A couple answers in the Prime Minister's absence - Macleans.ca

A couple answers in the Prime Minister’s absence

Who the Prime Minister didn’t speak with and hasn’t spoken with


Thomas Mulcair piled up a few more questions on the Prime Minister’s empty chair this afternoon—the Prime Minister tends not to appear on Mondays—wondering whether the Prime Minister would be firing anyone else over the Duffy affair and why, if the Prime Minister wouldn’t have approved of Senator Irving Gerstein contacting Deloitte, Mr. Gerstein is still a member of the Conservative caucus. He also pressed this matter of precisely what the Prime Minister authorized during his conversation with Nigel Wright on February 22 (Megan Leslie wondered what threats had been directed at Mr. Duffy for the purposes of convincing him to repay his expenses).

Later in the hour, at least two queries received responses from Paul Calandra. The NDP’s Eve Peclet posed two fairly straightforward questions.

Did the Prime Minister discuss Senate expenses with senators Gerstein, Stewart Olsen or LeBreton before May 15 2013?

Since May 15, did the Prime Minister speak to Irving Gerstein about the reimbursement of Mike Duffy’s expenses?

To both, Mr. Calandra responded with a fairly straightforward “no.”


A couple answers in the Prime Minister’s absence

  1. Mulcair is asking the wrong question when he refers to senate ‘expenses’,

    because Gerstein was negotiating repayment of ‘housing allowances’ with party funds, up to $32k.

    At no time was paying Duffy’s ineligible expenses considered by the party.

    plus Deloitte found the rules unclear and did not conclude that the ‘housing allowance’ was ineligible.

    The ineligible ‘expense’s tab was for meals, incidentals and per diems calculated later by Deloitte for the grand total of $90k.

    • My understanding (point out if I’m wrong) is that claiming Ottawa as his secondary residence (indeed a dubious cost) constituted the $32,000. Adding in $58,000 in ineligible travel costs and per diems raised the total to $90,000.

      The ITO shows the party, Wright and PMO knew full well the $32,000 was morally wrong, unclear rules or not. And yet they were *this* close to covering the tab.

      • Sounds about right . But Wright did believe Duffy did nothing wrong, at first. Once the ‘expenses’ were identified he was ‘more than furious’.
        By then the train had left the station, Duffy already had his deal before the final tally. Coyne article ‘bait and switch’ lays it out well.

  2. I have a question for Mulcair.
    ‘ If there is doubt as to PM knowing about the plan, why is RCMP using ‘acting without consent of Harper’ as grounds for the alleged fraud charge?
    pg 2 on RCMP doc, bullets 3 and 4
    RCMP were given access to 260,000 emails, and no evidence PM knew of the private deal between Wright and Duffy.

    • give it up, it’s a lose/lose situation.
      either harper did know what was going on and he’s lying, or (as you suggest) he didn’t know, making him look utterly incompetent to not know what was going on among his closest staff..

      • Did Trudeau know what Senator Kenny was up to?
        And Liberals need not be so smug, the auditor hasn’t given his Senate report yet.

  3. Far be it from me to join the niggling grammar nazi curmudgeons, but this use of ‘couple’ in the headline is not clear. A ‘couple’ is two of something, commonly people. There is no ‘couple’ answering, only Mr Calandra. And as such he provides two answers, each of them the same. So it should be “A couple of answers”, or “Two answers”. Yes, “of” uses up more ink on the page. Oh, wait. That isn’t a consideration really anymore is it? Still, there is certainly enough room across that line for a clarifying word or two.

    Even then, it is only one answer to a couple of questions.

    And maybe this post will get me in good with the wherry haters.

    • I thought the same thing. Kudos to you for posting it.

      • ‘No!’ ‘No” is more of a clone drone, really.

  4. Ask Paul your own questions at AskPaulCalandra.com