Sen. Mike Duffy is suing the Senate and the Attorney General for the way they handled accusations about his expenses.
Duffy filed a claim in Ontario Superior Court on Thursday, seeking millions of dollars in damages and compensation for loss of income and benefits.
In the statement of claim, Duffy is asking for $6.5-million in general damages, $300,000 in loss of pay and $1-million in punitive damages.
The claim alleges his suspension by the Senate was unconstitutional and that the RCMP were negligent in their investigation.
In a statement, Duffy said he and his family suffered stress and serious financial damage and that his lawsuit is as much about the future as it is about the past.
“My civil action raises questions which go to the heart of our democracy,” he said.
“If this action succeeds in bringing charter protections to all who work on Parliament Hill, this will be my greatest contribution to public life.”
The Prince Edward Island senator landed in trouble with the Senate in late 2012 when questions were first raised about housing expenses claimed against a home he had lived in for years before he was appointed to the Senate.
The senators suspended him without pay for almost two years and the RCMP charged him with 31 charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery.
In April of last year, Duffy was acquitted on all counts.
Ontario Court Justice Charles Vaillancourt said Duffy’s actions weren’t criminal, even if they raised eyebrows.
Soon after, Duffy returned to Parliament Hill.
Read Duffy’s full statement below:
More than a year ago, I was exonerated of 31 criminal charges by Judge Charles H. Vaillancourt of the Ontario Court of Justice.
The judge called me a “credible witness” whose conduct was “reasonable and honest.”
In his 308 page decision, Judge Vaillancourt examined and dismissed every charge related to my residency, travel claims, and expenses, saying they “met the criteria for Senate business”, and “were appropriate.”
Since then my lawyers and I have tried patiently to resolve matters with the Senate. The Conservatives still control the Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, (CIBA) and have shown they are not interested in correcting the unjustified actions taken against me by The Senate.
The Harper Conservatives have left me with no choice but to go back to the courts for justice.
The action I am initiating today is as much about the future as it is about the past.
My civil action raises questions which go to the heart of our democracy.
I believe The Charter and its provisions apply throughout this great country, and especially on Parliament Hill.
My family and I have suffered stress and serious financial damage, as have the other Senators who were unfairly targeted, and their rights trampled.
If this action succeeds in bringing Charter protections to all who work on Parliament Hill, this will be my greatest contribution to public life.
It would be inappropriate for me to say anything more while this matter is before the Court.