Politicians, pundits and political watchers respond to resignation of Nigel Wright

‘I accept sole responsibility,’ he says of $90,000 repayment


OTTAWA – The prime minister’s chief of staff announced his resignation early Sunday, saying he left his post in light of the controversy around his personal handling of Sen. Mike Duffy’s expense payments.

Nigel Wright stepped down after a phone conversation with Stephen Harper, signalling a recognition that he — and not Duffy’s improper expense claims — had become the story.

Ray Novak, who has been by Harper’s side since 2001, will be the prime minister’s new chief of staff. Novak is thought to represent stability and is well known by all the federal ministers.

The Prime Minister’s Office said earlier this week that Wright personally paid off $90,000 in inappropriately claimed housing expenses for Duffy, prompting critics to complain that the bailout violated ethics rules that prohibit senators from accepting gifts.

Throughout the fallout prompted by the bombshell announcement, the PMO stood firmly by Wright, saying his position remained secure.

In a statement issued Sunday morning, Wright reiterated that the prime minister had not been involved in the matter.

“My actions were intended solely to secure the repayment of funds, which I considered to be in the public interest, and I accept sole responsibility,” Wright said in a statement.

“I did not advise the Prime Minister of the means by which Sen. Duffy’s expenses were repaid, either before or after the fact.”

Wright said he regretted the impact the matter had on the government, the Tory caucus and all his colleagues.

“I came to Ottawa to do my part in providing good government for Canada, and that is all that I ever wanted and worked for in this role,” he said.

In a separate statement Harper said he accepted Wright’s resignation with “great regret.”

“I accept that Nigel believed he was acting in the public interest, but I understand the decision he has taken to resign,” the prime minister said.

“I want to thank Nigel for his tremendous contribution to our government over the past two and a half years.”

The ethics commissioner is looking into Wright’s repayment of Duffy’s expenses.

Duffy, a former broadcaster, quit the Conservative caucus late Thursday.

One day later, Sen. Pamela Wallin announced she was leaving the Conservative caucus. Her travel expenses, which total $321,000 since September 2010, have been the subject of an external audit since December.

Meanwhile, two other senators are also facing demands that they repay improper housing expense claims.

Sen. Mac Harb was deemed to owe $51,482 in housing-related expenses, a finding that prompted him to quit the Liberal caucus and sit as an independent.

Sen. Patrick Brazeau — kicked out of the Conservative caucus after he was charged in February with assault and sexual assault — was assessed $48,744.

A spokesman for the prime minister has said neither Harb nor Brazeau was offered the same financial assistance as Duffy.

Our full coverage of the controversy is here. 

Here is how politicians, pundits and political observers responded to the news:


Politicians, pundits and political watchers respond to resignation of Nigel Wright

  1. Good start, but not enough.

  2. Impressive Nigel …I can only hope The Duffer will resign….but he needs the senate pension, he is broke! :(

  3. damage control begins- can this government actually persuade the public that the PM knew absolutely nothing about a bailout by his handpicked chief of staff of his handpicked senator? The very senator, lest we forget, who, with the soon to be prime minister’s knowledge and approval, handed that prime minister Stephane Dion’s head on an ethically troubling platter.

  4. Can’t Mike Duffy be charged with Fraud?

    • Conflict of Interest – Parliament of Canada Act:
      16. (1) No member of the Senate shall… receive any compensation… for services… to be rendered to any person…
      (a) in relation to any… controversy, charge, accusation… before
      the Senate or… a committee of either House. or (b) for the purpose of
      influencing or attempting to influence any member of either House.

      Every member of the Senate who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of
      an offence and liable to a fine of not less than one thousand dollars
      and not more than four thousand dollars.

      Every person who gives, offers or promises to any member of the Senate
      any compensation for services described in subsection (1), rendered or
      to be rendered, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to
      imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year and to a fine of not less
      than five hundred dollars and not more than two thousand dollars.

      Duffy would appear to be in contravention of 16.1 (a) if he did receive a cheque from Nigel Wright.

      Nigel Wright would appear to be in contravention of 16.3 if he issued a personal cheque to Duffy.

  5. Duffy and “others” are Hogs at the Trough! If Harper wants any Cred back he needs to reform, clean out and boot All the Hogs ready for Market!
    Truly more disgusted than usual at the theifs at the top.

    • Please! Harper is King Hog. With all due respect you can’t honestly believe Harper had no role to play in the Duffy thievery and Wright fiasco? Do you think Wright gave Duffy $90,000 to pay off his Trough debt without any expectation of repayment? Do you think, given Wright’s thus-far-untarnished-political-career, that Wright did not speak to the PMO about bailing Duffy out before the pig scurried back to his pen? Or more likely that the PMO did his Kim Jong-il impersonation~because he does it so divinely darling~and tossed Wright under the Conservative bus (you know the one that’s built like a gynormous steam roller)?

  6. What a mess , government in action!

  7. Although I am a Liberal, I know Nigel Wright to be an outstanding Canadian who only wants to do what is best and right. I am very saddened to learn of his resignation and the government’s loss of an extraordinarily able public servant.

    • That is certainly his reputation. What I find most troubling about his actions is the claim that he did not inform the Prime Minister. Nigel Wright acted as an independent agent and attempted to use cash to make a political problem go away.

      Before he fades from public view, he really should be asked whether this was the only time he carried out such an agenda.

    • Trust a Liberal to claim a person who who cut a cheque in secret for $90,000 so a Senator could avoid an ethics investigation is an ‘outstanding Canadian’.

  8. Nigel was simply loaning the money to duffy to repay his overstated expenses he should be applauded for his actions!

    • Then why in the world would he have been asked to step down, that altruistic great guy?

    • Ridiculous! Some millionaire politician opens his wallet and pays off a fine for a Senator. Its illegal, its stupid, and it robbed Canadian taxpayers of justice. Wright deserves to be rebuked.

    • You’re joking, right?

    • I think you’re overcooked.!

      • Not at all Bay of Fundy lobster is the best!

  9. Too bad the PM doesn’t accept any responsibility. It is on his watch and I think the ‘buck’ stops with him. Wright buys Harper’s mistake out of his pocket money. Harper hangs Wright out to dry. Duffy takes Wright’s cheque and runs and hides. The PM doesn’t ask for anyone to resign, he just regrets they got caught protecting him. Let’s hope ‘Duff’s Stuff’ tell-all book comes out before the next election.

    • This “pm” appears to be a liar and a cheat, as well as a coward.

  10. ….and Mike Duffy keeps his job as Senator. He breaks the law, gets bailed out, and still gets a hefty pay check from the Canadian tax payer while his “saviour” loses his job. Lets see if the “Honorable” Mr. Duffy has any shame. If he does he will resign from the Senate and own up to the fact that he knowingly and willingly broke the law. No government official should be able to do that with impunity.

  11. This is what happens when ‘we the people’ don’t hold our elected officials and bureaucrats to a PURPOSE and PRINCIPLES of Government we demand of them.

    • How can we do that? I mean, other than during elections, how can we hold anyone to account when they simply refuse to answer questions, or even tell us what really happened? Media has to ask the questions and tell us the answers, and then they get beat up and called biased when they do.

  12. I wonder if Mr Wright gets a severance package of say $90,172 – I am certain that we will never know one way or the other.

  13. All this commentary about what a stellar guy Wright is and what a loss to public service illustrates perfectly that we are dominated by Liberals. It is all about a person’s supposed character – sure Wright cut a cheque in secret to a Senator who broke laws and wanted to avoid ethics investigation but he’s a good guy!

    It is idiotic – public servants are meant to have standards of behaviour, and Wright didn’t remotely live up to them, so he should be fired and thoroughly investigated to root out corruption. State institutions are being corrupted and all these Liberals/liberals are standing around claiming Wright is a good guy at heart and that’s all that matters.

  14. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Tories are throwing themselves under the bus, again, just like the good old days. Harper’s abuse of power and appointments are turning into a cement anchor just as the suddenly badly listing Tory ship is looking for a safe harbor to steam towards — and a new captain to get it there.
    Harper should resign. Tsk, tsk. tsk.

  15. Why are we stuck believing the suspicious are telling us the truth? ie Harper didn’t know that such a dirty trick was being played?; The money came out of Wright’s own money?; It was ‘just’ to bail out Duffy and not payment for something else? The Cons haven’t done the same to buy off others?
    This is what happens when 40% of the 52% voting (ie 20% of voters in last election) get to determine a ‘majority’. None of this would happen if we hadn’t closed our eyes and voted as the polls told us the vote was trending out of Quebec. And of course so many people want to believe someone villified – like Michael Ignatieff – was ‘guilty as charged’ (by his political opponents).
    As Judy LaMarch so famously said ‘Canadians get the government they deserve.”

  16. I’m kind of stunned that there are actually people suggesting that this behaviour was okay and therefore there should be no repercussions, Fiorino and Frum especially. I have a simple question. Do standing rules of gifts in excess of $500 to MPs mean nothing? Are these just window dressing? Can Mr Frum or Mr Fiorino just “give” money to MP’s as a gift? It seems they are suggesting this behaviour is okay and shouldn’t be an issue if it applies to a “great guy”.. that they know. Mr Wright doesn’t know that rule? He’s working for the PM and he doesn’t know that rule? A brilliant business man and he doesn’t know? Where’s the outrage? Or is this a matter of “pals” looking out for each other?

    The facts speak for themselves. Harper, Wright and Duffy have brought this on themselves. If a Member of Parliament accepts a gift from either the “Royal Bank of Canada or Nigel Wright” (we’re not clear on this one) according to Mr Duffy and his inability to get things straight like where he lives. The failure to report in detail carries serious implications. Omission, deflection, deceit or outright lies are all the wrong attributes for MPs, Senators, the PM and his staff who represent the Canadian people.

    I’d like to know how this happened without Mr Harper being informed of the $90,000. Or was he informed? I’d also like to know why Mr Harper is ‘in Peru’ when Parliament is in turmoil. Is he hiding? Hoping it will blow over? Getting his story straight? Waiting for his spin doctors? What a derelict leader

    • Have you ever known Harper not to have ultimate control. Of course he knew..who do you think suggested it. Wright was doomed from the beginning. He was too smart to be completely controlled. Not a nice picture. In the end..breaking the law not withstanding..the other two guys came off looking much worse then Nigel did. Hooray for common sense. He got out the best way he could.

  17. Nigel Wright, Prime Minister Harper’s Chief of Staff, resigned this morning, Sunday morning, May 19, 2013 less than 24 hours after Water ar Crimes post a print and audio broadcast about Nigel Wright, Senator Mike Duffy and their role in the Water War Crimes . The Senate expense scandal involving Wright & Duffy has been public knolwedge since Tuesday, May 14, 2013. Wright could have resigned on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday but resigned Sunday morning immediately after the Water War Crimes posting implicating him in crimes, including murder, yesterday afternoon.

    See waterwarcrimes.com May 18, 2013 post and listen to May 18, 2013 audio for details.

  18. So, what happens now? Some random member of the unending cadre of loyal minions is forced to resign so that another – equally willing to commit unethical, illegal acts – can be quickly appointed allowing the corrupt, deceitful, and criminal behaviour, which has become our government’s MO, to continue as before. No consequences – yet again!

    • What happens now? Harper will prorogue parliament so he doesn’t have to answer embarrassing questions. He’s betting that some other story will grab our attention and distract us from this. It has worked well for him in the past.

      • We have a bum as our prime minister. Time to put the garbage out.

  19. “Politics is ass backwards. We lose a contributor like Nigel Wright due to opposition hounds. Meanwhile we are stuck with the useless hounds”

    Yeah Tony. The opposition forced Duffy to cheat, forced Nigel to write the cheque, force Poilievre and other to claim it was leadership, and on and on and … Grow up and ask your ‘team’ to take some responsibility for a change.

    From your Twitter feed. “My nightly invocation: “Oh Lord take the hatred from my heart and bring us peace and prosperity.” How’s that working for you? Not well apparently when you basically called your new premier a hooker down at the docks. May 17, 2013 “Wynne? a leader? She made it to the pier but most of the ships had already sailed.” Despicable for someone who claims the religious high ground.

    Perhaps your nightly invocation ought to be “Oh Lord take the stupidity from my brain.”

  20. Public interest has clearly NOT been served. I am confused. I feel insulted.

  21. So the HarperCons have been trying to get us all to believe that Nigel is an honourable and patriotic man. Since when is obstructing justice an honourable and patriotic act?

  22. Isn’t this Novak the lonely fellow who lived above harpie’s garage? Are we down at this level now?