The Duffy diaries: four years, 232 pages, and plenty of juice

Inside the private journals of the most entitled, hardest-working, Swiss Chalet-lovingest man in Ottawa

(Photo illustration by Levi Nicholson and Richard Redditt)

(Photo illustration by Levi Nicholson and Richard Redditt)

Mike Duffy had problems with his accommodations right from the beginning. On Jan. 6, 2009, three weeks before he was sworn in as a member of Canada’s Senate, the former TV journalist met with Kevin MacLeod, the usher of the Black Rod, to complain. “Wrong 5th floor office,” reads the terse entry from his electronic desk diary.

Of course, that was the lesser housing issue. That same afternoon, the soon-to-be-senator and his fellow appointee, Pamela Wallin, had already been to see Marjory LeBreton, the government leader in the upper chamber to discuss where they lived; Duffy’s agenda shorthand says “re: Prof. [David] Bulger.” The constitutional law scholar from the University of Prince Edward Island had appeared on the front page of the Charlottetown Guardian that Christmas Eve, proffering his expert opinion that Duffy wasn’t eligible for the job. “The appointment is unconstitutional because he’s not a resident of the province,” Bulger told the paper. An objection that could equally be raised about Wallin, a longtime Torontonian who Stephen Harper had named to represent her native Saskatchewan.

While visiting the Island over the holidays Duffy had worked to smooth over the situation. On Jan. 2, both he and his wife, Heather, obtained P.E.I. drivers’ licences, notes the diary. There had been a teleconference with Dave Penner, then director of appointments in the Prime Minister’s Office, and Paul Bélisle, the clerk of the Senate, about “property documentation.” And now that he was back home in Ottawa, he and his Conservative colleagues were preparing responses in case the questions persisted. “Check media lines with [then PMO communications director] Kory Teneycke re: Pam & Mike,” reads another entry.

The fuss faded, and was soon overtaken by a different Mike Duffy mini-scandal off-colour remarks about Robert Ghiz, the Liberal premier of P.E.I., teaming up with Newfoundland’s Danny Williams to oppose cuts to federal equalization payments. “You know what happens when two politicians climb into bed together. One of them comes out on top,” Duffy said to chortles during his maiden speech Feb. 3. “CBC camera outside the Senate for The National,” reads a diary notation the following day. “MD retracts metaphor.”

    Over the next four years, recorded in 232 pages of obsessive entries about his meals, health, personal life and political dealings, there’s nary a mention of the residency issue. Although Duffy himself seems pretty clear on where he was living referring to his property at 10 Friendly Lane in Cavendish, P.E.I. as “the cottage” 30 times. In hindsight, however, he must wish he’d spent more time worrying about his domicile. Declaring the “cottage” to be his “primary residence,” enabled him to claim more than $90,000 in allowances and per diems meant for senators who live outside the National Capital Region, but ultimately led to all kinds of trouble. Media queries sparked an audit, then a failed PMO cover-up provoked a RCMP investigation. And now, his trial on 31 counts of fraud, breach of trust and bribery.

    Duffy’s agendas, first handed over to an upper chamber committee in early 2013 as he attempted to shut down the controversy, landed with a thump at the Ottawa courthouse on the second day of the proceedings against him. (The senator has pleaded not guilty to all charges.) They are now collectively known as “Exhibit 7” and are being used as a road map by the prosecution. There has been testimony about the endless, cross-Canada parade of political events, fundraisers, and paid speeches captured in the agenda pages travel that allegedly ended up being charged to taxpayers as “Senate business.” And evidentiary documents that focus on $12,000 in flights, taxis, and per diems that Duffy is said to have claimed for attending the five different funerals he notes, including a Feb. 14, 2012, trip to P.E.I. to bury a cousin. The Crown has even suggested that a $698 overnight stop in Peterborough, Ont., in July 2010 characterized as a “public business” visit by Duffy and his wife to a Canadian Kennel Club show was really a trip to buy a new Kerry blue terrier. (”Ceilidh unwell,” the senator had noted the previous April 20. Then, two days later, “Ceilidh leaves us at March Rd. Vet Clinic.”) Although Duffy’s lawyer, Donald Bayne, refuted that suggestion in court, pointing to a diary entry that shows the couple actually travelled to New Brunswick to get their new pup, Chloe, in January 2011.

    The trial, which resumes this week and seems destined to drag on into the fall, has so far been all about the fine details. What’s being overlooked, however, is the bigger picture. The “confidential schedules” of Sen. Mike Duffy, as they are grandly labelled, provide an unparalleled glimpse into the inner workings of Stephen Harper’s government and Canadian political life. One in which the protagonist is no ordinary senator, but rather a star fundraiser, electoral strategist, media manipulator and cabinet confidant. And who, by the time he tumbled from grace in early 2013, was one of the more important figures in Ottawa, wading into major files, stickhandling government appointments and dashing off memos to the Prime Minister.

    ”Mr. Harper wouldn’t have his majority without Mike Duffy. Who else was in 90 ridings?” asks Garry Guzzo, a self-described Tory “warhorse” and former Ontario MPP, referencing the run-up to 2011 campaign. “The people he stumped for definitely know it.

    Whether the senator was elevated or enabled, depends on who you ask. (Guzzo’s name appears a dozen times in the desk agendas, attached to dinners, “duty entertainment” drinks, and teleconferences on subjects like the RCMP and robocalls.) But the diaries make one thing perfectly clear: appointed as a Conservative foot soldier, Duffy had all the dreams and ambitions of a commanding general.Fame, at least in its Canadian incarnation, should never be confused with glamour. After 35 years as a television news fixture, first with the CBC and later CTV, Mike Duffy had achieved coast-to-coast recognition, and the Senate seat he long coveted. But it would be hard to accuse him of having airs. “Cocktails with PM @24 Sussex,” reads his agenda entry for the early evening of Jan. 21, 2009. Then, two hours later: “Heather picks up MD @24 dinner Swiss [Chalet].

    Those looking for evidence of a swanky lifestyle in Duffy’s diaries are likely to be disappointed. Over four years, he dines at Baton Rouge, a Quebec-Ontario chain of barbecue restaurants more than 40 times, including on an Easter Sunday. (The Keg was reserved for Valentine’s Day.) There are 24 meals at East Side Mario’s, and more than 20 at “Swiss,” and comparatively few trips to Ottawa power spots like Hy’s Steakhouse and Mamma Teresa. Although the senator took full advantage of the taxpayer-subsidized parliamentary restaurant, and ran a healthy tab at the private Rideau Club, where he has been a member since the early 1970s.

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    What appears to matter more to Duffy is access. The diary makes note of virtually all his interactions with Stephen Harper PMSH and his minions. From a February 2009 prime ministerial telephone call to discuss the “Ghiz controversy,” to a reception at 24 Sussex to fete an Ezra Levant book, to the smallest morsels of praise. “National caucus: MD gets 4 positive mentions for speeches in MP’s ridings,” reads an entry on April 22, 2009.

    In return for the peek behind the curtain, the party got an experienced and enthusiastic pitch man, with plenty of connections of his own. A Duffy stopover in Winnipeg was an occasion to have breakfast with talk radio host Charles Adler. A trip to Vancouver meant lunch with CKNW’s Bill Good, dinner with former Reform MP John Reynolds, and a meeting the next day with premier Gordon Campbell about “fed-prov relations.” (Ever the busman, Duffy packed two party fundraisers, dinner with his daughter Miranda and an evening watching his lawyer son-in-law act in an amateur Shakespeare production into the same voyage.)

    In the fall of 2009 and spring of 2010, there are phone conversations with Bob Dodd, an Ontario media broker, and Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair and expat Canadian. The subject is The New Yorker, another Condé Nast magazine. When Duffy and Heather travel to New York City in April, there are drinks with Carter and dinners at the Monkey Bar, “Roast chicken, baked salmon, lettice [sic] wedge,” and the Waverly Inn, “Pork Chop Chicken Pot pie pea soup,” two of the three Manhattan restaurants Carter co-owns. Three months later, just before the G8 and G20 summits in Muskoka and Toronto, The New Yorker unveils an edition where every ad from governments, tourism agencies and financial institutions touts Canada. The deal, wrangled by Dodd, is said to be worth more than US$1.1 million.

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    Sometimes it can appear that Duffy is a little too ready to pick up the phone and trade on his name. In April 2009, he logs a phone conversation “re: Mulro” with Richard Wolson, then the lead counsel for the Oliphant commission, an independent public inquiry Harper had convened to look into the business dealings between former prime minister Brian Mulroney and arms and aircraft lobbyist Karlheinz Schreiber. Wolson, now back in private practice in Winnipeg, says it was Duffy who reached out to him twice. “I called him back but he didn’t have information of value,” he says. “It was more of a rant than anything else. It was disjointed. I didn’t understand exactly what he was saying.” Wolson invited the senator to meet with him and his colleagues, but it never happened.

    Related: Paul Wells interviews Brian Mulroney

    Justice Jeffrey Oliphant’s report, delivered in May 2010, concluded that Mulroney had acted in an “inappropriate” way, and tried to conceal that he had taken at least $225,000 in cash-stuffed envelopes from Schreiber. But by that time, the rapprochement between the Tories and the former Progressive Conservative leader was well under way, with Duffy playing a leading role. In September 2009, he was among several senior Conservatives who attended a Montreal celebration marking the 25th anniversary of Mulroney’s 1984 election victory. (Stephen Harper did not attend; Laureen Harper did.) A diary entry from March 2012 blacked out with marker by Duffy—but still legible—details a lunch at the Rideau Club with the once-PM and two of his ex-lieutenants, Bill Pristanski and Derek Burney. Mulroney preached on the “dangers of the PQ” and the need for “something big” in Harper’s agenda, “ie: hemispheric trade.” Afterwards, Duffy writes a note to “PMSH” about the meeting. And in another inexpertly blacked-out entry, he records handing the note to the Prime Minister at a caucus meeting the next day. (In all, the senator, or someone under his direction, tried to black or white out 184 diary entries. Some were clearly thought to be controversial, while others are mundane, or in the case of the notations about his weight 429 in total embarrassing.)

    The diaries also demonstrate that Duffy was never shy about inserting himself into delicate issues during his time in the Senate. In late June 2010, Richard Fadden, then the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, set off a stink bomb by telling the CBC that the spy agency was watching several politicians and government officials who it believed were under control of foreign countries and that the PMO was being kept in the loop. The Harper government quickly denied having any such knowledge, and the spy chief was forced to backtrack. Enter Mike Duffy. “MD calls Richard Fadden @CSIS re” PMO rexn,” says an entry from July 7.

    Bill Elliott, who began his Ottawa career as a political staffer in the Mulroney government, then spent 15 years as a senior civil servant before becoming the first civilian to head the RCMP, was in frequent contact with Duffy. In August 2009, while visiting P.E.I., the RCMP commissioner stopped by 10 Friendly Lane for drinks, and the next evening, along with his wife, daughter and an aide-de-camp, joined the Duffys for a lobster supper in New Glasgow. A year later, when the CBC reported that senior RCMP officers were complaining about Elliott’s “abusive” and “insulting” management style, the senator took note of the negative story in his diary and tried to do something about it. On July 29, 2010, he held a teleconference with Supt. Paul Bateman, the commissioner’s chief of staff, and a few days later cornered “PMSH” after caucus to discuss “RCMP staff relations; & Bill Elliott.

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    At times, Duffy appears to have engaged in his own intelligence-gathering operations for the Conservatives. “Telecon [then immigration minister] Jason Kenney re: gossip on Ruby Dhalla,” reads a partially blacked-out entry from May 10, 2009. (A few days earlier, the Toronto Star had reported allegations that the Liberal party’s immigration critic had illegally employed and mistreated two foreign nannies.) That July, Duffy met up with an old friend: Cliff Mackay, president and CEO of the Railway Association of Canada on Parliament Hill. The lobbyist filled him in on a “Liberal plan to offer hi speed train in their platform,” almost a month before reports of Michael Ignatieff’s vision for a Quebec-Windsor bullet train surfaced in the media.

    But Duffy’s more accustomed role was to plant and nurture stories with his former colleagues in the Ottawa press gallery. The stakes were low in the beginning. In early December 2009, Duffy records tattle about a meeting between Bob Rae and “dissident” MPs at the Château Laurier, all unhappy with Michael Ignatieff’s leadership. A few days later, there’s a note that one of his closest friends, Angelo Persichilli—who, with Duffy’s help, will soon become the PMO’s director of communications—has broken the Rae news in his weekly Toronto Star column.

    Sometimes the line between the tidbit and its source is even more explicit. In February 2010, Duffy writes “MD alerts Bob Fife about [Parliamentary] recess.” But he is clearly upset when another former CTV colleague, Tom Clark, “outs Mike” as the informer on Power Play. Within hours, Duffy convenes a teleconference with Fife and Bob Hurst, then CTV’s president of news and current affairs to complain about Clark’s faux-pas.

    The launch of Sun News a right-wing cable network run by Kory Teneycke, the PMO’s former communications director made the business of placing stories much simpler and more collegial. Duffy logs a call to soon-to-be-shouting-head Ezra Levant about a “Quebecor all-news channel” the day before the unveiling of the concept on June 15, 2010, and quickly starts meeting with some of the reporters it has hired. In the ensuing months, he speaks to a CRTC commissioner about the channel, and discusses how it fits into election strategy with Tory MPs. Duffy was a regular on-air guest after Sun News started broadcasting during the 2011 election campaign. And Levant stopped by his home in Ottawa for dinner that fall, apparently killing with his “Mary Walsh – Rob Ford” impression. (Levant disputes Maclean’s interpretation of that diary entry, saying it refers to a performance he gave on TV, and he has never dined with Duffy.) It was a close enough partnership that when Ottawa Citizen journalist Glen McGregor started asking pointed questions about the accounting for the senator’s travel during the election, Duffy reached out to Sun TV’s Brian Lilley to report on the reporter.

    Indeed, throughout 2012, the network and Duffy appear to be pulling together when it comes to allegations that Canadian environmental charities are receiving foreign funding for their campaigns against Alberta’s oil sands. In a partially redacted diary entry from early January, Duffy notes a teleconference with a senior adviser to the president of Enbridge Inc., an Ottawa pollster, and Vivian Krause, a Vancouver blogger who has persistently raised questions about the motivations and money behind movements to halt things like salmon farming and the Keystone XL pipeline. Later the same day, the senator emails the agent who handles his speaking engagements, and a prominent Vancouver lawyer and Conservative stalwart “re: helping Vivian Krause.” Then he reaches out to Levant about the blogger. Krause, who was already a frequent Sun News guest, ended up testifying before both the Commons natural resource committee and the national finance committee that year, meeting Duffy face-to-face on three occasions and speaking with him twice more on the phone. On May 10, 2012, he paid tribute to her on the Senate floor during a debate on the charities. Last month, after the Vancouver Observer published a web story on Krause and Duffy, and other bloggers started posting questions about the diary entries, she took to Twitter to defend herself. “Mr. Duffy did not get me any speaking gigs, nor any form of income/payment/funding whatsoever,” Krause wrote.

    The senator’s most brazen attempt to shape the news, however, came during the fall of 2011. On Sept. 15, in the midst of a P.E.I. election, the Globe and Mail published a front-page story about calls for an RCMP probe into allegations that hundreds of Chinese immigrants had bought their way into Canada via an Island investment program. The paper’s exceedingly rare dip into the politics of the country’s smallest province had Duffy’s prints all over it. Three days before the story broke he discussed the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) with a Conservative election candidate, and then swiftly arranged a conference call between her and the Globe‘s Bill Curry. In the following days, Duffy’s diaries record more conversations with the reporter, documents he has obtained on Curry’s behalf, and efforts to arrange interviews. When the Charlottetown Guardian approached Curry about his story and Duffy’s involvement this April, he said he would not discuss issues related to its sourcing.

    The splashy allegations ended up having little impact on the provincial election, which the incumbent Liberals won handily, 22 seats to five for the Tories. But Duffy didn’t give up. His diary shows two conversations about the program with Bill Elliott, who was counting down his final days as RCMP commissioner. (The force launched an investigation that lasted more than three years before closing in January 2015, with no charges laid.) And there’s an entry reminding him to “print emails for Dick Fadden” of CSIS. A few days later, on Oct. 31, 2011, Duffy picked up the PNP documents at Jiffy Print. Invoice #5690, entered into evidence at his trial, shows 120 copies of emails were made at a cost of $6, along with an additional $2.50 for spiral binding and a clear plastic cover, plus federal and provincial sales tax. The invoice is addressed to the senator, care of a company owned by his friend Gerald Donohue, and was allegedly paid in full with taxpayer dollars.

    Sen. Duffy’s tour as a Tory fundraiser

    The height of Mike Duffy, the pinnacle before the fall, came over 38 days in early 2011. During the federal election campaign, the senator was everywhere, from the Conservative war room to a Friday night cribbage tournament in Norman Wells, N.W.T. Duffy recorded radio commercials, and “demon dialler” phone messages to urge the faithful out to rallies, mainstreeted in Moncton and shook hands at the Legion in Sackville, N.B. In four years, his diary mentions at least 117 flights on Air Canada, plus two on WestJet.

    He was the Tories’ not-so-secret weapon; a guy people actually wanted to meet and snap a selfie with. Prime Minister Harper invited him aboard the campaign bus for a swing through the Greater Toronto Area in early April, and met up with him again for a rally on May 1 in P.E.I. Duffy’s agenda for an April 28 stop in Toronto records five campaign events (including lunch at a kosher deli with Joe Oliver), two media appearances, three fundraisers and a 1 a.m. return to Ottawa. It was a typical day.

    Back in the capital, the day after Harper’s majority victory, Duffy joined foreign minister John Baird and other heavy-hitters for a pizza party at 24 Sussex. MPs were calling him to see if he had any information on a cabinet shuffle. Duffy went for “duty entertainment” drinks with his friend Garry Guzzo, charging the bill to his Senate Visa, and followed up the next day with a “duty” lunch at the Rideau Club with his old buddy Cliff Mackay. Bob Fife called from Florida with news that a nemesis from his CTV days and ex-girlfriend of defence minister Peter MacKay had been fired. When the cabinet was named on May 18, Duffy noted that his P.E.I. political frenemy, Gail Shea, had been “demoted” from fisheries minister to national revenue. Everything was coming up roses.

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    Duffy was put in charge of vetting the candidates to replace P.E.I.’s outgoing lieutenant-governor, drafting memos for Harper’s new chief of staff, Nigel Wright, and media lines for other PMO staff. Reading between the lines of the diary, it’s clear that he was functioning as the Island’s political boss. Despite having lived in Ottawa for 40 years, the senator had a strong desire to shape outcomes in his home province. Back in the summer of 2010, he had even tried to recruit former NHL coach and current Sportsnet analyst Doug MacLean, to run for the leadership of the Island Tories. (”I said I live in Florida. Can I do the job from there?” MacLean recalls.) And now he had some pull to go along with the ambition.

    On Oct. 26, 2011, Duffy logs a lunch in the parliamentary restaurant with Island Conservative Leo Walsh “who wants wife reappointed to VRAB [Veteran’s Review and Appeal Board].” Joan Walsh, a nurse with a background in mental health issues, was reappointed to the board a year later.

    In May 11, 2012, there’s a meeting in Charlottetown with Jessie Inman and Wayne Hambly, the CEO and chair, respectively, of the city’s Confederation Centre “re approach to take with [heritage minister] James Moore on funding for renovations; (remove oil sands photos).” The meeting took place two weeks later, and Duffy followed up with Moore at an end of the month. There were more discussions with Inman that fall. And finally, on April 12, 2013, a visit to Charlottetown by Moore to announce $9 million in federal and provincial funding for the Centre’s “capital improvements.

    The diaries show Duffy’s reach continuing to grow as the senator involves himself in the debate about Enbridge Inc.’s plans to expand its Line 9 pipeline in eastern Canada and build a new Northern Gateway link in the west. He reaches out to James Blanchard, the former U.S. ambassador to Canada, and member of the pipeline firm’s board, and Steve Wuori, a strategic adviser to its president, offering advice and suggestions. A blacked out entry from Feb. 17, 2012, reads: “PM asks  Send me a note’ on Enbridge Line #9 problems.” In early March, Duffy cornered Joe Oliver, then minister of natural resources, at caucus and suggested two candidates for the National Energy Board (NEB), which reviews pipeline applications ex-Calgary journalist Joan Crockatt, and Jamie Ballem, a former P.E.I. environment minister. (Crockatt won a Calgary by-election later that year and is now a Tory MP. Ballem was appointed to the NEB on Oct. 12, 2012.) And in April 2012, there’s another redacted entry, “MD speaks to PM re: Enbridge Gateway pipeline.” On May 4, Duffy notes that his friend Bill Rodgers a former Global TV journalist and ex-adviser to Peter Kent, then the environment minister for whom he was desperately trying to find a job, met with Enbridge at the Chateau Laurier. In April, a company official told the CBC that all contacts with Duffy were “unsolicited” and that they took pains to notify the PMO that the senator was not representing them or their interests.

    Mike Duffy

    But even as Duffy’s sphere of influence expanded, there were signs of trouble. An entry from Feb. 6, 2012, reads “Call Nicole Proulx @ Senate admin re travel at holiday period.” The senator’s expense claim for a trip to Vancouver over the New Year, with business-class airfare for himself and Heather, had raised eyebrows. A sheet attached to the travel claim, which has also been submitted into evidence, summarizes Duffy’s explanation. “Senator Duffy had a number of meetings scheduled in Vancouver over the Christmas period. He indicated that the travel took place during that period as it is not possible for him when the Senate is sitting and it was the best opportunity to meet with all parties,” says the note. Duffy, it adds, met with a “senior VP … and a group of businessmen on economy, trade and pipeline.

    The diaries indicate that Duffy rang in the New Year with his son and daughter and their spouses in Vancouver. On Jan. 2, he went for a “haircut and shopping,” and a dinner with Andrew Saxton, the Tory MP for North Vancouver, “et al” at the Keg, totalling $400. On Jan. 3, he logs a lunch with the MP’s father, Andrew Saxton Sr., chairman of King George Financial Corporation at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club “re: upcoming federal budget.” Later, he read Bud the Spud to his grandson Colin.

    The tricky divide between Duffy’s personal and political life is on view the following week as well, when his friend Cliff Mackay lets him know that he is in palliative care at Kingston General Hospital. Duffy takes a train to visit him, the next afternoon, Jan. 9, 2012. Via Rail travel is free for all senators and parliamentarians under a pass system, but Duffy’s diary notes the $20 in cab fare each way between the station and hospital. And the entry about his dying pal, sandwiched in-between, is surprisingly business-like. “Meet Cliff Mackey [sic] of Cdn Railway Assn in Kingston, re IRBs [Industrial and Regional Benefits]; Enbridge pipeline.” It’s not clear if Duffy ever sought reimbursement for the taxis.

    Before his suspension, Duffy was earning $132,000 a year as a senator. The diary notes him filling out the forms to begin claiming his CBC pension in late 2011, just in advance of his 65th birthday. Over his four years in the upper chamber, the former journalist also gave, or wrote, more than a dozen paid speeches, earning $10,000 a pop. It was, by any standard, a very comfortable living.

    There are other stories that can be decoded from the diary. Some are amusing, like the “explosive” repercussions of garlic cabbage rolls, which can be traced to a speech made by Diane Finley, then the human resources and skill development minister, at a German banquet hall. Others are sad. Stemming from entries about the senator’s many health problems, the decline and death of his aged mother, or his relationship with his adult children. What is missing, however, is the one that Canadians probably care the most about. The agendas that have been entered into evidence stop at the end of 2012, leaving to the imagination what Duffy might have recorded about the frantic, behind-the-scenes efforts to save his job over the first months of 2013.

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    The senator must still have them. And perhaps his lawyer intends to use them as a guideline for the defence when Nigel Wright and other PMO players take the stand this summer.

    Although there is another possibility. Back in October 2009, Duffy logged a call from Rick Broadhead, a Toronto literary agent, about “Project 2010.” And during the 2011 election campaign there’s a note that MD discussed a “book project with Bill Deverill [sic].” Reached via email, the B.C. author, who had met Duffy years before in Ottawa, says he remembers the encounter, a chance meeting in the departure lounge at the Yellowknife airport. Their 8:45 a.m. flight was delayed for a couple of hours, so they went to the bar. “He explained he was under strict doctor’s orders not to imbibe, but we may have had one or two. And on the flight he immediately ordered his first double,” Deverell wrote. “Somehow we got on to the subject of my helping with a biography or memoir.” Afterwards, there was an exchange of emails where Deverell advised him to start dictating, but that was the end of it.

    Reached in Toronto, Rick Broadhead was cagey about the project, refusing to say whether it is still active. But sources within the publishing industry say that a proposal for a Duffy book was circulated last year after the scandal broke. There was no sample of the writing, and so far, no one has purchased the rights. It’s not even clear if the senator envisions it as his life and times, or a political tell-all.

    The only other clue comes in a diary entry from Jan. 1, 2010, which provides a working title. While on a Caribbean cruise, after his lunch of pizza and milk, Mike Duffy put aside some time to create. “MD writes first draft pitch for Implosion,” it says.

    An earlier version of this article misstated the date of a phone call between Ezra Levant and Mike Duffy, as well as the name of the caller. In fact, the Duffy diaries show Duffy called Ezra Levant on June 15, 2010. A rebuttal from Ezra Levant about another diary entry has also been included in this updated version.

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