May 302013
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'I keep forgetting to tell the PM about the cheque I wrote for Duffy…'

by Linda McQuaig

Tuesday March 12

Dear Diary:

A little down time today at the office. Gives me a chance to catch up on my diary writing.   Not much going on in the PMO these days. A trade deal with the Europeans. La-di-da! Review of Chinese takeovers. Dullsville! Pipelines for that muck Alberta tries to pass off as oil. What a snore! Oh, wait. There’s a call coming in from Mike Duffy. Gotta run.

Thursday March 14

Dear Diary,

The Duffster dropped by this morning, as we arranged. Someone here suggested I shouldn’t see him since he’s under investigation in the Senate. Wow! Conspiracy theorists right here in the PMO! I assumed Duff just wanted to join me for a jog or needed help filling out Senate forms. LOL. That’s what happens when people know you’re the smartest guy in the room. They come to you for help. But this turned out to be more. He broke down…he wanted money. Geez, it was awful. In all my years in private equity, I’ve seen tragedy, people losing their homes and all, but never a sight like this — a grown man unable to repay expenses unlawfully incurred while serving in Canada’s top chamber.

Luckily I happened to have $90,000 in my chequing account. That’s a lot of dough, but WTF it was worth it to see the Duffster smile again.

You know, Diary, people think that, behind my boyish good looks, I’m nothing but a ruthless, well-oiled machine, the architect of the PM’s tough persona — “Give-‘em-the heave-Steve” “commit the crime, do the time.” But some things just get to me. My heart went out to Duffy.

Sometimes there’s nothing you can do. You feel helpless. Like with climate change or the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. All those foreign workers allowed into Canada, stealing jobs from Canadians. It’s terrible. But what can we do here in the PMO? It’s different with the Duffy situation. It may be a small thing, but we can actually make a difference.

Luckily I happened to have $90,000 in my chequing account. That’s a lot of dough, but WTF it was worth it to see the Duffster smile again.

Friday April 19

Dear Diary,

Another quiet day. TGIF. May slip out early to pick up some jogging shorts. Don’t like to look like I’m watching the clock though.

Duffy announced today that he’s repaid the $90,000. The question has crossed my mind: Should I tell the big boss about the Duffy cheque? I keep wondering: What would Haldeman do?

Tuesday April 23

Dear Diary,

Why do people keep complaining about the Trudeau attack ads? He was a drama teacher, for God’s sake! Not a lawyer or a businessman or a private equity guy. A drama teacher! What was he thinking?

I’ve decided to tell the PM about the Duffy cheque. In fact, when we were chit-chatting yesterday, it was on the tip of my tongue. Then we got talking about something else — how the Senate scandal is damaging the party — and I forgot all about the Duffy cheque.

Thursday May 9

Dear Diary,

Watched a bunch of episodes of “House of Cards” last night. So cool. I love all the corruption in Washington. Also allowed me to kill time before getting up at 4 a.m. to run.

Saw Senator Wallin yesterday, but quickly crossed the street. Was afraid she might try to hit me up for her expenses. I’d like to help, Diary, but you know there’s a limit. There are kids dying in Africa…

Media reports today say Duffy’s audit is complete. Apparently he billed taxpayers for meals in Florida! Shows how hard up he really was. Glad I was able to help. That reminds me about the Duffy cheque. I’ll tie a string around my pinky so I don’t forget again to mention it to the PM.

Saturday May 18

Not a good week. Duffy and Wallin resigned the caucus, and some folks are suggesting I’m the problem. To top it off, it’s my 50th birthday, and not even a card from Duffy! Weird how ungrateful people can be. I can’t lie to you, Diary, that hurt a bit.

About Linda McQuaig

Linda McQuaig is a journalist and author. Her most recent book is The Trouble with Billionaires, (co-authored with Neil Brooks). This column originally appeared in The Toronto Star. eMail:


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