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Senate scandal: The latest on Wright, Duffy and the PMO

Former chief of staff Wright denies any wrongdoing


 

OTTAWA – The prime minister’s chief of staff went to Stephen Harper for approval of a secret plan that would have seen the Conservative party repay Mike Duffy’s contested expenses and whitewash a Senate report, new RCMP documents suggest.

When the party balked at the ultimate total of Duffy’s $90,000 bill, however, Nigel Wright stepped in to pay the bill himself — apparently without Harper’s knowledge. Harper has called that a “deception.”

But emails included in Wednesday’s explosive new RCMP court filings quote Wright as getting a green light from Harper when the original plan was to have the party pay. The plan was to be kept entirely secret.

“I do want to speak to the PM before everything is considered final,” Wright wrote in one February dispatch.

An hour later, he followed up: “We are good to go from the PM…”

Asked late Wednesday whether the prime minister was asked in February to approve such a plan, Jason MacDonald, a spokeman for Harper, offered a one-word answer: “No.”

The 80-page court filing provides an unprecedented look into the months of discussions that took place inside the Prime Minister’s Office and the Senate on how to deal with the Duffy problem.

In several cases, the documents illustrate senators and staff clashing or badmouthing each other behind the scenes as Stephen Harper’s office intervenes directly in an effort to manipulate the activities of Senate committees.

RCMP Cpl. Greg Horton alleges senior Conservatives went to great lengths to agree to Duffy’s list of demands to ensure he would say publicly he had repaid his living claims, thus making a political headache go away.

Email chains and details from police interviews also make clear exactly who was in the loop about the $90,000 payment from Wright: at least six Conservatives, including the party’s former executive director.

That contrasts with the claims made in the House of Commons this spring that no one else was aware of the plan, and that there were no documents related to the matter.

The Mounties say they have found no evidence that the prime minister knew specifically about the $90,000 payment. However, there are suggestions in the file he might have known about other elements of the plan: “The PM knows, in broad terms only, that I personally assisted Duffy when I was getting him to agree to repay the expenses.”

When asked during question period what he told Wright he “was good to go on” in February, Harper said it was about Duffy repaying his own expenses.

“When we found that was not true, we took the appropriate action, and he has been appropriately sanctioned by the Senate,” Harper said, repeating that Wright bears sole responsibility for the affair.

The documents indicate that for the first time, the RCMP is lodging a direct allegation against Wright. Horton alleges Wright’s agreement with Duffy constitutes fraud and breach of trust because his office was used “for a dishonest purpose, other than for the public good.”

No charges have been laid against either Wright or Duffy.

Horton also said Wright appeared to be acting out of an ethical concern over Duffy’s expenses, and wanted the senator to repay them. The emails show several instances over the months where Wright appeared to be exasperated with Duffy. He also refused to promise the senator that the matter would not be sent to the RCMP if warranted.

In a terse, three-sentence statement issued Wednesday by his lawyer, Wright insisted his intentions were noble and that he did nothing to break the law.

“My intention was always to secure repayment of funds owed to taxpayers,” he said. “I acted within the scope of my duties and remain confident that my actions were lawful. I have no further comment at this time.”

The trouble began nearly a year ago, when media reports questioned whether Duffy was actually a resident of P.E.I., since he appeared to spend most of his time in Ottawa. He had been claiming that his longtime Ottawa home as a secondary residence.

Wright told the RCMP that after reviewing Duffy’s details, he felt that the senator’s expenses were unethical. A back-and-forth ensued, with Duffy refusing to admit fault.

Finally, the two sides came to an agreement. Duffy had conditions to doing a public mea culpa, including: that an independent audit into his expenses not draw conclusions about his residency, that he be repaid and that Conservatives publicly say he meets the requirements to represent P.E.I.

At the time, the secretive Senate internal economy committee was reviewing his expenses, along with those of three other senators.

“I noted this is all conditional on agreement on the (public) statement and communications bounds being respected by the senator,” PMO lawyer Benjamin Perrin told Wright about striking a deal with Duffy.

Wright says he then contacted Sen. Irving Gerstein, the head of the Conservative Fund of Canada, and asked if it would cover what was at the time believed to be $32,000 in disallowed Duffy expenses.

Wright says Gerstein agreed; Gerstein told police, however, that he only said he would “consider” the idea.

That contradicts what Gerstein told Conservative party members earlier this month: “I made it absolutely clear to Nigel Wright that the Conservative Fund of Canada would not pay for Sen. Duffy’s disputed expenses, and it never did.”

Indeed, the fund refused to pay once the bill topped $90,000. It was then that Wright decided he would just repay the amount himself.

But things did not go smoothly.

Although Wright and his team had agreed to ensure the Deloitte audit did not make a conclusion on Duffy’s residency, they couldn’t get confirmation that would happen. Wright expressed his frustration to Sen. Carolyn Stewart Olsen, a member of the internal economy committee’s three-member steering group.

“Somehow, despite agreement to this in advance from you, (Senate leader) Marjory (LeBreton), and (Sen.) David (Tkachuk), no one on the Senate side is delivering,” fumed Wright.

Stewart Olsen responded by complaining about her colleagues.

“Confidentially both Marj and David are telling each other the audit will not be pulled… I think the only way to do this is to tell Deloitte that we are satisfied with the repayment and end the audit,” she wrote.

“The non-partisan nature of the committee is a problem as is the (Senate) clerk who seems to have his own agenda.”

Senate clerk Gary O’Brien later told police that he had discussions with Stewart Olsen about “her partisan behaviour and a disagreement about her not acting properly as an audit sub-committee member.”

Gerstein then swung into action as well, contacting someone he knew at Deloitte to find out what was going on with the audit. The message back to PMO, via Gerstein, was that Deloitte was unable to make a clear statement about Duffy’s residency, because he hadn’t provided them with enough documents.

That appeared to work out perfectly for the PMO and for Duffy.

“I would propose that the senator continue not to engage with Deloitte,” wrote PMO staffer Patrick Rogers. “I believe that we should make arrangements for repayment knowing that Deloitte will not say one way or another on his residency.”

At that point, attention turned to the Senate committee, and how to ensure that the Duffy review was quietly put to rest with an anodyne report.

“We are asking them to treat the repayment as the final chapter of the expenses issue relating to his designation of the P.E.I. cottage as his primary residence to this point in time,” Wright wrote to his staff. “That is something to which Sens. LeBreton and Tkachuk and Stewart Olsen already agreed once.”

Behind the scenes, Wright and his staff allegedly worked with Stewart Olsen to change the text of a Senate report into Duffy’s expenses, making it much milder than similar reports made on senators Patrick Brazeau and Mac Harb.

“I just met with (Stewart Olsen). I gave her our changes. She agreed with them 100 per cent,” Rogers wrote to Wright and others. “I reinforced with her that the implementing of all the changes to the report was the fulfillment of her commitment to Nigel and our building.”

But again, there was another hiccup.

A staff member in LeBreton’s office, Chris Montgomery, balked at allowing the Prime Minister’s Office to intervene so baldly in the affairs of a Senate committee. LeBreton would later tell police that it was Stewart Olsen who said the committee should not write a critical report on Duffy.

“Do I need to call Marjory? They think they are hurting Duffy, but they will end up hurting the prime minister,” Wright wrote to his staff when he got wind of the obstacle.

Finally, LeBreton’s office appeared to be brought to heel and the report emerged with the most critical paragraphs deleted, passed with the help of the Conservative majority on the committee. LeBreton later lost her position as government Senate leader, and Montgomery left Parliament Hill.

The audit and the Senate report into Duffy’s expenses were released publicly on May 9, and LeBreton declared the matter closed.

But the Pandora’s box was to explode very soon afterward, when word of Wright’s $90,000 repayment was leaked to the media the following week.

“The Senate was being run out of the Prime Minister’s Office; we know that,” Mulcair said.

“But there lies the paradox. The same prime minister who controls everything out of his office says the only thing he doesn’t control is his office. He didn’t know what was happening with Nigel Wright.”

Duffy’s version of events, detailed in two speeches to the Senate, put another spin on his negotiations with Wright and others. Duffy said that he was coerced into admitting fault, on the threat of losing his Senate seat. He also said the PMO gave him a detailed communications plan to follow. Emails in his possession have yet to emerge.

Duffy, Brazeau, Harb and Sen. Pamela Wallin were all suspended without pay from the Senate on Nov. 5, following a heated debate in the upper chamber.


 

Senate scandal: The latest on Wright, Duffy and the PMO

  1. Harper must be getting his sound bite advice from his fishing buddy.

    Wright is clearly under investigation for actions he took while a member of the PMO office. Therefore police would like access to PMO communications etc. That means that Wright and most likely other individuals still in the PMO are under investigation. Of course, the PMO is not under investigation, the police investigate individuals not offices.

    too clever by half Stephen.

    • The PM is undoubtedly under investigation.

      • Their is only three words to explain this document, Drip ! Drip ! Drip !

    • Maybe the Cons were right about the country needing more prison places.

  2. And yet Wright is known as a religious type……..

    • The prisons are full of religious people.

      • LOL I know….rarely ever find atheists in prison

      • Right, and the atheists are all over at NDP Headquarters stitching sequins on their new Justine (Son of Margaret) autographed Fluffy Mitts.

    • As is Harper.

      • True….the whole crowd is really, but it was talked about a lot with Nigel. He’s an anglo-catholic.

  3. Wait, bribing politicians is illegal?? This changes everything!!

    • So when does everybody actually start using that “B” word?

      • Generally, at the perp walk.

  4. If he wrote the check from his own account and not the taxpayers’, I don’t have a problem with it. As far as the charge goes, they would have to prove Wright did ‘corruptly give’ which would imply he would have benefitted or expected to benefit from Duffy doing or not doing something in his official capacity as a result of the payment. What would that be?
    I have more of a problem with Trudeau (or any MP) doing paid speaking engagements at places like universities where he is paid using taxpayer dollars and may be expected to vote a certain way afterwards as a result.
    I had shares in a bank that Senator Kirby was a director of. Was his pay considered corrupting? It would seem he would more likely be dealing with legislation impacting banks than Duffy would be dealing with legislation impacting Nigel Wright.

    • Enough with the Trudeau nonsense. They sell tickets to hear him speak…it does not come out of taxpayer money.

      • They may sell tickets in some cases. Like the party get together where he told all the old ladies how much he liked China. But he has spoken at schools and universities for a fee. And these fees come out of budgets that are wholly or partly taxpayer funded.

        • The fee is a share of ticket sales. Nothing to do with taxpayers.

          • I disagree that the students that attend his speeches for which he gets paid bought tickets. He might sell tickets in other cases.

          • It depends on if it’s a school event or an evening event Politicians often speak at schools in their ridings….they don’t get paid fees.

            Evening events sell tickets…..it’s usually to raise money for something.

    • Well that’s an incredibly stupid way to view it.

      • Well that’s an intelligent response.

      • For a Liberal.

    • You’re saying you have no problem with bribing politicians with private money!?
      Presumably then you have no problem with the corrupt municipal politics in Quebec. My my … welcome to the banana state …

      • Not at all. But was it a bribe? What did Wright get or expect in return? Politicians get private money from jobs. He could get a gift. It has to be proven to be a bribe and I don’t see it has yet. Just because it was a transaction between two people you don’t like doesn’t make it a bribe. Can you prove it was a bribe?

        • Clearly Canadian law enforcement officials view it as worthy of attention. It will take the courts to render a verdict but until then, I’d think it worthwhile not to be too clever parsing language or one might stumble into Rob Ford territory … if it quacks as they say, it matters not whether one likes the duck, it’s more than likely a duck …

          • It seems a lot of people here are ready to declare guilt before charges are even laid. You could take your own advice.

        • Senator Duffy is on record as saying he did not feel he should have to repay those expenses.

          Mr. Wright provided the Senator monetary inducement to do what he did not feel he should do.

          Whether the benefit to Mr. Wright is obvious or not, the fact remains he paid a senator to do something that the senator was not otherwise disposed to do. This is the essence of a bribe.

          Mr. Wright’s gain from this transaction was to hopefully defuse or bury a situation that was beginning to become problematic for his employer, thus gaining respect and influence with said employer.

          We can see this playing out as, as the information first became available, Mr. Harper was very reluctant to do anything about Mr. Wright’s activity, and was willing to defend him. This lasted for a few days until it was realized that Mr. Wright’s activity’s themselves had become the story, at which point he proffered his resignation which the Prime Minister accepted “with great regret”.

          Only later has our Prime Minister indicated that he did not accept a resignation, but rather dismissed Mr. Wright. No word as to whether there was still great regret over the action.

          • Also recall – and this keeps getting left out – that the Duffy expenses look to have been charged for work he did on campaign for the party. That would make it more than embarrassment they were trying to hide.

          • I believe the expenses should have been paid back. And that the country could use more people like Wright who would pay back expenses when others wouldn’t do the right thing themselves. Your just conjecturing what you think were Wright’s motives. Maybe Wright is loaded and didn’t mind. If it is true as he said that he didn’t claim his own expenses to the tune of tens of thousands then that’s a possibility.

          • And again, whether the expenses should have been paid back, whether Wright minded or not, whether Wright benefited or not, or even whether Wright really just wanted the money paid back, is all completely irrelevant to the issue.

            I mean, I realize you’re trying horribly hard to win an argument from a point of view that’s completely unsupported, but Christ, if you’re not willing to learn anything, why the hell are you even bothering to read?

            However, perhaps just to hammer home how nonsensical your position is.. let us assume that all Mr. Wright really wanted was for the money to be paid back. If this was the case, there was a very easy way for him to do this that would have avoided any of this controversy..

            ..he could simply have paid the government of Canada directly himself.

            Hell, given what we know now about there being lawyers involved in the arrangement, if all he wanted was for Canadian citizens to get their money back, paying it directly would have been a hell of a lot easier. But he didn’t.

            Instead, he went through Duffy, and Duffy’s lawyer, and apparently a CPC lawyer as well. Which leaves anybody with half a brain wondering why bother? If Wright just wanted the money paid back, why engage all these people and expensive lawyers in the process of it?

          • Obviously I hit a nerve.

          • Yes, willful stupidity tends to annoy me.

          • Obviously you have no response to a perfectly legitimate point.

            This one goes to Thwim

          • No one will give me a legitimate response. why don’t you?

          • Well I certainly cannot give your version of legitimate. You have some skewed sense of right and wrong that says it is OK for the PMO to lie to the Canadian people.

            I suppose your question is whether this is fraud. Ultimately that will be up to, first, the RCMP to come up with sufficient evidence to charge, and then if so, up to a court to convict. You cannot say at this point whether or not he is guilty of criminal fraud.

            Of course, criminal fraud requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Just because you cannot prove it to that standard does not mean fraud did not occur. Frankly I do not care if this is a criminal offence. My issue is with the way everyone in the PMO handled this entire series of events, which involved lying to the public over and over again.

          • You’re wrong, I don’t believe it’s OK for the PMO to lie to the people. You’re right that it hasn’t been proven. I think that’s important. I guess I’m pretty well alone on that. That’s OK.

        • He was to keep quiet about the audit whitewash, and the real source of the payback which he had stated was from a RBC bank loan.

    • Regardless of the source of the money involved, Wright admittedly conferred a benefit to a senator, to which that Senator wasn’t legally entitled, in exchange for yet undetermined, but easily inferred expectations.

      It doesn’t matter that you “don’t have a problem with it”. It’s a crime.

      • Easily inferred won’t stand up in court. If it’s so easy please tell me. Because I don’t get it.

        • “Easily inferred” in the sense that, in the context, the exchange has all the earmarks of a cover-up. That is, if somebody pays off his illegally (or at least, illegitimately) claimed residential expenses, Duffy will just shut up about the whole affair and stop insisting the arrangement had previous approval of Senate officials and senior Con senators. In law, that would be a bribe.

          Of course, “easily inferred” won’t stand up in court. The facts have yet to be established and that’s why I chose that language. The whole episode has an odor and that’s why the RCMP are investigating and why they’re, apparently, recommending charges. Until proven in court, these remain allegations.

          • ‘…These remain allegations….’ Correct.

          • Absolutely. Unlike Harper, I fully believe in the presumption of innocence, pending due process.

          • Harper does as well unless you can prove otherwise.

          • Harper, himself, has already proven otherwise by having the PMO orchestrate the suspension of three senators without anything even closely approximating due process. And there is ample documentary evidence to support that allegation.

            Are you always this obtuse or is it a trait you save for comment boards?

          • Actually they were suspended by a vote in the Senate. And I’m sure you would be among the loudest squawking if they hadn’t been. I’m glad the four are gone too. Personal insults must mean I’m winning. Again. Liberals are so easy.

          • Um…they were suspended without pay and without anything resembling due process by a Senate whose Con members were whipped under considerable pressure from the PMO. And, no, I wouldn’t be squawking had they first been given due process before their expulsion. Turfing a few of your Con grifters from the Senate after due process would, in fact, give me considerable cause for celebration.

            But you seem to have a hard time getting your head around the fact that, in matters of process, their culpability is beside the point, and that my opinion (and yours) of the three senators is irrelevant here.

            If you interpret my questioning of your fundamental capacity to understand as evidence of your “winning”, then thank you – your doing so merely confirms my opinion.

            BTW, you reference four who were suspended. Who was the fourth?

          • I didn’t say four were suspended, referring rather to the three in your post. I said four were gone, of course including the one you probably don’t want to talk about. Nice try. Unless you just have poor reading skills then I’m sorry for you.

          • Since you seem to be playing coy little word games, I can only infer the fourth you’re referring to is Harb? Why would I not want to talk about him? I will have no problem at all if he’s charged with fraud and is subjected to due process in the justice system.

            (See, one apparent difference between you and me is that I have non-partisan contempt for grifters of any political persuasion).

            In any event, Harb opted to resign, thus voluntarily waiving any right to due process within the Senate (also, opportunistically protecting his Senate pension). So his situation isn’t relevant in this thread about the right to due process.

            Nice deflection. Try to pay attention.

          • You would have no problem talking about him IF he is charged? Yet you have no problem talking about the others BEFORE they’re charged. That’s alright. Honestly. This is so easy it’s embarrassing.

          • ‘Scuse me? Didn’t I just talk about him above? “If” he’s charged or “when” he’s charged is semantic hair-splitting and, in any case, Harb’s case is a red herring here.

            The reason this seems so easy is that you apparently have no clue what the thread of the discussion is about. We’re talking about Harper’s disregard for due process. Remember?

          • ‘Scuse me?’ You didn’t have to say that. I couldn’t tell what you did.
            Anyway- due process on the part of Harper? Maybe that’s what YOU are talking about but it’s not what the article is about. It you and some others that strayed into that territory. In the old days my profs would have docked heavily for that.
            I must apologise in advance that I may not be able to come and play with you tomorrow. The weather’s cleared up and I have to get back at it. It has been fun. For me anyway.

          • This specific thread unfolded as a result of your challenging my comment that Harper doesn’t respect due process.

            Again, the way in which his office clearly orchestrated the three senators’ rapid expulsion from the Senate (regardless of our respective opinions of these individuals) without even giving them an opportunity in committee hearings (i.e., due process) to defend their behaviour or challenge the allegations against them, leaves the distinct impression that he feared what such opportunities for full disclosure of facts would lead to.

            Furthermore, if he has such a deep belief in accountability that he sanctions offenders summarily, it appears there are several people in his own office who are deserving of similar “justice”.

          • I thought they were suspended.

          • …without pay, and that’s why, in any other context, it would be a denial of process. It will be without benefits, too, if the PMO can enforce it.

          • And so we were treated to the spectacle of almost all the non Conservative senators voting for keeping these three in the Senate and on the payroll. Wasting tax dollars in the hope their presence would embarrass Harper. I suppose by some people’s standards that would be money well spent.

          • Many Con Senators voted against their summary suspension, as well, for the very reason I’m trying to explain. In any other public service “workplace”, a person suspected of misconduct is suspended with pay, pending a finding of fault through due process. In any other workplace, a person fired for an alleged offense can sue for unjust dismissal if they feel aggrieved. Neither option was available to these three.

            Another irony in all this is that I’m compelled to defend the rights of three Cons whose conduct and ethics I personally loathe. But, if anyone’s right to due process can be expunged like this, then no one’s rights are secure.

          • What a convenient time to choose to be noble. You aren’t correct in saying ‘many’ Conservatives voted against the suspension. In the CBC article it said 1 voted against suspension in each case although 4-5 abstained. And 4 weren’t present. And 1 Liberal voted to suspend each one.

          • On what possible grounds can you accuse me of “conveniently choosing to be noble”? You have no idea who I am or what I’ve ever chosen to defend. I’m not narcissistic enough to believe you’ve ever tracked my record on these comment boards but, if you did, you’d see I’ve consistently defended these three Con grifters’ right to due process even though I loathe their party, their politics and their alleged personal conduct.

            Justice isn’t a right we should confer or withhold according to our personal judgement of an individual. That only happens in authoritarian states and, God knows, the way Harper has centralized absolute control in his own office, Canada has already gone too far in that direction.

            All your quibbling about Harb’s situation, or how many Cons voted for or against suspension, or whether the Senators were expelled or suspended is only so much noise attempting to obscure the fact that the PMO (i.e., Harper) denied three Senators due process, while many PMO staffers were, themselves, apparently engaging in criminal activity.

            That, in my mind, makes Harper a bully and a hypocrite. I’ll go even further: his apparent willingness to sacrifice anybody and everybody else to save his own hide also makes him look more and more like a psychopath.

          • And what annoys me even more about Duffy (besides the theft) is here’s a guy who is in his late 6os, had a productive career, dipped into the cookie jar for another $90 thousand and then claims he doesn’t have $90 thousand to pay back. Where did it all go? I have no respect for that kind of financial management. And if he can’t run his household better, he can’t run the country’s finances. That alone would make me want to kick him out if I got the chance.

          • No argument there. I share your utter contempt for that self-important, opportunistic, grasping little grifter. But that’s all beside the point.

            Even he is entitled to justice.

      • Why was he not legally entitled to a gift? For all we know that’s what it was. Prove it was more before making the accusations.

        • Because he’s a sitting senator.

          From our Criminal Code.

          121. (1) Every one commits an offence who
          (a) directly or indirectly
          (i) gives, offers or agrees to give or offer to an official or to any member of his family, or to any one for the benefit of an official
          a loan, reward, advantage or benefit of any kind as consideration for cooperation, assistance, exercise of influence or an act or omission in connection with
          (iii) the transaction of business with or any matter of business relating to the government,

          Mr Wright directly gave a benefit of a monetary kind as consideration for the exercise of an act in connection with a matter of business relating to the government.

          • Your quote says that the gift must be ‘for cooperation, assistance, exercise of influence or an act or omission…’ in order to be illegal. I have asked this a number of times here but possibly not yet of you-please tell me what benefit did Wright get or expect for the payment? If it is proven there was a benefit (from the senator as a result of his official duties) I would be among the first to condemn it. Although that would be after those who condemn before charges are even laid. We live in a society where guilt must be proven. Did they change that? I would be satisfied with the taxpayer being reimbursed and a further investigation and possible charges against Duffy. If you can be charged for just accepting money then those senators and MPs who have other jobs and directorships or earn interest could be charged as well. I wouldn’t want to see that.

          • The idea that Wright must receive a benefit comes solely from you, not the criminal code.

            Read it again. “for … exercise of … an act”.

            Absolutely nothing says it must be an act that benefits the briber (and indeed, if you read further in the code, it specifically points out that it doesn’t even matter if the person involved *can’t actually do what’s wanted*).

            And this idiotic idea that guilt doesn’t exist until it’s been proven by a court of law is.. well.. idiotic. If I break into your house and steal your stuff and they never catch me, am I somehow not guilty of it? If you SEE me take your stuff but the police never find me.. will you similarly say, “Well, I won’t condemn that person until charges are laid”? Of course not, because it’s utter bullshit.

            Guilt is guilt, whether proven in a court of law or not. In this case, we know Nigel gave the money. We know Duffy exercised an act relating to government business because of that money. We know this because they’ve all admitted it. How far do I get to take your stuff before you decide that maybe the criminal justice system isn’t the sole arbiter of guilt?

          • But what act?Guilt has to be proven or the guy is innocent in the eyes of the law. That’s about as basic as it gets.

          • Okay, at this point I’m assuming you’re being deliberately obtuse, because to be this dense naturally would cause you to be a black hole.

            The act of repaying the expenses that he felt he had legitimately claimed.

            And yes, in the eyes of the law guilt must be proven. Might I suggest you check your partisan blinders, however, because at this point they seem to have covered any sensible point of view.

            Unless you really are fine with someone stealing your crap so long as they never get charged by the cops. In which case, could you please provide your address?

          • If I was sure to be home when you came over I’d have no problem. I still think someone is innocent until proven guilty.

        • I’m not making the accusations. The RCMP are.

          And it’s not a “gift” if it was conveyed in the expectation of inducing certain behaviour on the part of the recipient in the performance of his duties as a sitting Senator. If that expectation can be established in court, it’s far from being a mere gift. It’s bribery.

          • Have they charged him? If not it’s not really an accusation. I would agree if it was for inducing certain behavior then that is wrong. So tell me just what the certain behaviour was.

          • I’m OK with calling the statement an allegation, rather than an accusation.

            And I thought I’d already explained what the expected behaviour was. If Duffy was “made whole” by payment of his illegitimate expenses, he would stop insisting that his residential claims had the imprimatur of the Con caucus and Senate administration. He would also stop filing such claims in future. In exchange (on the available evidence and according Duffy’s subsequent claims) the senate audit committee would “whitewash” his expense audit and Duffy would be allowed to continue to sit as a Senator from P.E.I. Duffy further claims that he was threatened by the PMO with expulsion from the Senate on the grounds that he doesn’t, in fact, reside in P.E.I., if he didn’t accept the inducement or publicly abide by the PMO’s script on the whole financial arrangement.

            That’s an inducement offered to a sitting politician and, if proven in court, it’s bribery.

          • Duffy was supposed to keep his big mouth shut.

        • Which planet are you on? The law says public officials cannot accept this type of gift.

          • What type of gift? He can’t get Christmas presents either?

          • Absolutely correct. My family physician cannot accept gifts from a patient.

          • Are you saying no citizen can give a senator or MP a Christmas of birthday present as well? His wife or kids can’t get him anything? I don’t believe that. And our family gives our doctor and family something each year. Are you going to report me? Maybe your doctor doesn’t like your taste in presents.

          • You are being deliberately obtuse.

          • No, I’m just calling you on your obtuseness.

          • Farcical is an inadequate word.

          • From an inadequate source, I’m sure.

    • The $90,000 is a small price for Nigel to pay now that he is owed big time by Harper. Be assured the tax payer will pay.

      • If the taxpayer is on the hook that would be wrong but you’re just speculating at this point.

  5. So, I’m supposed to accept that Nigel Wright thought about the situation and decided to give $90,000 to a sleazy (and potentially crooked) Senator so that Senator could buy his way out of temporary trouble and continue on as he was…

    And that this course of action somehow does more to “protect the taxpayer” than letting the Senator suffer the public consequences of his actions so that he may sin no more.

    Why, I might have to question Nigel Wright’s commitment to the sound moral principles which he has been accused of possessing!

    • If the taxpayers are reimbursed then it helps them. If it was a bribe then they should both be charged. I don’t see proof it was a bribe but maybe that will come out. if Wright got a position as a result of this payment that would be wrong too. I don’t see proof of that either. Please tell me what you know about it being a bribe.

      • The conditions attached to the payment make the money a bribe. If Wright had written the cheque and no conditions had been made, then it could have been spun as a gift. As they did attach conditions concerning how Duffy was to act in his capacity as Senator then it’s a bribe.

        • So just what were the conditions hairball?

          • This has been explained to you, “that he use the money to repay the expenses he felt he was legitimately entitled to claim”.

            Go back to your bridge.

          • Take the money, shut up, stop co-operating with the audit and feed the media a line.

          • You have evidence of that?

          • Unless I missed something reading that story the ‘conditions’ were to pay back the money and admit he made a mistake. Two things the public should be glad of. I didn’t see the conditions you speak of.

          • “Wright asked for two conditions to be met in return for the $90,000: that Duffy stop talking to the media”

            and this should spell it out more clearly
            http://www.cbc.ca/m/touch/canada/story/1.2128886

          • That’s somewhat different than your statement last night of ‘take the money, shut up, stop co-operating with the audit and feed the media a line.’ For which you apparently didn’t have evidence of contrary to your subsequent claim.

          • Unless you are really parsing words both the articles illustrated conditions that were put on the payment. Shut up = don’t talk to the media, the story concocted by the PMO = feed the media a line and stop co-operating with the audit is exactly what happened once the $90k was paid.
            You’re being very disingenuous in your reasoning here, but that is hardly surprising given your support for the PM another guy who has been less than straight forward with the country.

          • You quoted the article. Blame yourself if it disagreed with you.

          • It didn’t disagree with me as I illustrated above.

          • At least I read it.

      • You’re a Conservative troll planted to seed doubt in these forums. I think you’ve said enough.

        • Planted by whom? Am I supposed to get paid for this? I believe in due process so I suppose that makes me a threat.

  6. If he is charged and gets a jury trial he’ll be OK.

    • Money does tend to buy justice.

      • People on juries tend not to be petty. Repaying the taxpayer when the thief wouldn’t would be considered beneficial.

  7. Harb was never suspended.

    • He quit.

  8. Amusing, no proof Mr. Harper knew anything directly; so when Nigel Wright wrote in his email: “We are good to go from the PM…” this had nothing to do with the issue; it was what? A acceptance to go for coffee?! Come-on! The thing her is that from ny understanding the RCMP didn’t raid the PMO but rather the PMO provided the RCMP with materials… there is the problem!

  9. Cauterize this putrefying government and back-bench puppets.
    Why more questions of the brand? Do you wish to imply a perverted style of legitimacy?
    When will the National Security trump card be played? TREASON – RESIGN – DUE PROCESS. Give my tax money back. GET OUT.

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