Duffy-Wright: The unanswered questions - Macleans.ca

Duffy-Wright: The unanswered questions

All the things we don’t know


The Canadian Press tallies the “riddles” that “abound.”

— Did anyone other than Wright in the Prime Minister’s Office deal with the ongoing Duffy expense file during the months it was a high-profile, and politically sensitive, public issue?

— Was the prime minister part of those discussions and what direction did he give his chief of staff, or anyone else, to handle the matter?

— Why was it so important to keep Duffy’s reputation clean that Harper’s chief of staff would personally intervene with a $90,000 “gift”?

— Was a contractual arrangement made between Duffy and Wright over the payment? If so, what are the terms of the contract?

— Why did Duffy tell people he had a deal with the PMO to “go easy” on him and that he’d been told by the PMO not to speak about the matter?

— Who in the Prime Minister’s Office discussed the Duffy matter with senators David Tkachuk and Caroline Stewart Olsen, the Conservative members on the special three-member Senate sub-committee responsible for “sanitizing” Duffy’s expense report? Tkachuk has publicly confirmed such discussions took place.

— The PMO repeatedly defended the actions of Wright after acknowledging the cheque to Duffy. “The prime minister has full confidence in Mr. Wright and Mr. Wright is staying on,” spokesman Andrew MacDougall said May 17. On May 19 Harper accepted Wright’s resignation. What changed the prime minister’s mind in the interim?

Here is my tally of two days ago. I posed five basic questions yesterday.


Duffy-Wright: The unanswered questions

  1. Bravo to Aaron and CP for keeping the focus where it should be. And can I add the following question to the list?

    – Who is behind the initial leak to Bob Fife?

    I ask that question because this leak clearly shows that Nigel Wright was NOT the only person involve in the transaction with Duffy. Other people inside the circle knew and one of them leaked it to Fife.

    • Didn’t Fife say that PMO communications director Andrew MacDougall told him he had seen the email?

      • I missed that. If true, why isn’t it front page news?!

        • Look, somebody else told me that and I haven’t read it myself, so I may be seriously misquoting. Not that that has ever stopped me before …

        • Fife said it last night on CTV. What is disturbing is that Harper said all ‘relevant’ documents were forwarded – as if he thinks he gets to choose what is germain. He’s in for a rude shock if the RCMP are doing their job without interference from him.

          • You mean you actually think that the RCMP can do an impartial job here? There is a reason why the Tories agreed to have it referred to them. They most certainly WILL white-wash them. We are talking about a PM that actually promoted one of them to an Ambassador post.

          • To be fair, most of us would be shocked if the RCMP was to do its job without political interference.

            Heck, didn’t he recently declare that officers required political clearance before speaking to government members? Could come in reeeeaaal handy right about now.

  2. As well, did CTV contact the PMO on May 14 and did the PMO give a statement to CTV about the Duffy scandal on May 14.

    One would think that if a major media establishment contacted the Prime Ministers Office to ask about Duffy and the cheque, the Prime Minister would have been informed ASAP about Duffy and the cheque.

    Why is he saying he only found out on the 15th? doesn’t make sense. Can CTV inform us of who they talked to in the PMO on the 14th? Can they let us know what the PMO statement said?

    • Indeed Nikola. Harper’s PMship actually depends on Canada’s inability to prove that he’s lying…yet here you have a blatant inconsistency and the press is not pouncing on it?

      There are good people in the Press Gallery but I sometimes get incredibly frustrated with their general inability to drill down on important matters and maintain focus.

      • I call bullshit. Harper’s been proven a liar so many times before, it’s patently obvious that’s not at all what it depends on. Senate appointments, Softwood Lumber, Health Care Wait Times (supposedly one of only five priorities), Income Trusts, etc.. and that’s just from 2006. Never mind Gazebos, F35 pricing, Afghan Detainee Treatment, Peter McKay’s personal helicopter, the Cadman tapes, etc..

        It’s been proven so many times that Harper’s a liar thinking that *this* time will be the one that finally causes people to wake up is lunacy.

        • I disagree Thwim. Harper’s Ministers have been caught with their pants down multiple times indeed but not Harper. Think about it. Harper is now on record in the HoC and directly to the press stating that he had no prior knowledge of the Duffy-Wright transaction. No one with an ounce of intelligence believes this but there is no smoking gun. If there is indeed an internal plot to bring down Harper (and I say there is because someone leaked the info to Fife), such a proof could surface at any time. All you need is an email or an audio file. I think the caucus knows this and that’s why they are scared to death.

          At some point, someone will develop a spine and see that they are better off getting rid of Harper to save the party. For now, they’re all hoping that the press gallery will move on to other things by next week. But if the press gallery actually stays focused, someone will break rank and the proof will surface.

          • Who said they wouldn’t tax income trusts? Then did?
            Who said when speaking about softwood lumber, “You don’t negotiate when you’ve won”? Then did?
            Who said they would only appoint elected senators? Then appointed electorally rejected Michael Fortier?
            Who said they had no knowledge of any attempt to bribe Cadman? Then was heard on a tape talking about when some CPC members were going over to Cadman to make him an offer?

            Harper’s been caught multiple times in lies.. and that you don’t seem to remember those times is exactly why expecting this time to be any different is lunacy.

          • If you think that lying about deliberately paying off a Senator under investigation is the same as the above, then I can see why you are disillusioned. Reversing course on policies or reneging on promises is certainly not specific to this group of politicians. And by the way, Harper admitted that he had authorize the Cadman meeting (he had to since he was caught on tape saying that much) but refuted claims that he knew about the bribe. Again, everyone knew he was lying but there was no smoking gun.

            We’ll just have to disagree on this one. Harper has gone too far with his lies re: Duffygate. He’s left himself no wiggle-room. Unlike the Cadman affair, Harper no longer enjoys the loyalty/fear of his caucus. One of them can turn and bring him down at a moment’s notice. With Mulcair and Trudeau across the aisle, some Tory will eventually clue in and make a move to save the party from Harper. This all hinges, of course, on how long the press gallery stays focused on this.

          • There was a smoking gun. It was the tape, remember? The tape he worked so hard to get discredited and never could? The tape had him on record as saying he knew some guys were going to offer Cadman something, but didn’t expect it would work.

  3. How will Wright be reimbursed?

    • He’ll get co-author credit on the hockey book …

    • Stephen Harper’s fishing buddy might be able to provide Wright a little something from his personal stash.

    • When Wright came on board, we were told it was for 18 – 24 months. He would not be an employee of public service, as LeBreton has suggested (I am so sick of that crone). One would think it would have been a contract, so payable out for the time still left on it — and how long would that be, a month or two at most? Certainly it was noted that his move from Onex to PMO was one that took his payscale down many many notches.

    • I hear the Bank of Canada is looking for a snappy new appointee…

  4. It smells bad!

  5. Another question: Did PMO write cheques to other people in influential positions, and if so what did PM ask for in return?

  6. How about “where’s the cheque?” – we’ve taken it as faith Wright wrote a personal cheque to Duffy. I don’t care how rich anyone is, it’s highly unlikely that person would write a personal cheque of that amount to a person, that by all accounts, was not a close personal friend. Produce the cancelled cheque.