"We are going to pay it back, and until the rules are clear — and they're not clear now, the forms are not clear, and I hope the Senate will redo the forms to make them clear — I will not claim the housing allowance."
The following video offers some analysis from Terry Milewski:
How complex or confusing is the form? For a person of normal intellect, not very, as The Rabble points out:
The form Duffy found so confusing asks first of all if a Senator's primary residence is within 100 kilometres or more than 100 kilometres from Parliament Hill. You don't need an advanced degree in geography to figure that out.
For instance, if you live, as Senator Duffy now admits he does, in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata you are about 20 kilometres from Parliament Hill, maybe less.
The form then asks for the address of the Senator's primary residence in the province or territory he or she represents.
Given the good senator's confusion, I also can't help but wonder if there is a story here that the media are missing out on. Mr. Duffy has made much of the fact that he had open-heart surgery in 2006, hence the need for an OHIP card, granted only to those who spend at least 153 days a year physically present in Ontario. As he told CBC,
"I had open heart surgery, ... I'm being intensively followed. The other day I counted up, I have six different doctors … so I have a lot of health problems, and the advice of my doctors was not to make a switch, to stay with them at the Heart Institute in Ottawa. And that's what I've done."
Open-heart surgery, with which I have some familiarity within my own family, entails the heart being stopped and the patient placed on a heart-lung bypass machine for varying lengths of time. An unfortunate byproduct of the procedure can be cognitive imnpairment, known colloquially as 'pump head', with a wide range of cognitive impairments and deficits that can persist and worsen for years. And while I realize that such dysfunction may go largely unnoticed for a long time in our senate as attested to by recent events, it does seem to be a legitimate question to raise in Mr. Duffy's case.
Of course, another legitimate and related question to raise is that if he indeed found the senate forms too confusing to correctly and honestly complete, can he really be competent to discharge his senatorial duties, given that one of them is exposure to excruciating legislative minutia that demands a clear mind to read, understand, and make informed decisions on?
Just wondering, is all.
UPDATE: Here is more analysis by the CBC's Terry Milewski on the issue.