Blog by John Miller

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Gloves-off time

Mike Duffy got in trouble when he stopped thinking of himself as a reporter and started thinking he was something else -- an entitled celebrity with powerful friends and an unlimited expense account.

Now Mr. Duffy has been unmasked as Mr. Dummy, who professes not to know where he lives, who can't seem to understand plain English, and who has alienated most of the people who once adored him -- the Canadian public, the Conservative party, the Prime Minister, and, although they have not yet demonstrated it, the news reporters whose ranks he once belonged to.

His low point came the other day when he decided to call the RCMP to evict a reporter who was camped out in his driveway. Who did the reporter represent? Why, Duffy's old network, CTV.

So far at least, that's the closest the media seems to have come to getting Duffy to address the serious questions he refuses to answer about the scandal that now engulfs the Prime Minister's Office and has led to the departure of his trusted chief of staff. Some of those questions are:

Did you approach Nigel Wright or did he approach you? (The prime minister's chief of staff wrote a personal cheque to Duffy for over $90,000, allowing him to repay money he owed the Senate for improperly filed housing expenses. Wright resigned on Sunday).

Are you aware of Senate rules that forbid such gifts?

Were there any strings attached to your acceptance of Wright's gift, such as easier treatment by the Senate of your transgression?

During negotiation of the gift, was the Prime Minister`s lawyer present? If so, who did you think he was there representing?

Why did you claim you took out a bank loan to repay the Senate money? Wasn`t that a fib?

Did you double-dip in claiming you were on Senate business when you billed election funds for attending at least two Conservative fundraisers?

Why did you refuse to co-operate with Senate auditors after you repaid the money? They were looking into other things and the cheque you got could be seen as the means by which you were able to evade responsibility.

The Prime Minister says people abusing the public trust will not be tolerated. Do you plan to offer your resignation?

Of course Stephen Harper has even more serious questions to answer -- such as what he knew and when about his top aide helping Duffy. But the media so far have not been as aggressive as the public interest requires in seeking answers. No reporter has displayed the dogged brass of Mary Walsh`s alter ego, crusading reporter Marg Delahunty, who ambushed Duffy on Parliament Hill in early April, when news of the scandal was in its infancy. The YouTube video is hilarious, but is a good example of the aggressiveness with which the media should now pursue Duffy and Harper.

My message to reporters: Take the gloves off and get answers. Now.

Canadians deserve to know how far the Prime Minister`s inner circle will go to protect Tory friends who find themselves in ethical and financial trouble.