The judge of the High Court in Ontario has dismissed Mike Duffy's $ 8 million lawsuit against the Canadian Senate, claiming that the Red Chair and its members are protected by a parliamentary privilege, which makes them immune from such judicial review.
The decision is a blow to Duffy, who still represents P.E.I. in the Senate – because he demanded some financial compensation for his bruise, a long-standing battle, to cleanse his name after charges of improper spending.
"Allowing the court to reconsider the relevant decisions of the panel would hinder the ability of the panel to act as an independent legislative body, equally to other government authorities," Judge Sally Gomery wrote in her decision, which was announced on Friday.
"Since the disputed activities fall into those measures which are protected by the parliamentary privilege, I can not consider whether they were wrong or unfair or even contrary to the rights of Senator Duffy's Charter. All these are the findings that the Senate and the Senate alone can do . "
After being confirmed by the judge for the criminal offense in 2016, Duffy began his lawsuit against the Senate and claimed that the body had passed on to his constitutional rights when he committed an ugly crime for a scandal over the questionable costs of the panel.
At the heart of his accusation was the assertion that the actions of both the strong committee for the internal economy of the Senate – the administrative body, which essentially regulates the chamber and its members, known as the CIBA – and the Writing Chamber, were grossly unlawful and dishonest.
He demanded disciplinary action against him, which was postponed from his body and waived his salaries and wages, while his criminal proceedings were in progress, were "no case of abuse of power" and the same as expulsion.
The parliamentary privilege is "clearly in place": the judge
Attorneys for the upper house have been put before the court, the senate should be allowed to run their own affairs. They also said that senators could administer sanctions against a colleague who participated in this body, without fear of judicial interference.
Gomery, the judge hearing Duffy's lawsuit, agreed and said that the privilege "apparently applies" to decisions on temporary abandonment.
In her written decision, which was issued on Friday, she stated that it would be inappropriate to continue Duffy's action in the light of the broad constitutional protection that applies to the Senate on the basis of the long-standing principle of parliamentary privilege that exempts Parliament from action by the court.
Gomery said that while Duffy claims that he will not have any "significant remedy", if the court rejects his case, he can not overlook the "constitutional requirements" that oblige him to respect parliamentary privilege.
A special action against the RCMP for other alleged violations of the Charter is still pending before the courts.
In a joint statement, Sabi Marwah, the current president of the CIBA and the deputy chairman of conservative senator Denise Batters and the liberal senate, Jim Munson, said they were "satisfied" with the court's decision.
"This judgment of the Supreme Court in Ontario supports the position of the Senate that all of its actions, which respected the suspension of Senator Duffy, were protected by a parliamentary privilege, and therefore the courts can not consider the exercise of privilege and determine whether the Senate is responsible for these actions.
"The parliamentary privilege ensures that parliamentary and legislative assemblies have the degree of autonomy that enables them and their members to perform their legislative and consultative work in a dignified and effective manner. It is one of the ways in which the fundamental constitutional separation of powers is respected."
Lawrence Greenspon, Duffy's lawyer, said on Friday that the judge had based his "century-old" concept of parliamentary privilege in order to decide that protection in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not apply to senators.
"This is an important issue, and with Senate Duffy I will take the time needed to review the decision, and consider our options," he said.
"Today's decision does not affect the senator's action against RCMP, which continues."