I've known Mike Duffy for three decades.
Drank with him. Dined with him. Travelled with him.
Duff is one of my favorite people of all time.
He was always kind to me when others weren't.
He was generous to a fault.
When our good friend Annette Leger died a few years back, Duffy offered to throw a wake in the Parliamentary Restaurant -- on him. Nobody questioned where the money came from.
It was the kind of thing that happened on the Hill all the time.
Old School. The Gus Cloutier way of doing things.
In retrospect, it explains a lot.
Playing loose and fast with the public purse used to be the way things were done on Parliament Hill. Wonderful Wednesdays in ministers' offices. Posh Christmas parties.
Next to free meals, dry cleaning and hair cuts.
The Press Gallery was right in there, lapping up the canapes and swilling cheap beer out of a vending machine in the "hot room". Reporters also benefited from free phones, offices, supplies and parking.
Duffy was part of that culture, too.
But times have changed.
Reporters, for the most part, pay their own way.
MPs and Senators are expected to account for their doins'.
There is greater scrutiny of who's hand is in the public purse.
Guess nobody remembered to tell Duffy.
Now he has to answer to these folks.