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Harper says all senators meet residency rule

OTTAWA - Stephen Harper says all senators meet the constitutional requirement that they must reside in the provinces they were appointed to represent.

The prime minister says those requirements have been clear for 150 years and that all senators were appointed on that basis.

His categorical assertion comes amid a furor over the alleged misuse of a housing allowance meant to compensate senators who keep a secondary residence in the capital.

The expenses scandal has mushroomed into a broader issue of whether several Conservative senators — Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Dennis Patterson — are entitled to sit in the Senate at all.

Questions have been raised as to whether they spend sufficient time in their home provinces or territory to meet the constitutional residency requirement.

The Constitution does not define what is meant by "resident."

Patterson, whose housing expenses are being examined by a Senate committee, says he's confident he's complied with all the rules.

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