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Special to The Globe and Mail

Last week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper repeated over and over that if anyone doubted whether Senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau should be suspended without pay, they had only to imagine what would happen in a private company.

It was a strong sound bite, and lit up his backbench, who at that point were desperate for any kind of vigorous counter-attack, but it may not be the best analogy to stick with. Here are some reasons why.

In a private company, if an employee had asked superiors whether they were in compliance with policy and had been reassured that they were, they might at least have an argument that the company was complicit in the wrongful act.

If some (very few, up to 13?) company superiors were aware of or conspired in assembling money and concocting falsehoods to obscure unethical behaviour, well…at the very least, the company would want to ensure that justice was not just swift, but fair, and shared among all those who played a role.

If any of that sounds like a defence of Mike Duffy, it’s not.

Mr. Duffy acknowledged participating in acts that were unethical, including lying to Canadians about what he did.

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