Senators are chosen to represent their provinces, and their main residence has to be in those provinces. In the case of Duffy and Wallin, it was well known that they (because of their jobs in the media), had spent the past many years outside of their province and yet Harper appointed to represent those provinces. They made tens of thousands of dollars in travel claims to and from Ottawa and their province and also made housing claims, based on their main residence. The same with Brazeau and Harb.
Official investigations led to the introduction of a motion in the Senate to suspend them for two years, with no pay or medical coverage. Initially Harper and the Prime Minister Office (this is the political body that is hired, works for and advises the Prime Minister), defended Wallin and Duffy, who had done yeoman service for the party, but then things started to unravel as more and more "juicy tidbits" were revealed by the media.
Support for the duo ( Harper even stating that he had looked at Wallin's receipts and found nothing wrong) turn to concern and then embarrassment and then outright hostility. In the meantime Brazeau (who has had some personal problems) was isolated and alone and he , (based on the official investigation , which cleared him,) decided to fight back. Later on Duffy and Wallin started their fight back to save their salary and reputation. The media was having a field day and Harper and his advisers in the PMO, at first decided to pay off Duffy's bill ($ 90.000), this to be done (depending on who you believe) through a loan from Duffy's bank, which later on became a loan from Harper's Chief of Staff, Wright. Was this a pay-off to shut Duffy up or was it a personal gift from a friend, as Wright claim. This is when "..it" hit the fan and the real cover-up began.
A week is an eternity in politics and this has gone for longer and is going away. There a new proposal before the Senate that would soften the punishment ( the previous motion was criticized from all corners for among other things denying them "due process"), but it won't go away (Harper was hoping for an end before the Party's Convention this week-end). His performance has been ragged and contradictory during Question Period, claiming for instance at one time that Wright "had done the honorable thing' and resigned over the cheque and then, after heated questions from the NDP's leader Mulcair and the media changing his story to say that he fired Wright; that he supported Wallin and Duffy and then calling for their firing; that only Wright knew about the check and then saying " a few" people knew.......
There are rumblings from the party base. Some senior members have broken ranks and saying that they will vote against he party motion. It is going to be a real interesting time this weekend at the Convention, even if the Senate do vote.
This has focused much needed attention on Senate appointment and exposes not only Harper's injudicious and questionable appointments, but on the entire process of appointment and more importantly on the relevance and need for the Senate as presently constituted. The