Senate rules didn’t define primary or secondary residences: official

OTTAWA — The Senate’s top finance official says there were no criteria or definitions of what constituted primary and secondary residences at the time Mike Duffy was making expense claims.

As the fourth week of the suspended senator’s trial begins, Duffy defence lawyer Donald Bayne is continuing his cross-examination of chief corporate services officer Nicole Proulx.

He is showing her a series of audits and reports that have criticized the Senate’s financial systems and rules over the years.

Proulx said she agrees with a 2013 report by audit firm Deloitte that said there were no definitions or criteria establishing the meaning of primary and secondary residences.

Duffy has pleaded not guilty to 31 charges of bribery, breach of trust and fraud, some of which relate to living expense claims he made for a home in an Ottawa suburb that he defined as a secondary residence.

Much of his defence revolves around the argument that the Senate rules were broad, and he operated within them.

The Canadian Press

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