Canadian Senators and former journalists Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy are in the media spotlight for misunderstanding the word home – what can we expect from journalists?

Wallin Duffy

Canadian Senators and former journalists Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy

Four Canadian Senators are accused of cheating on their expense claims, if not in court, at least in the court of public opinion by the newspapers and television news.

Our journalist Senators pretend to have a limited grasp of the English language.

Today’s news is all about the $140,000 in expense claims that Senator and former CTV journalist Pamela Wallin is reported to have claimed for travel to her “home” in rural Saskatchewan. 

Joining Wallin in misunderstanding where “home” is located are fellow CBC/CTV journalist and Senator Mike Duffy, Senator Mac Harb and Senator Patrick Brazeau. All of them seem to have claimed tens of thousands of dollars from the Senate for remote travel to their principal residence. The RCMP are investigating allegations of fraud since the Senators do not seem to live outside Ottawa or Toronto in the case of Senator Wallin.

Other Canadian journalists working for CBC, CTV, The National Post and every newspaper and TV station in the country are feeding the fires of scandal on these stories. The ardor with which their fellow journalists are roasting journalists-cum-senators Wallin and Duffy is certainly ironic.

Those two are getting more scandal ink than other senators. Are the non-senate appointed journalists actually jealous of the high salaries and expense perks of Wallin and Duffy?

What is Home?

“The basis for this latter decision is apparently some arbitrary and undefined sense of what constitutes ‘Senate business’ or ‘common Senate practice’, Wallin told CBC trying to deflect questions about trips to Toronto and other destinations which she claimed as travel to her home in Saskatchewan.

All of the Senators had weak explanations for their over-inflated expense claims. None of the explanations are plausible.

When is a house not your home and eligible for principal residence status? Probably when you don’t live there but both Wallin and Duffy seem to be unsure. Despite years of education and training as journalists in the English language, Wallin and Duffy claim confusing Senate expense claim rules made them believe their principal residence or home was a fantasy place, not where they really lived.

It’s a crying shame that journalists should have such a weak grasp on the proper use of the English language. In the case of Wallin and Duffy, few Canadians believe their protests of confusion over where their real homes are.

Gallup found the public do not trust journalists which I find disheartening but it matches my experience.

While the Canadian media salivate over the downfall of Wallin and Duffy, they may want to look at their own ethical houses.