Harper: 'I'm frustrated and sorry and angry about all of this' - Macleans.ca

Harper: ‘I’m frustrated and sorry and angry about all of this’

The Prime Ministers comments from Peru


Courtesy of the Canadian Press, the full transcript of the Prime Minister’s comments to reporters this afternoon about Nigel Wright and Mike Duffy.

Reporter: My question is about the resignation statement of your former chief of staff, which indicated that he merely did not tell you the means by which Sen. Mike Duffy got his money and, to date, neither he nor you have denied that you did know there was a deal. My question first is, what exactly did you know about the deal? Second, what were the terms of that deal? And third, what does it say about your leadership that your senior staff could even imagine this was ethical?

Stephen Harper: Just to correct that, I think we’ve been very clear that I did not know, but let me be very specific about this. I learned of this after stories appeared in the media last week speculating on the source of Mr. Duffy’s repayments.

Immediately upon learning that the source was indeed my chief of staff, Nigel Wright, I immediately asked that that information be released publicly. That is what I knew.

I think what’s more important about this is that, not simply that I did not know, but that I was not consulted. I was not asked to sign off on any such thing and had I obviously been consulted or known, I would not have agreed with it.

And it is obviously for those reasons that I accepted Mr. Wright’s resignation.

My belief, I should mention, my belief, of course, prior to all this was that Mr. Duffy had repaid. When I heard that Mr. Duffy had repaid, my assumption was that Mr. Duffy had repaid from his own resources and that’s how it should have been, in my judgment.

Reporter: You’re known for running a very tight ship in government. How do you expect Canadians to believe that you knew nothing about the cheque that was written to Sen. Duffy? And what in particular do you plan to do? What actions in particular do you plan to take to address this scandal? Could there be further resignations?

Stephen Harper: Look, I think my belief here was reasonable, what, I think, anybody would have expected, that when it was said that Mr. Duffy had repaid his expenses, that indeed he, and not someone else, had repaid his expenses. I know Mr. Wright assisted him or did this for him, because he wanted to see the taxpayers reimbursed. That’s the right motive, but nevertheless it was obviously not correct for that decision to be made and executed without my knowledge or without public transparency.

That is why, as I say, I have accepted the resignation of my chief of staff. As you know we’ve had a couple of senators also leave our caucus. My point is on this that there is accountability when things like this happen. We’ve also put in place the various authorities and mechanisms that will further look into these matters to see if any additional action has to be taken on any particular individuals.

I can assure you that we will certainly look at our systems, see what we have to do to better manage or, better yet, prevent any of these kinds of things in the future. Obviously, I am very sorry that this has occurred. I am not only sorry, I’ve been through the range of emotions. I’m sorry, I’m frustrated, I’m extremely angry about it. But that is the reality and I think we’ve dealt with it promptly.

I’m frustrated and sorry and angry about all of this. I don’t think there’s any better way to put it. In terms of my own office, it was Mr. Wright’s money, it was his personal money that he was repaying to the taxpayers on behalf of Mr. Duffy, it was his personal decision and he did this is his capacity as chief of staff, so he is solely responsible and that is why he has resigned.


Harper: ‘I’m frustrated and sorry and angry about all of this’

  1. So –

    Upon hearing that Wright did what he did, he immediately told him to release the info publicly (per the Prime Minister)

    After the info was released, Mr. Harper said he had ‘full confidence’ in Mr. Wright.

    And yet, it is the very reason (“obviously”, per the Prime Minister) that he accepted Wright’s resignation a week later.

    • Seconded.
      That is the one thing I can’t wrap my head around. Mr Harper’s answer today seems rather equivocal – which is good. Except it leaves the question, if learning of this led to him accepting Mr Wright’s resignation, why did the PMO, one day after learning of the cheque, state that Mr Wright had the full confidence of the prime minister?
      Can we get an answer to that?

      • Because the “Chess Master” put himself in check. He just kicked over the board and then put the pieces back where he wanted them.

        • And put a few in his pocket.

      • That’s because it took him all week to get sad and angry. He had to read up on human emotions and get advice from his hairstylist on which ones to implement.

      • Because it must have been very difficult for Harper to see Wright for what he did. Wright may have had best intention at heart, but like the PM said, Wright was wrong in that judgement when sitting as a Chief of Staff. Therefore, Harper did accept Wright’s resignation.

        Why is it so difficult for people to understand that the Prime Minister felt deeply hurt by this, but by the same token, Wright had thought to have done the right thing. These relationships between working people are not something to sneer at. I am certain that Harper felt sad for Wright at the same time as he accepted his resignation. You people don’t understand deeply felt emotions very well, if you cannot understand the difficulty of this for the Prime Minister!

        Try to place yourself in his position and find out that someone, someone who you hold in high regard, would have acted like that under your watch. Surely anyone could see that letting someone go after having made such a strange mistake, must have been difficult, to say the least!

        People here act as if Harper and Wright are without emotion. How inhuman for people to think that way!

        • Just a heads up, I don’t intend on discussing anything with you. I read your posts and have zero idea what you’re getting at. With anything. I obtain zero insight from you, and I’m quite certain you obtain zero insight from me.

          So if you’re looking for a conversation, feel free to engage with others on this board. Otherwise, last word is yours.


          • Interesting! Someone saying they are not interested in my posts and are not interested in responding but respond to my post anyways! Gotta love your own twisted logic!

            Just wondering: do you have any idea what the media is getting at?Or Wherry for that matter. Because you seem to respond often to ideas which don’t make sense.

            (don’t forget not to respond to my posts….LOL)

        • The emotions that the PM would have expressed would have been the uttering of 4 letter words. It took a week because they were trying different spins ( helping a friend in need, for the public interest, the PM had full confidence in hi COF ) to avoid Nigel from resigning. Only once they realized that the Canadian public was not buying any of this ( it actually made it worse) they were compelled to go the resignation route. There were not any emotions expressed in Nigel’s resignation statement and the PM’s acceptance, In reading Nigel’s statement it could be interpreted that the PM knew of the cover up but how Mr Duffy was going to repay the amount. Only Nigel can clarify this, Now the question is will he!!!

        • of you can’ t look after expenses or the peoples money your in the wrong business Harper. all the I’m sorries and i didn’t see this coming don’t mean didaltly squat.

  2. As another poster wisely once quoted:

    “At worst, he personally ordered it done and chose the people who
    executed the plan. At the very least, he fostered an attitude within
    the party […], chose the managers of the people who committed
    these crimes and completely and utterly failed to exercise any
    oversight, supervision or leadership.

    In the end, it doesn’t really matter where [his] actions or lack of
    them fall on that scale. He is the leader and a leader is
    responsible for the actions of the people he leads.

    If he had a right or honourable bone in his body, he’d admit that
    and resign immediately.”

    – Stephen Harper, during the Gomery investigation”

    • The Ass and the Old Shepherd by Phaedrus

    • Adscam went on for months, years, before it was uncovered. Duffy has been overbilling for years, but that is something entirely out of Harper’s and Wright’s control/ There is NO WAY Harper could have seen it coming that Duffy would overbill as he had done. There was NO way of knowing that!

      However, the adscam did not play itself out in the senate. Adscam was a Liberal ploy, for months and years, to systematically overpay Quebec ad agencies who would then kick back money into Liberal coffers!

      Get the facts straight before you spew some more nonsense! This country is not being served well by fabricating more lies in order to try and corner Harper for no reason whatsoever!

      • Excellent point, Chretien appointed the Liberal hack Duffy and is responsible for his digressions No doubt that fu Nigel is also a Lieberal holdover. The good news is that Ray is now on the job. Ray has the complete confidence of the Prime Minister and has NOT spend the last few years living in his parent’s basement. Finally we are in good, experienced hands thanks to Stephen Harper!

        • Good tactics, StewartSmith: if your reasoning doesn’t hold up, then resort to nonsense. I had not expected for you to sink that low.

          Good to know how low you are willing to go when your capacity to reason no longer works so well for you.

      • So,,,you totally missed the delicious irony of Old Stephane Harper say…oh, forget it…

        But you are correct on one point: This country is not being served well by fabricating more lies.


        • He didn’t seem to get it, did he?

  3. “I think we’ve dealt with it promptly” said Harper.

    1. Duffy is still in Senate, with full privileges, can still vote etc., and gets to keep the $90,000

    2. Wallin is still in Senate, still can vote, and is still getting full pay and benefits.

    3. Wright has returned to his highly paid job with Onex and retains the full support of Harper (” I want to thank Nigel for his tremendous contribution to our Government
    over the past two and a half years,” Mr. Harper said in a statement.)

    4. And the Senate Committee who leaked info to Harper about their findings so his office could do damage control? And who followed orders from the PMO to “go easy” on Duffy? Well they are now in charge of looking into the matter again. They are in effect, investigating themselves.

    Ya, that’s “dealt with” all right. Good God.

    • You should know that there’s no legal way for Harper to remove any Senator’s, but I’m guessing you’re just pretending to be ignorant in order to fuel the faux outrage. Do you think the PM should be able to remove any Senator he wants to? Should that apply to MP’s also? I guess you don’t really believe in democracy, huh?

      When Wright took the job as chief of staff, he’d indicated at the time that he’d return to Onex once he was done. So he’s doing exactly what he said. What were you expecting, that he’d simply be unemployed for the rest of his life, drinking beer and eating popcorn?

      So yes, it was dealt with promptly. The PM didn’t actually murder everybody involved, as I’m sure you were hoping for. But it was dealt with as best as could be expected.

      • The PM recommended for nomination to the Senate persons he knew were being investigated for breaching the code of ethics of their profession, implicated in breaching the Elections Act or suspected of having mismanaged First Nations funds.

        If that’s the best he could do, if he hasn’t learned anything from this, then he should resign as PM. At the very least he should reassure us that he will never appoint persons being investigated from wrongdoing before the courts or tribunal have rendered a judgment.

        • Allegations are being made every day, within the Native community as well I gather.

          If everyone who has allegations against him or her can therefor never be of service, then we might as well never appoint anyone any longer. Why bother.

          And so, tell us, was the person who had the allegations against them, ever formally charged of anything?

          It’s easy to throw around allegations. CTV did so just two days ago. But what about the follow-up on those counts? Please do tell!

          • Well, yes, he is currently facing charges, criminal charges at that. They are not related to mismanagement of funds but he is facing charges. Francien, in my work I have to check all kinds of stuff, for example, credit checks, and not because I am about to loan money to that person. A bad credit record is a red flag for other reasons.

            The other two were found guilty after the nomination. Duffy was found to have breached the code of ethics of his profession, while the CPC of Canada had to pay a very nice sum in the case of the in-and-out, fraudulent activities that were carried on when Mr. Finley was in charge.

            You claimed in writing to me that you and I cannot share the same values because I am Quebecer and therefore I don’t have Canadian values. So what is it? Is naming people being investigated for wrongdoing to one of the most sensitive position in this country a Western-Canadian value?

            Another value I don’t share with you is accusing people without proof.

          • So no convictions. That’s what I thought. Thank you for telling me that much!

          • Here was your question:

            “And so, tell us, was the person who had the allegations against them, ever formally charged of anything?”
            And I gave you the answer : yes, the person was charged and is awaiting trial. You never asked if there was a conviction. Your comment is there – are you so high on whatever that you can’t read or understand you own comments and questions?
            You think a PM is right to appoint a person whose character, ethics and actions are under investigation. I don’t. You have the right to have your own values, but I question your right to claim that yours are Canadian values whereas mine are not. I would bet my house that most Canadians would rather have the prime minister wait for candidates to be cleared of wrongdoings BEFORE they are appointed to the senate.

          • Yes, the person in question has been charged AFTER he had been appointed to the senate. That does not answer my question if he was charged with anything BEFORE he had been appointed.

          • And that person who has been charged AFTER his appointed was suspected of wrongdoings BEFORE his appointment.

            And Oh My God who in their right mind would have conceived it possible that persons being suspected of wrongdoings could do wrong once they are anointed by Stephen; that persons under investigation for breach of ethics before being appointed to the Senate could behave unethically once they have been anointed to the Senate by Stephen! Certainly not you, and certainly not Stephen Harper. You are obviously the kind to hire a person under investigation for child abuse to drive a school bus.

          • If you are trying to convince me that being ‘suspected’ is the same as being ‘charged’ then I will tell you that I will not be convinced by your argument. Your argument is false.

          • And by the way, sober up. Your question was not ‘if he was charged BEFORE his appointment’. Your question was if he was EVER charged.

            I may not share your values because as I Quebecer I don’t have your Canadian values, as you maintain, but I am sober and I do understand the English language well enough to get by.

          • Please read back your own original post which said:

            ” The PM recommended for nomination to the Senate persons he knew were being investigated for breaching the code of ethics of their profession,implicated in breaching the Elections Act or suspected of having mismanaged First Nations funds.”

            No charges to speak of.

          • Indeed I never did mention charges. YOU DID because unless a person is facing charges he’s OK to drive a school bus even if he is known to be under investigation by the police.. Same goes for Harper. If a person is under investigation for fraud, he is perfect for the Senate. If he is being investigated for breach of ethics, he is perfect for the Senate. No need to wait until he is cleared. And if he is charged, well how were we supposed to imagine such a terrible thing… I get it.
            Your Canadian values are definitely not mine. On that we agree.

      • Inadvertently you raise some good points about where stuff should go from here. There’s been some talk of ethics violations and RCMP involvement. Now is the time to follow up on those ideas, and get everything in line to start dealing out some consequences.

  4. Typical Harper. This is his first fall back position…i didn’t do it. I wasn’t even consulted.
    But with Harper you have to pay attention to the subtext. He’s still holding to the position that Wright was motivated by a need to absolve the public purse of this burden…which is patently absurd. As Hebert said today, wouldn’t it have been far more logical for the CoS to call in the cops to look at Duffy’s dodgy bookeeping, rather than play fairy god father? IOWs what was Wright’s true motive? Was it to protect the party or help out Duffy? The fact that Duffy refused to cooperate with the audit immediately upon getting paid off stinks to high heaven. And that’s before we even get into allegations of the senate committee being accused of changing or altering the Duffy report, and only the Duffy report.

    The media aren’t fools. How long before Harper moves off the Nigel the good but misguided square, and onto the bad, bad, naughty Nigel, but i still didn’t know square?

  5. So how long until the Conservative Party/Bay Street establishment come riding to the defence of this wise, intelligent, well educated, decent, religious, rich, skilled former Onex executive who has now been thrown under the bus where he will be run over time and time again with not one single person to keep him company down there?

    • I don’t think Harper has run over him yet, just thrown him under the bus. Notice he is still clinging to the Nigel was only doing what he thought was best fig leaf. How long that will last depends on the staying power of the media…and just how gullible they are.

  6. Not as frustrated and sorry and angry as he’s ‘going’ to be.

    • Look who the cat dragged in… welcome back.

      • Thank you…..I think. LOL

        • I’m trying out courtesy just for the novelty of it. I’m sure we’ll be back to harsh words and dirty looks in no time.

          • S’okay…..I read and consider your opinions before discarding them….I don’t bother doing that with most comments here. Heh.

        • I’m glad to see you back here. Too.

          • Oooh thank you!

          • I agree for different reasons. Thank goodness you’re back.

            But seriously in Fridays Star Rick Salutin wrote a very nice piece about his relationship with Peter Worthington through the years.

            These commenters are reflecting that spirit. I think!

          • Yes, people can like each other and genuinely disagree at the same time. Makes for a much more interesting board than one where everyone agrees on everything. Boring! I like boards where I learn things, or see things in a different way….ones that make me think.

            My biggest problem is that I’m neither left nor right…..so I have no ideolgy to fall back on, and always have to find new directions to explain.

      • You seriously believe EmilyOne has been absent from this comment board? LOL. Her name might have been in hiding but not so much the rest of EmilyOne, would be my guess!

        • Aaaaand…graceful as always.

  7. I can guarantee that Harper isn’t as frustrated or angry as Canadians!

    • I doubt most Canadians care about it…..or even know about it.

      Politicians…elected or appointed….have been lining their pockets forever….and engaging in outrageous behavior.forever.

      It’ll blow over and be forgotten…until the next time.

      Even now,people are insisting we NEED a senate….just better senators. Or more rules. Or better watchdogs.

      It won’t change. Ten years from now we can screm about it again.

      • Since I moved out of Ottawa, I’ve been amazed by how disconnected people are. Even feeling a little less plugged in myself

        But they are starting to talk about this one…

        • Gggnnyyyaaa I dunno …I’ve been around 66 years and thru this same stuff many times.

          It’s always going to be ‘different’…..it just never is.

          Unless they eliminate the Senate….you’ll hear all this again ten years from now.

      • Certainly they talk more about Rob Ford where I live, and the treatment he was given by US night time TV.
        We’ll see what the courts have to say about the Senate.

        • Oh it makes great gossip at the watercooler….but that’s about it.

          Look what Bill Clinton was doing in the Oval office….makes Ford look like a piker

          …Cash, sex, power, drugs….all daily events in our world

          The senate can be eliminated. It has no purpose.

  8. There are a handful of reporters paying to go along on this
    trip. Unfortunately, they are there to focus on the Senate debacle
    and I doubt we will hear very much about the purpose of the trip.
    Other than it is a “trade mission” .. a term that can cover a variety
    of sins.
    The purpose is to bring in the heavy hitters on behalf of mining
    companies that are encountering a lot of resistance from the locals ..
    on the west side of the Andes because of the use of massive amounts
    of water in modern mining techniques. The west side of the Andes is very dry
    and people are concerned that water will be scarce and contaminated.
    The east side of the Andes (where most of the rain falls) has its’ own
    problems in the Amazon Basin with indigenous peoples killing oil
    exploration employees because of territorial intrusion and water
    Unfortunately, we won’t hear a lot about from Canada’s press.
    Fortunately, there are other sources.

    • I agree with you, but one can only blame Harper for that. He refused to address the press in Canada as he should have done.

  9. Mr. Harper obviously likes to use the word “obviously” to characterize situations that are anything but.

  10. I’m sure Harper is frustrated, but most right wing Christians are.