Nestled behind a layer of trees, Senator Mike Duffy’s cottage is barely visible from Morgan and Debbie Eisenhaur’s year-round residence on the north shore of Canada’s smallest province.
While Duffy’s residence is just a small, snow-covered field away, the Eisenhaurs have never met their neighbour, who is one of three senators in the midst of an audit involving their residency declarations and related expenses.
Aside from never having bumped into Duffy in the community — either during the busy summer months or in the long, cold winter — the Eisenhaurs said the dirt lane leading to his cottage and several others is not maintained during the off-season months.
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Duffy and his wife, Heather, who also own a home in Kanata, Ont., get garbage collection only six months of the year at their Cavendish residence.
They are listed as non-residents and pay 50 per cent more land taxes than someone classified as an Island resident. To qualify for the lower tax rate on P.E.I., property owners must reside in the province for 183 consecutive days.
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If Duffy wanted to live in Cavendish year-round, it wouldn’t be hard, the couple added.
Despite largely being a resort municipality that swells to a population of thousands in the summer, the provincial government lists 266 residents as living in the area all year, including during snowstorms.
“We just wait it out,” said Morgan, pointing out that nearby Rustico has all the necessities required to live year-round, including a grocery store, gas station, several restaurants and a liquor store.
At the closest local coffee shop in Rustico, several patrons laughed when asked if they had ever seen Duffy in the area.
“Never,” said one Cavendish resident who asked to remain anonymous.