June 11, 2013 – At the scandal’s centre is a Canadian senator, Mike Duffy, who claimed primary residence outside of Ottawa in order to receive living expenses corresponding to $90,172. After investigation a senate committee denied these claims and Mr Duffy had to reburse the money. He involved the Prime Minister’s Office whose Chief of Staff, Nigel Wright, wrote a personal cheque on this sum for Mr Duffy. That much to the background.
After these events newspaper satirist Dan Murphy drew a cartoon depicting a Canadian banknote with a face value of $90,000 and the portrait of Mr Duffy; Mr Wright appeared also as security feature (a winking hologram portrait).
The Bank of Canada wrote a letter complaining about this cartoon stating that the satirist had not asked permission to reproduce a banknote and saying that ‘the bank will not approve requests where the reproduction tarnishes or diminishes the importance of currency to Canadians.’
This sounded rather odd in the ears of many. The Calgary Herald asked ironically: ‘When did the Bank of Canada move its head office to Iran?’ As the journalist states the redrawing of a banknote for artistic purpose of satire is not at all prohibited and does not require any permission by the bank. As the website ArtThreat put it: ‘Either the Bank of Canada has really terrible lawyers, or the Harper Government is continuing to pull every string they can in an attempt to make Duffygate disappear.’
You can find the Calgary Herald article here.
ArtThreat reported on this case here.
And on CBC news you can also find an animated version of the (satirical) banknote, a photo of the Bank of Canada letter, and a statement by law professor Ariel Katz.
The cartoon takes as model the new $50 polymer banknote. More information about the new banknotes give the Bank of Canada.