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Stephen Harper promises service club tax credit, defends chief of staff

Harper, the only party leader with an event this day, appeared in Rockland, Ont. to defend Ray Novak by name


 
Conservative leader Stephen Harper and wife Laureen donate food and stock shelves with pastor and food band director Michel Castilloux and wife Vivian Castiloux as they make a campaign stop at the Life Centre in Blackburn Hamlet, Ontario, on Sunday, August 23, 2015. (Sean Kilpatrick/CP)

Conservative leader Stephen Harper and wife Laureen donate food and stock shelves with pastor and food band director Michel Castilloux and wife Vivian Castiloux as they make a campaign stop at the Life Centre in Blackburn Hamlet, Ontario, on Sunday, August 23, 2015. (Sean Kilpatrick/CP)

OTTAWA – The revelations of the Mike Duffy trial have placed Stephen Harper’s two most recent chiefs of staff in a spotlight that has repeatedly outshone the Conservative leader’s federal campaign messaging.

On Sunday, the prime minister came down firmly on the side of this current chief of staff — Ray Novak.

And Harper did so by name, for the first time.

As he faced another question about the trial revelations — one that elicited a few noticeable groans from Conservative campaign supporters in Rockland, Ont. — Harper stuck to his core message about the controversial $90,000 repayment of Duffy’s expenses.

He again laid the blame at the feet of Duffy, for wrongly claiming the expenses, and of Nigel Wright, his previous chief of staff, for paying them back.

Harper prefaced his latest comment, though, with a hint that he’s discussed the matter with Novak, one of his most trusted, long-time aides. But he didn’t elaborate.

“Mr. Novak has been very clear with me,” Harper said Sunday, using his name for the first time after more than a week of questioning by journalists.

Harper emphasized that Wright was the person in charge of his office back in 2013 when all of the Duffy machinations were unfolding, and was therefore the sole staffer responsible for paying back money the senator should have reimbursed himself.

“Instead Mr. Wright did that for him — and I grant he paid back the taxpayers — but he did so without my knowledge, and without my agreement,” said Harper.

“And these were his actions, he was boss and he is fully responsible for them.”

Harper was kicking off the fourth week of the federal campaign, and he faces one more week of evidence from Duffy’s fraud trial, which resumes Monday before it adjourns until November, after the Oct. 19 election.

Last week, the prime minister’s former lawyer Benjamin Perrin testified that Novak — then Harper’s principal secretary — was present on two occasions when Wright’s payment was discussed. That contradicted assertions from Harper and the Conservative campaign about what Novak knew about the repayment scheme.

Harper once again maintained Sunday that he wasn’t going to comment on the evidence of a trial that was still ongoing.

As Harper wound up last week’s campaigning, Novak remained with the Conservative team but had dropped out of the public eye. That fuelled speculation about whether testimony from the Duffy trial linking him to the Duffy payment scheme might mean Novak’s days at Harper’s side were also numbered.

But on Sunday, Novak was spotted at a campaign stop in Rockland, Ont., where Harper promised tax relief for service club members.

Harper was the only leader of the main parties expected to hold a public event on Sunday.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau had no campaign events planned.


 

Stephen Harper promises service club tax credit, defends chief of staff

  1. Where is the transparency, openness and accountability? The only Canadian citizens allowed to attend a stop on Harper’s campaign trail are hand-picked in advance and screened by Conservative party officials. “You need to have been invited and if you don’t have a ticket then you’re not getting in,” Conservative party spokesperson Kory Teneycke

    Stephen Harper, he’s just not ready for democracy.

  2. Another stupid tax credit. They do nothing, except mess up the tax code and cost money which is never really accounted for. I forgot: Harper only uses them to buy votes 50 at a time. So I guess before we get to election time, may be people who have blue eyes and who get out of bed in the morning will be offered a tax credit.

  3. Is this the jump the shark moment for the insane tax credit for everything Harper vote buying con game?
    You get a tax credit and cut government revenues, increase deficits, and rob government of its ability to provide services in order to get a tax credit on your Rotary Club dues!
    Won’t the most devoted Harper apologist in Ottawa media elite do an eye roll or even laugh out loud at this one?

  4. The Duffy case highlights several issues in my mind. Proper vetting of senate appointees was not done or Harper would have known that 4, (at least!), did not meet the constitutional requirements for that designation. He did know, and didn’t care, because he wanted to stack the senate in his favour. To hell with the Constitution, essentially flipping the bird to the Canadian taxpapers, Each Senator receives a salary of approximately $163,700.00 annually, with a $22,000 annual housing allowance and $161,200.00 annual office budget; this is just the tip of expenses. Knowingly, Harper defrauded Canadians when he appointed Brazeau, Wallin, Duffy, Patterson in 2009 despite not meeting the required credentials.This behaviour by the PM, alone, has cost taxpayers $78504000.00, excluding the cost of the audit ($23 million), the lawsuits, etc, and the wages of the most corrupt and decietful PMO we have seen. We are still paying his and his corrupt staffs salaries, and he doesn’t even have the integrity to be honest with Canadians. Yet, the Harperites will still tell you it has only to do with the $90,000 cheque that Wright cut Duffy, that didn’t cost citizens a dime

  5. Why did bill C-269 not get debated at all over the past two years, since it is supported by both Conservatives and the NDP?

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