Mike Duffy and the PMO’s communications specialists

A new email in the Duffy affair


Sean Kilpatrick/CP

CTV has apparently obtained an email that suggests the Prime Minister’s Office was ready to work with Mike Duffy on the communications strategy around the repayment of his expenses.

An e-mail obtained by CTV News shows that on Feb. 20, two days before the repayment announcement, senior PMO officials approached Mr. Duffy to help him explain things. The electronic message, sent to Mr. Duffy from his lawyer Janice Payne, informs him she’s been contacted by a PMO lawyer who works for Mr. Wright. The Prime Minister’s Office names two PMO staffers who are standing by to craft messages for Mr. Duffy.

“Chris Woodcock of his office and Patrick Rogers are communications specialists – very talented and happy to work with you to develop various strategies around communications,” Ms. Payne wrote in the e-mail to Mr. Duffy.

The Prime Minister’s Office says, “This is not an email we have seen. It appears to be correspondence between Mr. Duffy and his counsel and without any context or detail it is difficult to comment on.” But the email is potentially relevant because of what Mr. Duffy told the Senate two weeks ago.

Senator LeBreton, some Conservative MPs and some PMO spinners have been attacking me for saying I had gotten a loan at the RBC. Some people, colleagues, just have no shame. That line about RBC was part of a script written for me and emailed to me by the PMO.

On February 21, after all of the threats and intimidation, I reluctantly agreed to go along with this dirty scheme. The PMO spin machine was in high gear. Cellphone and PMO telephone records from February will show there were numerous phone calls and emails to me as the PMO developed their version of events and rehearsed with me right up until minutes before I went on television the lines I would use with the media.

Early on, in those discussions with the PMO, the PMO experts predicted the media would ask, “Where did you get the $90,000?” When they heard that I had been using a line of credit to renovate my home in Cavendish, they jumped right on it. It was suggested I go to the RBC, borrow the cash to pay off that line of credit, and then, when the media asked, “Where did you get the money to pay the $90,000?”, the PMO told me to say, “My wife and I took out a loan at the Royal Bank.”

Well, that’s technically correct. We took out a loan, but that loan wasn’t to repay money, the $90,000 that the PMO agreed I didn’t owe. That line was written by the PMO to deceive Canadians as to the real source of the $90,000.

The day after Mr. Duffy made this speech to the Senate, Thomas Mulcair pursued this specific matter with the Prime Minister. Here is how the Prime Minister responded.

Mr. Speaker, the story that Mr. Duffy had reimbursed his own expenses when, in fact, he had not was the story of Mr. Duffy and Mr. Wright.

Let me repeat that. The story that Mr. Duffy had reimbursed his own expenses when, in fact, he had not was the story of Mr. Duffy and Mr. Wright. It is completely unacceptable for me and for the public to be misled in this way. That is why Mr. Wright no longer works here and that is why Mr. Duffy should not be on the public payroll, and the Senate should take action.

The suggestion here would seem to be that whoever was involved, the responsibility for this scheme lies with Mr. Wright and Mr. Duffy. (Last week, Mr. Harper said Nigel Wright “undertook these particular actions using his own resources, his own authority, and his own initiative,” a phrase he later repeated.)

Mr. Wright has told the RCMP that he recalls telling Mr. Woodcock, formerly the director of issues management in the PMO, about his decision to cover Mr. Duffy’s expenses. CTV has previously claimed that Mr. Rogers, formerly the manager of parliamentary affairs in the PMO, was also aware of Mr. Wright’s cheque.


Mike Duffy and the PMO’s communications specialists

  1. If this kind of spin don’t work for you steve, don’t forget, you can always blame Justin Trudeau.

    • Duffy is spinning. And now Wherry is trying to get some traction on Duffy’s spin.

      It won’t work!

      • Earth to Francien, the author dosnt need to get traction on this PMO scandal, he is just stating the facts, the tires are all ready dug in on this story and will be until 2015. Harper may need studded tires with chains on them, to get out of this mess.

      • Thus sayeth the Queen of spin.

  2. Yeah, they’re real pros.
    “A wise man never lies.”

    • What does that say about our PM?

      • That for years he has been misleading the public systematically without actually lying.

        Until now.

  3. This news was around before the weekend and no other newsoutets besides the G&M have picked up on it.

    An email between Duffy and his legal council is what? Nothing more than an email between Duffy and his legal council. So what?

    Perhaps Duffy and his lawyer were pre-occupied with leaving some kind of trail. A trail which does not exist in the PMO but does exist now between Duffy and his lawyer.

    Perhaps Duffy was peeved that the PMO would not instruct Duffy as to what to say about the payment being made.

    Duffy is in trouble, and he knows it.

    • I was hoping that you had disappeared for a long nap.

      Stephen Harper is a liar. We have established that.

      Maybe it is time to move on.

      • Its like interacting with a Monty Python character.

        Or some version of a Rob Schneider SNL character.

    • “This news was around before the weekend and no other newsoutets besides the G&M have picked up on it.”

      Which is usually(for kooks like you and john g) proof of the media’s bias.

    • It’s counsel.

      Tomorrow Rob Ford will face the city council.

      You are getting mixed up in your talking points.

    • Sorry, Frankie, that’s a load of bollocks. Apparently Duffy’s counsel handed over more than 200-pages of documents to the RCMP and there are plenty more. You can try to pretend this is only about Duffy but it’s not. It’s about a dishonest and corrupt prime minister, the worst we’ve seen in Canada.

      I guess you haven’t heard that all those documents that Harper claimed were nowhere to be found in the PMO mysteriously surfaced after the RCMP turned up the heat. Harper had no choice. Wright turned them over and so did Duffy.

    • “Didn’t we already know this? I pointed you at it several days ago. It was from a tweet from Coyne.”

      Hilarious! Aren’t you the fellow that’s always weeping and wailing about how the media is out to get poor Conservatives if every story you believe to be favourable to your cause isn’t reported, not in a wire story or elsewhere, but immediately on this blog?

    • Different email.

      That’s the email that Duffy would allege shows Woodcock checking to see if Duffy was following the PMO written script. This new email purports to be evidence that Duffy’s RBC line was in fact a talking point given to him by the PMO.

      The first email is difficult to analyze, since Duffy would say that Woodcock first gave him the script, then told him to stick to that script no matter what, then sent him an email asking a question that Duffy interpreted as a test of whether or not Duffy was following the script. Woodcock might argue “If I knew about where the money was coming from, why would I ask where the money was coming from?” which is a good question, but again, Duffy would argue that he asked in order to test out the script and make sure Duffy was following it (and arguably to create a paper trail that included the scripted lines).

      This new email from Duffy’s lawyer to Duffy is the first email indication that the PMO did indeed create a script for Duffy, and told him to follow it. What’s more, it indicates that Woodcock specifically (according to Duffy’s lawyer) was involved in the communications strategy. If the latest email is to be taken at face value, it raises questions about Woodcock’s later email in May. It’s harder for Woodcock to argue that he didn’t know about the Wright repayment plan in May, if there’s evidence that he was involved in the communications strategy regarding the repayment back in February. Woodcock’s argument that he didn’t know about Wright’s cheque is also at variance with what Wright has told the police.

      • Don’t forget we’re talking about fewer than a dozen documents but the stuff Wright and Duffy handed over are in the hundreds. Duffy turned over more than 200-pages of materials and he’s still got far more than that.

  4. Hmm. This is related to one aspect of the debacle that I think is severely under-reported on: the PMO people — Wright, lawyers, etc, took to using their personal email addresses instead of their work ones. The only reason they did this was to reduce/stop the paper trail — in other words, to obfuscate. Isn’t this a kind of fraud? — I guess it is what it is, but I don’t understand why Gerstein hasn’t been suspended, and the PMO 13 fired. Harper wants to look tough, but he just looks foolish, admitting all these people were playing fast and loose with his integrity.

    • Clearly, Harper is not a leader.

      • He is a treasonous fascist that should be sent to the gallows and hanged,..or walked to a guillotine.

    • Good point. This was standard procedure in Karl Rove’s White House, to give you an idea of the company we’re keeping.

    • What’s funny is how rarely this ploy works. As soon as the cops are involved, they don’t just go after records for a person’s work email, they go after EVERYTHING.

      It’s a little disheartening in 2013 that there are people at this level of power who think that hiding a conspiracy is as simple as using a Gmail account instead of your gc.ca account.

  5. When they heard that I had been using a line of credit to renovate my home in Cavendish, they jumped right on it. It was suggested I go to the RBC, borrow the cash to pay off that line of credit

    So in Duffy’s own words, the PMO told him to take out a personal loan to repay the money. And he did, yet he STILL went to Nigel Wright to cover the expenses, even though he had the means himself to repay them. What a scum bag!

    So now we’re so far down the rabbit hole that Duffy and his lawyer are leaking e-mails between the two of them in an attempt to smear the PMO. Wonderful. It makes Duffy look even more crooked than we already know.

    • Of course, the PMO could release information to show its innocence, nothing stopping them from doing that. Yet, they aren’t. So all we have is Duffy’s email trail. I, for one, just want to know the truth. I don’t really care who it comes from, but if it’s going to be released in dribs and drabs, it’s going to take a long time. How about you: do you want to know the truth or not?

      • They might even give a straight answer in the House to help us to believe he is trying to tell the truth.

    • No – a personal loan to pay off that line of credit.
      Seriously NotRick, there are adult literacy programs in communities across the country. Find one.

    • Are you for real? Can you not follow those three sentences to see that the “loan” was the line of credit already obtained?

      Yeesh, I guess it *is* true what they say about some folks.

      • The irony is that – in his false bio – he claimed to be a bank manager.

        • Perhaps he is. Idiots come is all walks of life.

    • So in Duffy’s own words, the PMO told him to take out a personal loan to repay the money.

      That’s not what Duffy’s saying. Re-read the above.

      The PMO didn’t tell him to get a loan to pay back the expenses he owed the Senate, they told him to get a loan to pay back the line of credit he had for making renovations to his house. What they told him, according to Duffy, was “If anyone asks where the money came from, say that you bowrrowed money from RBC. It’s true, after all, that you did borrow money from RBC, and hopefully no one will follow up and see that the loan you got went to pay back your home renovations line of credit”.

      So, according to Duffy, the PMO didn’t tell him to take out a new loan to repay the Senate, what they told him to do was to take out a new loan and use it to pay off his existing line of credit, so that he could reference said new loan if anyone asked where the Senate repayment came from. If that’s true, it means that they KNEW someone was going to ask where the money came from, and what’s more, they knew that the answer “Nigel Wright wrote a cheque” was going to be a problem, so they created a smokescreen.

      It was a shell game according to Duffy. The PMO got him to take out a second loan from the bank, and use it to pay back a line of credit that he already owed the bank, solely in order to create the paper trail of a second loan. Once that second loan existed, it could be pointed to if anyone asked him where the Senate repayment came from. It might have worked too, if people had kept quiet. If the police hadn’t started talking to Wright, and the PMO hadn’t gone after Duffy, I think it’s entirely possible that the media would have just assumed that the second loan was how Duffy paid the Senate back, and no one would have even noticed that he paid off his line of credit at the same time.

    • Another point that Duffy would make is that he never went to Nigel Wright to cover the expenses. Duffy’s argument is that he refused all along to pay the expenses back because he didn’t think he’d done anything wrong, and what’s more that Nigel Wright had told him that he hadn’t done anything wrong.

      Duffy didn’t ask Nigel Wright to pay the money back, he was insistent that NO ONE pay the money back. The supposition is that Wright paid the money back himself in order to get Duffy to not scream to high heaven that the expenses were fine and shouldn’t be repaid, and what’s more that he (Duffy) is SURE that the expenses were fine and shouldn’t need to be repaid because the Prime Minister’s Chief of staff TOLD HIM SO.

      • R.O. Loves revisionist history

    • Nice spin. Do you get dizzy doing that?

    • No. You misread the e-mail. Purposely, I presume.

    • The problem is that the PMO, via Wright, assured Duffy that his expenses were legitimate. Would you pay something back that you were told was legitimate – just to solve the party’s political problem. The Senate could have garnished Duffy’s wages but the PMO wanted to make the grand gesture of him paying it back and then claiming Duffy was showing leadership.

    • Get real, Omen. We have two irreconcilable accounts here – Duffy’s and Harper’s. Of the two, one is proving utterly consistent with the documents. That would be Duffy’s account. The prime minister can’t keep his constantly shifting lies straight much less come up with something that even vaguely comports with the facts and known documents. Duffy smearing the PMO? Yeah, right. Somebody looks more crooked by the day but that’s Harper, not Duffy.

  6. The Leftist Mental Disorder that is constantly on display on these threads is quite sad and pathetic, get some help.

    • Well now, that was clever. Such whit! I feel much informed by this post.

    • The truth IS hard to take – like cod liver oil, but it works. Little by little the layers of the onion will get peeled back until Mr. Harper will have no place to hide. And that’s the main issue here. Stephen Harper has crafted too many hiding places for himself, and it’s up to people like Lord K’s Own to keep following the dots (btw his name doesn’t sound left-wing – do you know who Lord Kitchener was, Billy Bob?). God knows that Mr. Harper will do everything he can to stop the story in its tracks.

    • You should be walked to the guillotines with the rest of you treasonous Tories.

  7. It’s beyond curious that Duffy’s account alone is consistently shown by the documents to be true. By contrast, Harper can’t even keep his constantly shifting lies straight. It’s no wonder Harper claimed there were no documents about any of this in the PMO until the RCMP turned up the heat. He knew those documents put the lie to everything he was saying and corroborated Duffy’s story. Duffy’s lawyer, senior counsel Don Bayne, has said there are documents that directly implicate Stephen Harper in this. The truth finally catches up to the most dishonest prime minister in Canadian history.

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