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Senator Doug Finley photograph during an interview in his office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. (Dave Chan for The Globe and Mail/Dave Chan for The Globe and Mail)
Senator Doug Finley photograph during an interview in his office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. (Dave Chan for The Globe and Mail/Dave Chan for The Globe and Mail)

The annotated Tory senatorial Twitter barrage Add to ...

Doug Finley officially joined the "twitterverse" last Thursday using the Twitter handle "@SenatorFinley" - "140 characters puts a whole new meaning to 30 second soundbite!" he wrote in his very first tweet.

It was time, the Conservative senator had decided, to speak out on issues after so many years in the backrooms avoiding public comment as Stephen Harper's key strategist and campaign manager in the 2006 and 2008 election campaigns.

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And there is precedent in the Harper ranks for tweeting - Industry Minister Tony Clement tweets constantly. He's even announced policy over Twitter.

Ironically, Mr. Finley embraced the social networking tool - which sends out information unfiltered - the day it was revealed that Elections Canada had laid charges against him and three other senior Harper Conservatives for "willfully" exceeding spending limits in the so-called "in-and-out" financing scheme during the 2006 election campaign.

Mr. Finley's Twitter account suddenly went silent. Later, he explained he was not avoiding public comment. Rather, he was undergoing his third round of chemo treatments for colon cancer and was unable to tweet.

He has since made up for it. On Wednesday night, he lit up the Twitter universe with a series of informative and pointed tweets, defending the Prime Minister on the financing scheme, criticizing the opposition and responding to fellow twitterers.

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