Who knows how it came about, but CTV reporter Daniele Hamamdjian chased down Nigel Wright, the former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, as he jogged along Laurier Avenue in Ottawa’s Sandy Hill neighbourhood at about 4 a.m. last night. Wright, slightly out of breath, stopped briefly, composed himself, and blurted out a few words. He didn’t say much, only that he was cooperating with ethics commissioner Mary Dawson’s investigation into a $90,000 personal cheque he gave to Senator Mike Duffy to cover improperly claimed expenses. And then he was off, jogging down Nelson Street.
The encounter came at the end of a day that, in Toronto, saw Mayor Rob Ford lose his top communications advisers only a few days after firing his chief of staff. Yesterday, the mayor insisted to reporters outside his office that everything was hunky dory—or “business as usual,” in his words—at City Hall. Laughable, obviously, but what else did anyone expect him to say?
You get the sense that Canada’s two competing scandals—Ford’s denials that he was caught smoking crack on tape, and the multi-faceted Senate expense controversy plaguing Ottawa—are moving in one direction. A dogged press is, well, being dogged in its pursuit of the truth in both cases. A single-minded political opposition, particularly in Ottawa, is forcing the issue. And it’s clear that neither Harper’s Conservatives or the Ford brothers have a crisis communications plan worth writing home about.
Harper’s team and the Ford brothers are political survivors, to be sure. But they’re also human. They must be getting tired.
What’s above the fold this morning?
The Globe and Mail leads with Ontario’s plan to increase the number of women in senior corporate roles. The National Post fronts the arrest in Panama of Arthur Porter, the businessman who allegedly took illegal payments as he helped SNC-Lavalin secure a $1.3-billion hospital construction contract in Montreal. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with a police probe into the existence of a video allegedly featuring Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine. The Ottawa Citizen leads with questions about Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s absence from Question Period on Monday, a day he usually skips the 45-minute session. iPolitics fronts desperate Conservative attempts to deflect criticism to the opposition. CBC.ca leads with Porter’s arrest on fraud charges. National Newswatch showcases CTV News’ impromptu 4 a.m. interview with Nigel Wright, Harper’s former chief of staff, as he jogged through Ottawa’s.Sandy Hill neighbourhood.
Stories that will be (mostly) missed
|1. Nigel Wright. Newfoundland Premier Kathy Dunderdale says former PMO chief of staff Nigel Wright pressured her government to make concessions on local fisheries to solidify an EU trade deal.||2. Eritrea. Eritreans living in Canada are allegedly subject to threats if they don’t pay two per cent of their income to the governing regime, charges denied by the country’s consul in Toronto.|
|3. Hong Kong. After a huge influx of Hong Kong residents migrated to Canada in the 1990s, thousands have since returned home—and over 350,000 HK residents now hold Canadian citizenship.||4. Research council. John McDougall, the President of the National Research Council, has gradually lured four colleagues from his past gig at Alberta’s research council—an innovation-focused body.|