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Senior Conservatives pull Nigel Wright out from under Harper’s bus


 

CALGARY – Senior Conservatives continued to stray from the prime minister’s political Senate script Friday — the very day Stephen Harper was to deliver a key speech designed to steer attention back to his party’s record.

Following the lead of Employment Minister Jason Kenney, Justice Minister Peter MacKay offered moral support to Nigel Wright, the former chief of staff depicted by Harper as the sole architect of the “deception” surrounding the repayment of Sen. Mike Duffy’s disallowed expenses.

“I’ve known Nigel a long time, he’s a very principled individual, he’s somebody who is honest, he’s worked hard for our party in the past,” MacKay said.

“That’s my opinion, that’s my view of Nigel.”

Both Kenney and MacKay are viewed as potential contenders to succeed Harper in the future, and each have a loyal following within the party.

Ontario MP Gord Brown echoed the sentiment on Wright.

“I’ve known him for many, many years,” Brown said. “We’ve been in politics together since the ’80s, and he’s a man of high integrity and it’s disappointing that all of this has unfolded, but I stand behind Nigel.”

On another front, junior minister Maxime Bernier — a popular figure among rank-and-file Conservatives — floated the idea that the party ought to hold a referendum on whether or not to abolish the Senate.

The premier of Saskatchewan, now an avowed opponent of the Senate, weighed in. “Not a bad idea Maxime Bernier,” Brad Wall wrote on Twitter.

Harper, meanwhile, has been pushing for Senate reform for decades. His government referred a number of questions to the Supreme Court of Canada on the mechanisms for reforming the Senate and how to abolish it.

“I think we’re putting the cart before the horse,” said Government Senate leader Claude Carignan.

“Right now we have a reference at the Supreme Court, we should respect the Supreme Court and respect its judgment, which will take about a year and then we can discuss the method that the Supreme Court will identify for us.”

The evolving Senate scandal, meanwhile, continued to throw curveballs Friday: the RCMP filed court documents alleging Sen. Pamela Wallin committed fraud and breach of trust by filing fraudulent expense claims.

The Senate also revealed it paid $390,500 for the independent audit that exposed those questionable claims, bringing to more than $500,000 the cost of reviewing the expenses of Duffy, Wallin, Patrick Brazeau and Mac Harb.

The trials and tribulations of the upper chamber, though hard to miss, were far from the only issue occupying the minds of Conservative delegates.

Behind closed doors at the convention, party members appeared to put to rest a long-standing debate within the ranks — for now.

A recurring bid to change the leadership rules to adopt a system that is closer to one-member, one-vote was once again defeated, meaning it won’t go to the larger convention floor for debate.

A pointed resolution that would forbid resolutions from coming back to conventions if they’ve been defeated twice before will be discussed at the plenary session on Saturday.

Currently, each Conservative riding association in the country has an equally weighted say in electing the leader. That was a rule negotiated between Progressive Conservatives and the Canadian Alliance when the parties merged in late 2003, designed to prevent a candidate from swamping the race with support from a specific region — such as Alberta.

“I feel quite strongly and quite passionately that we have to have equality and inclusiveness in our party,” said MacKay.

“The party has spoken, and the democratic principles are alive and well.”

Delegates also defeated a resolution to reject the supply management system for dairy, eggs and poultry. However, a motion to officially condemn sex-selective abortions passed an initial debate and will proceed to the floor on Saturday.


 

Senior Conservatives pull Nigel Wright out from under Harper’s bus

  1. Watch it Steve me boy! They’re measuring you for the rope. The jury is out and the judge is sitting. Could be you’re about to find out Nigel’s a little more popular and trusted then you are in the party. Best throw yourself on the mercy of the court.
    I imagine they’ll cover your legal fees.

    • They have to be asking themselves – whose more valuable to the party going forward. – Harper or Wright? From what I’ve read about Wright, he’s been a real heavyweight behind the scenes for years.

      • Why does it have to be one or the other? Political reality was such that someone had to fall under the bus. The party can’t survive if the leader takes the spill but Wright is a successful behind the scene person. Why not set it up with him that he takes it and then they smooth things over. Do you notice how many Libs are defending poor Nigel Wright now?

        • He has a life outside the party you know.

          Being dismissed because of wrong-doing ruins his reputation, harms his family, harms his job prospects. He’ll always be under a cloud.

          • Really, Em. You just figured that out 6 months later that he has a life outside the party. When you were busy demeaning him as the second coming of Satan that didn’t seem to bother you. Now you think because Harper said Wright didn’t resign but rather was dismissed that suddenly his whole reputation is ruined. Here is a newsflash for you, Nigel Wright is a financial genius. He isn’t pounding the pavement for a job. He has a job…a big job. He only took a short leave to work in the PMO almost pro-bono given the loss in pay he accepted to work there. You are deluded if you think this will ever stop him from getting any job he wants in the real world. After all, he was trying to help a friend and made a big mistake. Everyone deserves a second chance when they are such a swell guy as that.

          • Well no HI….actually I never think about him at all.

            I think you’ve confused me with someone else….again.

          • Well Em, it just warms the cockles of the heart to see you entertain that Cons are possibly human beings with lives outside of politics and dare I say….feelings that might be hurt. I thought it was always your stance that they were robots. This “any enemy of Harper is an enemy of mine” is a great strategy to bring out those willing to see the goodness in Nigel Wright’s altruism. Have you seen that Nadine person around…the one who kept repeating how it was not Nigel’s money and what a bad man he is? Don’t tell me she will be taking up his cause too….hahaha! That is just too much to fathom.

          • I was pointing out that his reputation was ruined….that kind of thing usually means law suits and tell-all books….I don’t care about his feelings. He’s the one that was working for the Dark Side after all, and he got burned.

            Nadine? You mean Francien? I don’t remember her mentioning Nigel….just endless rants on Justin, but then again I rarely see her posts anymore.

          • No, I know Francien. Nadine cuts and pastes most of her comments. She never mentions Justin but many of her comments are repeat cut and pastes.

          • Mmmkay….not ringing any bells here. Hester is the only one I know that cuts and pastes….usually misquotes

        • Harper has been leader since what, 2004? That’s a long time, and sooner or later (ie now) governments and leaders both start to get tired and old and the leader getst replace — ie takes the fall for the PARTY. Because the party is far more important than the leader. So, that’s why everyone is watching to see if any CPC base starts making noise that leads to harper’s resignation — and a new leader, and I think we can all agree that Kenney seems interested in the job.

          And by the way: which Liberals are defending Wright? Does asking for due process mean they support Wallin or Duffy or Wright — or does it mean they want them to be fired in such a way that they cannot come back and sue taxpayers forever.

          • I am talking about the group of you on here defending him when you had no issue with calling him every dirty name in the book when the story broke. By the way where is that Nadine person who claimed it wasn’t Nigel’s money that he gave away. Also, she makes a lot of homophobic comments that get up votes which is distressing in this age.

          • You are grasping at straws; I don’t remember anyone saying anything other than we had always heard that Wright was so great and honourable. I think people originally believed, or gave the benefit of the doubt, to the pm when he said he had no knowledge — but I think most realize now that he’s just a common liar. As for Nadine, she’s fairly new around here, but I haven’t noticed anything in her comments that you have. I agree with Emily that Hester cuts and pastes. Pretty sure Old Dutch does too — or at least she cuts and pastes the same comments here and other media sites. Sometimes perception is in the eyes of the beholder.

        • Why are some key players coming out in support of Wright?

          • I believe they are sending a message to the base that Nigel Wright is a good person who in his zest to do an altruistic act, made an error in judgement that got the party in trouble. Basically, they say he trusted a bad person…..Duffy who duped them all BUT his error in judgment was soooo harmful to the party that he has to take his knocks. However, there should be NO bitterness and he should be given a second chance. This isn’t the first time Jason Kenney has sent his own messages in apparent contrast with what the leader’s message is and yet there has been no fall out. If he and McKay were really back stabbing Harper would they do it at the convention and give the national press interviews? This smells of a political strategy to me…a way for Nigel to take the heat from Stephen for now while the other big players already start doing damage control with the base to save Nigel’s standing in the party. If we have learned anything, it is that Stephen is all about perception…the perception that he is taking action to flush out the rot. What is quite amusing is how people suddenly have sympathy for anyone he apparently goes after. They garner also sympathy simply by being targeted by Stephen. Nigel’s reputation could actually improve by Stephen taking him to task. Already people are he is a stand up guy and there aren’t a lot of people denying that. A far cry from when the story broke and Stephen defended him.

          • Nigel was always taking the heat for the pm, but this week, harper ramped that up considerably when he said that (a) he was “dismissed” instead of resigned, and (b) when he called him “deceptive.” Language got a lot stronger in harper’s desperation in QP. I kind of think Harper has wounded himself and now Kenney et al are going to start campaiging quietly — they already have.

    • then you are?

      Still hard aground on that lee shore I see……hahaha

      • Har har har, Billy…bin to sea have ya; or in having your keel bolts pulled?

    • I think you are naive. Wright might have helped orchestrate exactly what went down. The base never saw him as a bad guy and who cares if he was asked to leave or offered to leave. It won’t affect his prospects or ability to work behind the scenes.

      • If i’m naive you’re unduly obtuse. Harper virtually called him a criminal.

        • Harper said he dismissed him vs. Nigel quitting. There is no “virtual”. He either called him a criminal or he didn’t. Nigel made a big mistake but overall he did it for altruistic reasons and as such he will be embraced. He is valuable to the party. You might hope I am obtuse but frankly we have seen them use this good cop/bad cop strategy with Kenny, etc. before. It is the perfect way to sit on the fence on big issues.

          • You can’t “know”he did it for altruistic reasons, that was just the line they put out – there is no knowing at this point. Regardless he broke the rules, plain and simple re: offering bribes, gifts or whatever to senators. This sounds to me like a fairy tale you understandably want to believe – he’s family – why not. Don’t you feel manipulated at all, i would?
            Lastly and most importantly this was supposed to stay secret – there was zero honour attached to it at all. Just grubby political expediency.

          • I don’t pretend “to know he did it for altruistic reasons” and it really has nothing to do with what I believe at all but what the base wants to believe. They are being reminded even by many people who demeaned Nigel Wright initially that he has always been an always been very generous with charities and is a devoted deacon at the Anglican church. For all intents and purposes, Nigel Wright has been known to be a decent person. Once the story broke, he did maintain it was a gift for a friend in financial trouble. Does it really matter that he hoped the story wouldn’t break….does that make him a liar or really humble in the eyes of the base? You can believe that cabinet ministers broke ranks at the convention and gave the scoop of a lifetime to the press. Me, I am a whole lot more cynical. I believe there are some strings being pulled by a master here or several masters.
            Do I feel manipulated? Hmmm…well, let’s just say I am numb to pretty much how far politicians will go to succeed in their quest for power. Once the Alberta Tories called the College of Physicians and Surgeons and tried to get their own MLA (Raj Sherman’s (now Lib leader) licence to practice medicine pulled because he was honest about healthcare in the province, my cynicism became complete. People can only feel manipulated if they open to being manipulated and are too blind to see that they are being manipulated. Those who willingly are manipulated because they put too much trust in this politicians and parties are in for a sad awakening.

  2. Harper is an extraordinary politician but what really got the Conservatives in power was money. They have out fund raised the Liberals and NDP by a very wide margin ever since Chretien stepped down. Harper was smart enough to use that fiscal advantage ruthlessly, developing the tactic of perpetual campaigning. The Liberals tried to keep up, went broke and the rest is history.

    Both Dion and Ignatieff would be outraged by some CPC tactic and then fail to show up to bring down the minority government. Why? They didn’t have the cash to run an election campaign and Harper knew it. He made them look like wimps.

    Who set up that winning strategy? Who built up that war chest? Who drafted Stephen Harper as the leader of the Conservative Party? Nigel Wright

    Long after Harper is gone, Wright will continue to be a very important person in the backroom of the CPC. Kenny and MacKay know that.

    • Don’t be sure Wright and Harper are not part of this whole strategy. Harper will retire; Wright can stay in the background but the party must go on.

    • Don’t forget the taxpayer-funded ads – those Economic Action Plan ads that are increasingly nothing more than party propaganda.

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