Thursday, February 13, 2014

Milkus Duffius/Wallinus departus!

Good Day Readers:

With Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin no longer giving public speeches, they'll no longer be able to regale taxpaying voters with tales from the senate crypt for thousand dollars. Rats!

"Good riddance!"

Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk
Duffy, Wallin no longer on speaking circuit

Glen McGregor
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Q: What do Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and suspended Conservative senators Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin have in common?

A: They no longer get paid for speaking events.

A bit more than a year ago, Duffy and Wallin were listed as speakers-for-hire with the Speakers’ Spotlight , a leading booking agency.

Duffy’s fee, one agency reported, was $8,000 for a local event, more if he had to travel out of town.

Back then, he offered paying clients ”a must-have primer on the key political issues of the day” and ” the latest buzz from ‘inside Ottawa’ with rollicking political humour, to provide a unique and memorable presentation you won’t want to miss.”

Now that Duffy and Wallin are both under investigation by the RCMP over expense claims, their profiles have vanished from the company’s website. Duffy also had a profile listed with the National Speakers Bureau, but it’s gone, too.

It’s too, bad, really, because now more than ever we’d like to hear from the two senators. And they could probably use the money.

Trudeau’s profile is also gone — he stopped taking paid gigs when he ran for leadership of the Liberal Party — but one can still book other members of Clan Trudeau:  his wife Sophie, brother Alexandre and mother Margaret are all available for prices starting at $5,000.

At least two other parliamentarians, Conservative Senators Jacques Demers and Larry Smith, are still listed.

For old time’s sake, here’s the Citizen story on senator speaking. Note: Wallin had claimed at the time of the story that she had taken paid speaking work since becoming a senator in 2009. It was later revealed that this claim was not — how you say? — “true.” She later admitted she had spoken to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario for a $10,000 fee.
Senators cash in on the speakers circuit; Tories Duffy, Demers, Smith offer their services
Ottawa Citizen
Thursday, December 6, 2012 (Page: A1)
Byline: Glen McGregor

Three Conservative senators are offering their services as speakers-for-hire through agencies that book public figures to speak at conventions and conferences.

Senators Larry Smith, Jacques Demers and Mike Duffy are all listed with the Speakers’ Spotlight agency and have online profiles that reference their positions in the Senate. The agency’s website does not provide exact amounts the senators charge, but lists their profiles among speakers with fees between $5,000 and $10,000 per event.

A phone agent from Speakers’ Spotlight said Duffy’s standard fee for an Ottawa event is $8,000 and increases for longer appearances.

Duffy and Smith are also promoted by another agency, the National Speakers Bureau.

The Senate Ethics Office says senators can accept honorariums for speaking as long as they are not invited to speak as senators and their speeches are “clearly unrelated to (their) parliamentary duties.”

Duffy’s profile identifies him as “a Canadian Senator and former Canadian television journalist,” and says he “provides delegates with a must-have primer on the key political issues of the day.” He “combines the latest buzz from ‘inside Ottawa’ with rollicking political humour, to provide a unique and memorable presentation you won’t want to miss,” the profile says.

“Everything I do on the public appearance circuit (very little) is with the knowledge and approval of the Ethics Counsellor,” Duffy said in an email.

Duffy did not respond to requests for more information.

His profiles feature testimonials from an electrical company called IED Limited Partnership and the Canadian Paint and Coatings Association (CPCA), a trade group.

According to a program booklet, Duffy was scheduled as a guest luncheon speaker at a CPCA conference intended to encourage collaboration between the paint industry and government, in May 2009, after he was elevated to the Senate by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

It is unclear if Duffy was paid to speak at this conference, where then-Environment Minister Jim Prentice, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq and senior bureaucrats were also invited to speak.

Smith, the former Commissioner of the Canadian Football League, is available to speak about topics such as “strategic vision” and “managing change,” according to one of his profiles.

He has testimonials from a sales group from TVA, the Lord Reading Law Society and biotech trade association BioQuebec, which hired him to speak in 2007, several years before his first term in the Senate.

Smith later stepped down from the Senate, ran and lost in the 2011 election, and was subsequently reappointed to the Senate by Harper.

Demers, the former Head Coach of the Montreal Canadiens, was named to the Senate by Harper in 2009. His Speakers’ Spotlight profile says he talks about teamwork, leadership and overcoming adversity. Demers is an active advocate for literacy.

He has an endorsement from Holstein Canada, an agricultural trade organization whose annual convention he addressed in 2010.

Smith did not respond to requests for comment and Demers’ office referred inquiries to the Senate Ethics Officer.

Asked about the rules for private speaking engagements, the Senate Ethics Office cited an excerpt from its 2010-11 report that said senators could accept honorariums for speaking at conferences under certain circumstances.

“If the senator was invited as a senator and his participation relates to his parliamentary duties and responsibilities, the honorarium may not be accepted,” the report said.

“However, if the senator was not invited as a senator, he may accept an honorarium if the speech is clearly unrelated to his parliamentary duties (i.e. given in connection with his outside or professional activities) and the honorarium cannot reasonably be seen to have been given to influence the senator.”

The report cited “leadership and motivation, sports/athletics, negotiation and conflict resolution” as examples of acceptable topics.

“In case of doubt, the Senate Ethics Officer should be consulted.”

Senators are paid $132,300 in base annual salaries, plus expenses.

Speakers’ Spotlight had listed Liberal MP and leadership candidate Justin Trudeau, but has since removed his profile from its website. In 2010, his profile identified him as an education, environment and youth advocate. His brother, Alexandre, mother Margaret and wife Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau are still listed on the agency’s website.

Another Harper Senate appointee, former broadcast journalist Pamela Wallin, is also listed with Speakers’ Spotlight, though her profile does not mention the Senate.

“I have not charged for any speeches since joining the Senate and they are all arranged through my office,” Wallin said in an email.

“On some occasions, some groups want to offer a token honorarium, and I have them send the money directly to Military Families Fund. As a cancer survivor, sometimes it is directed to cancer research.”

Liberal Senator Romeo Dallaire is also listed with the National Speakers Bureau. His Business Manager says Dallaire doesn’t charge to speak.

“When he is able to accept these engagements, it is understood by the clients that he clearly does so as Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire (Retired) and at no time as Senator Dallaire,” David Hyman said in an email.

Hyman says Dallaire already had a speaker profile when he was called to the Senate.

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