Mike Duffy appeals ruling blocking him from suing Senate for suspension

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OTTAWA — Sen. Mike Duffy is asking Ontario’s Court of Appeal to overturn a decision blocking him from suing the Senate for millions of dollars over his dramatic and protracted suspension without pay more than five years ago.

Last month, Justice Sally Gomery ruled the Senate’s decision to suspend Duffy is protected by parliamentary privilege — a centuries-old right designed to protect legislators from having to answer to judges for doing their jobs.

The appeal Duffy’s lawyers filed today says the ruling erred in law on a number of fronts, and essentially equates parliamentary privilege with immunity.

Duffy is asking the appeal court to set aside Gomery’s ruling and order the Senate to cover his legal costs.

Duffy is seeking $7.8 million in damages in the wake of the high-profile investigation of his expense claims, which culminated in his acquittal on 31 criminal charges in 2016.

His claim against the Senate alleges “an unprecedented abuse of power” when a majority of senators voted to suspend him without pay in November 2013, before any criminal charges had been filed.

The Canadian Press