Ayelie

Things have been heating up in the Canadian Senate.

Two days ago, Senator Mike Duffy made a riveting speech in the Senate. He accused the Prime Minister and some other senators of bullying him into paying $90,000 back to the government when he didn’t think he should have to.

His accusations were part of a dramatic speech.

“The sad truth is, I allowed myself to be intimidated into doing what I knew in my heart was wrong, out of a fear of losing my job,” Duffy said in his speech.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has defended himself against the accusations.

Then yesterday another senator, Pamela Wallin, made a heated speech in the Senate. She accused 14 senators of leaking information about her. In this case, “leaking information” is a bit like “tattling.” She said much of the leaked information is inaccurate.

It’s all part of a growing “senate scandal.”

The Senate is an important part of the government. Senators give the final approval to bills before they become laws. Senators are appointed by the governor-general of Canada on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Some senators, including Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin, have been under investigation since last December.

Pamela Wallin. Image:  Richard Burdett
Pamela Wallin. Image: Richard Burdett

They were accused of taking money for things that are not covered by their Senate budget.

Duffy says he did not break any rules and should not have had to pay back the $90,000.

“Canadians know me as an honest guy,” said Duffy. “To pay back money I didn’t owe would destroy my reputation.”

The senate scandal will get bigger and more complicated in the coming weeks, as more people are accused of wrongdoing and others defend themselves. It is also likely that new facts will come to light.

Canadians will be interested to find out the “truth,” from many different points of view.

Related links
Many details about the senate scandal have been left out of this TKN article. You can find more information about the scandal in these earlier TKN articles:

Canadian Senators Being Investigated (TKN article)

Canadian Senators’ Expenses Being Reviewed (TKN article)

The National Post/The Canadian Press have the text of Mike Duffy’s 1,750-word speech.

The CBC has an audio file of Duffy’s speech.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Mike Duffy used to be a journalist. If you listen to one of his speeches, you will notice that he is not only a strong writer, he is also an excellent speaker.

What do you think makes someone an effective speaker? What skills do they need to have in order to capture an audience’s attention?

Reading Prompt: Demonstrate Understanding
This story is very complicated. In fact, the journalist who wrote the article even left out details to make it easier to understand. Although it is challenging, try to edit the story to make it even simpler to understand. Retell this story, including all of the important details, in only three sentences.

Junior
Demonstrate understanding of a variety of texts by summarizing important ideas and citing supporting details (OME, Reading: 1.4).

Intermediate
Demonstrate understanding of increasingly complex texts by summarizing important ideas and citing a variety of details that support the main idea (OME, Reading: 1.4).

Grammar Feature: Quotation Marks
Quotation marks are frequently used in this article. Circle all of the times that quotation marks are used and identify how and why the author used quotation marks each time.