Embattled Senator Mike Duffy announced that he will be suing the Senate and the Attorney-General of Canada for $7.8 million dollars.
The lawsuit stems from when, several years ago, the PEI senator tumbled his way into the spotlight during the Senate expense scandal—a scandal he quickly became the face of. At the time Duffy was being investigated by the auditor general for misappropriated expenses such as claiming a housing expense in PEI while he was living in Ottawa.
What really made the situation salacious was the involvement of Stephen Harper's' chief of staff, Nigel Wright, who secretly offered to pay Duffy's expenses himself. Duffy took Wright's money and paid off the expenses before the investigation was complete. Needless to say, people found out about the cheque and the expense scandal quickly became the biggest story in Canada wrapping in many other players and dominating the news cycle.
But, like many of these salacious stories, it ended with a fizzle and Duffy was found not guilty on all 31 of the criminal charges in 2016.
In a statement released on his website, Duffy says that he attempted to work with the Senate to rectify what occurred but said they "have shown they are not interested in correcting the unjustified actions taken against me."
"The Harper Conservatives have left me with no choice but to go back to the courts for justice," reads the statement. "The action I am initiating today is as much about the future as it is about the past."
While Duffy was suspended from the senate he lost about $270,000 in wages during the two year span. The $7.8 million dollar amount is broken down by $6 million in damages, $1 million in punitive damages, and $300,000 in lost wages.
In a press conference, Duffy's lawyer Lawrence Greenspon said that there has been a statement of claim filed against the federal government. Greenspon said that the decision to step back into the spotlight wasn't an easy one.
"A considerable amount of thought went into that equation. Mike has been through a very difficult for or five year period, and it continues," said Greenspon. "His reputation for a great many Canadians doesn't take into account the fact that he's been completely absolved in a court decision. So we had many long, hard discussions about 'do you really want to get back into this all over again.'"
In the statement, Duffy says that a stigma remains from the trail and that he and his family "have suffered stress and serious financial damage, as have the other Senators who were unfairly targeted, and their rights trampled."
"If this action succeeds in bringing Charter protections to all who work on Parliament Hill, this will be my greatest contribution to public life."
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