Harper defends Conservative party paying Mike Duffy's legal expenses - Macleans.ca
 

Harper defends Conservative party paying Mike Duffy’s legal expenses


 

OTTAWA – There’s nothing unusual about the Conservative party using taxpayer-subsidized funds to pay Mike Duffy’s legal expenses, Stephen Harper said Tuesday as he parried a fresh barrage of opposition questions about the Senate expense scandal.

“The party regularly reimburses members of its caucus for valid legal expenses, as do other parties,” the prime minister told the House of Commons under more withering criticism from NDP Leader Tom Mulcair.

Donations to political parties are underwritten by the public purse through generous tax credits. However, the Conservative party’s largesse didn’t extend to all the senators under fire for improper travel or housing allowance claims.

Sen. Patrick Brazeau’s office said no offer was made to pay his legal expenses. Terrence O’Sullivan, Sen. Pamela Wallin’s lawyer, said the same.

“Sen. Wallin has received no assistance with her legal fees — whether before or after she recused herself from the caucus — from the Conservative party or anyone associated with the Conservative party,” O’Sullivan said in an email.

All three senators are under investigation by the RCMP and are facing a government bid to to suspend them, without pay or privileges, from the Senate.

The suspension motions were tied in procedural knots Tuesday, making it unlikely they will be voted on before the Conservatives gather Thursday evening for a two-day national convention in Calgary.

Duffy disclosed Monday there were two cheques regarding his allegedly improper expenses: one for $13,560 from Conservative party lawyer Arthur Hamilton to cover his legal expenses, plus the well-known $90,000 from Harper’s former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, to enable him to reimburse the Senate.

Harper was grilled repeatedly Tuesday about Duffy’s latest bombshell. But while he condemned the conduct of Wright and Duffy, he shrugged off suggestions that Hamilton did anything wrong.

“This individual is not accused of anything,” he said, in response to a question from NDP Leader Tom Mulcair who asked whether the prime minister intends to fire Hamilton.

“New Democrats tell us that we should fire or expel people on the flimsiest of allegations without, in some cases, any proof of anything against anybody,” Harper said.

“Then when we determine that actions should be taken (against the three senators), the leader of the Opposition stands up and pretends these people are somehow victims of arbitrary actions.”


 

Harper defends Conservative party paying Mike Duffy’s legal expenses

  1. Do they not review the legal cases before they fund them?
    The PM says that he found the expenses to be despicable and yet they funded the legal defence to fight the charges.
    That is either incompetence or underhanded either one does not look good for the government.

  2. I am not a lawyer, but this sounds plausible. Harper will not come clean because he has boxed himself so far in a corner, that anything he says from this point on, could end up in a courtroom where this investigation is going on with the RCMP. Anything he(harper)says may also be used in future lawsuits that may arise from this PMO scandal.. Harper has his heels dug in and if harper comes clean at the convention, the RCMP will be watching. Whatever he(harper)says outside the house, will not protected from future lawsuits.