Wright and Duffy: the contrast in styles is vivid, but what about the rules?

John Geddes on the conflict of interest potential in a besieged senator’s $90,000 gift


Sean Kilpatrick/CP

It is tempting to frame the news that Nigel Wright, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, took the extraordinary step of personally giving more than $90,000 to Mike Duffy, the senator from (ostensibly) Prince Edward Island, strictly in terms of the stark contrast between the two main characters.

The story—broken over at CTV by Robert Fife—has Wright giving Duffy a fat cheque to allow him to repay improperly claimed Senate housing allowances. The gift-giver could hardly be a more guardedly low-profile public office holder; the recipient is about the most outsized character in the Upper Chamber.

If Duffy’s fame as a longtime TV news personality, before his Senate appointment, was once a boon to the Conservatives, allowing him to serve as a party fundraising draw, that same notoriety now makes this unwelcome story that much bigger. And if Wright’s reticence was previously seen as an exemplary attribute in a Harper-era political aide, that same discretion might make him seem, in this new context, a rather shadowy figure.

But there aren’t just fascinating political personas in play here. There are rules. Specifically, The Conflict of Interest Code for Senators, which stipulates clearly that senators may not accept any gift “that could reasonably be considered to relate to the senator’s position.”  The sole, narrowly defined exception to that prohibition is for gifts “received as a normal expression of courtesy or protocol, or within the customary standards of hospitality.”

The code is a more technical framing device for the story. Wright’s gift of money to Duffy obviously “relates to the senator’s position,” and just as obviously doesn’t amount to “a normal expression of courtesy.” So is Senate Ethics Officer Lyse Ricard looking into the matter? She won’t say.  In an email, Ricard’s office said she “cannot publicly comment on the individual circumstances of senators,” and nothing much else.

The besieged Duffy is unlikely to offer up a satisfying explanation for how he felt entitled to accept the gift. But might Wright feel obliged, given his influential position, to explain himself? After all, he is the most powerful political staffer in Ottawa, the key link between Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office and the senior staffs of his cabinet ministers.

The PMO reportedly says that Wright was motivated by his personal friendship with Duffy, and that Harper didn’t know about the unusual gift. Still, it seems unlikely the Prime Minister will be able to distance himself too far from the actions of his top adviser on such a significant issue of judgment, and one touching directly on an issue Harper has often made his own—Senate reform.

Almost all Canadians know Duffy from his long run as a TV news personality before Harper named him to the Senate. But Wright was a Toronto investment executive before Harper recruited him in 2010, highly regarded in his circles but unknown beyond them. Apart from appearing before a parliamentary committee at the outset, he has almost never been in the public eye, despite his lofty position in Ottawa.

There have been a few stories. Early this year, federal Ethics Commission Ethics Mary Dawson found that Wright had not violated the Conflict of Interest Act when he was lobbied, as reported by the Canadian Press, by Barrick Gold Corp., whose founder, Peter Munk and his son, Anthony Munk, are Wright’s close friends.

As well, Maclean’s reported last fall that Wright had been lobbied by representatives of the Canadian venture capital sector, which he worked in before taking his job with Harper and is expected to return to when he exits politics. Wright said that lobbying didn’t involve the “private interest” of his old company, Onex Corp., and so he had not violated any conflict of interest rules.

If nothing more, Wright’s evident links to powerful and wealthy business interests now add to the intrigue of his personal intervention in the Duffy saga. They make an unusual duo—offering plenty for opposition QP tacticians to work with. But this shouldn’t be merely about Question Period fireworks when the House resumes sitting after its break this week. This should be a moment to seriously test the rules and probe the assumptions that govern the actions of those lucky enough to be appointed by the Prime Minister to high office.



Wright and Duffy: the contrast in styles is vivid, but what about the rules?

  1. If Harper hopes to retain even a shred of that now much-tattered mantle of transparent and accountable government he donned when first taking office, then these two need to step down. Now.

    • Now Keith, Nigel Wright gave the $90K out of his pocket to pay back the Canadian taypayer. He isn’t even a politician and he is concerned about the Canadian taxpayers getting ripped off. I think we should keep him around. Maybe he would donate money for all the other Senators who aren’t going to pay back what they should like Brazeau and Harb.

      • No, he did it to buy votes from duffy and or to buy his silence. If it was on the up and up, duffy would have declared the gift, like he’s supposed to, but instead they got caught trying to pull a fast one.

        • I don’t think he needed to buy Duffy or his silence. Duffy has always voted with the PM.

          • And do you know for a fact that duffy hasn’t taken other bribes in the past, say a fancy senators position?

        • Remember, Mr. Wright consulted a lawyer with the PMO regarding the transaction. Perhaps he and Duffy had legal advice regarding the money which went to the taxpayer, not Mr. Duffy.

          • Consulting a lawyer – but not the ethics commissioner, you’ll note.

            funny that.

          • Than they should have known better. The fact that a lawyer is involved just makes it that much shadier.

          • That is ridiculous.

          • This comment was deleted.

          • Oh I am sure some mobsters do consult their lawyers before committing crimes. In fact that was on an episode of Law and Order.
            However, to say that all lawyers are “shady”, is a ridiculous supposition.
            I am sorry you don’t want to debate issues. Given the number of comments you make on online forums, I thought you understood that debate is what occurs. I am hardly “lying for duffy and wright”. I have no clue what actually transpired and frankly from the looks of things, I don’t think Duffy should be in the senate and I believe Mr. Wright made a bad judgment. However, I do appreciate the taxpayer getting back some of the funds that were wrongly given out. Obviously we have major problems with this government and past governments with regard to arrogance, entitlement and crapping away hard-earned taxpayer money. Now, if you don’t want to debate with me, feel free NOT to respond to my threads, Justin and I will do the same thing for you.

          • The lawyer held the cheque ‘in trust’,
            the cheque never went into Duffy’s name nor his bank account.
            Duffy paid the expenses with proceeds from a loan he got from RBC

      • The rules are clear; Wright, as CoS, is in a position where breaking them – in a properly run government – would cost him his job. His motives don’t really matter – although I highly doubt they are as altruistic as you seem to think.

      • Or, if by chance you are right and this is somehow just a big mistake, then – to use Harper’s pet phrase of the month – these two are clearly in over their heads.

        • I didn’t say it was “a big mistake”. I said they are claiming it was a kind gesture from one friend to another who is down on his luck. Perhaps a kind gesture to Mr. Duffy’s wife because she and Mr. Duffy are having financial problems and Mr. Duffy is not well. It seems Mr. Wright consulted a lawyer from the PMO’s office. Perhaps he had legal advice regarding “the gift” before he gave it.

          • no.

          • I know you guys could NEVER believe a friend would give someone $90K but I am not that skeptical. Also, I am trying to come up with reasons why Duffy is worth $90K to Nigel Wright if he isn’t his friend. Duffy has zero credibility and it isn’t like they haven’t cut people lose before. Come up with a credible explanation that doesn’t involve Nigel Wright stealing $90K from the government after he wrote a personal cheque to Duffy and I’ll bite…maybe.

          • I have no doubt a good friend would do that. It’s the people in question, I doubt. Scum like duffy don’t have real friends.

          • What we don’t know. I have read many times that Duffy claims to know where every skeleton is buried in Ottawa. Unless you believe we know everything there is to know about everything that has happened in Ottawa since Mike Duffy became a journalist…

          • If he isn’t fired he must have stuff on the PM, lots of damaging stuff. Think Helena Geurgis.

          • “but I am not that skeptical”

            Would be interesting to know what you thought at the time when we all found out Jack Layton had once been found in a massage parlour apparently with no clothes on . . . surely you thought he was just getting some sore back muscles taken care of.

          • It is funny that you would bring that up because you are on a thread with a lot of people who thought Jack was getting “sore back muscles taken care of”. Something you must be aware of is that here on Macleans online, we are a partisan bunch and we tend to wear blinders when it comes to the…hmm.. indiscretions of our own.
            Now if Nigel Wright had paid Pat Martin’s legal bills, we might not have heard a peep.

          • And no peep if millionaire Paul Martin paid Harb’s Senate expenses.

          • …which would imply that their breach of the Senate Code was either deliberate but they figured Canadians are too dumb to figure it out or too tuned out to care – or it was… a big mistake.

            Take your pick.

            But with a PMO lawyer involved, it was surely an informed “mistake”…

          • OR….the PMO lawyer told them that it was not a breach… we will have to find out.

          • Any way you look at it, duffy, wright and the lawyers are in over their heads. And are about to find out exactly how penashue feels.

          • If there really was a PMO lawyer involved then wouldn’t it be hard to believe the PM was not made aware?

            I am no lawyer myself and have not had occasion to deal with one in professional matters, but it strikes me that the PMO lawyer, having professional and fiduciary responsibility to the office, would be professionally required to divulge any information on such dealings to the actual office holder.

          • Just because a lawyer who works for the PMO was consulted, it doesn’t mean the lawyer was necessarily consulted in his/her capacity as a lawyer working for the PMO. If I ask a physician at the hospital about a personal health matter, it becomes a consultation between myself and the physician and therefore private. My guess is that Wright would consult a lawyer who works at the PMO because that person would specialize in law relating to conflicts of interest for those who hold office. He would likely consult the lawyer separately from his formal position and ask him to take on extra work. As Wright’s lawyer in this case, the PMO lawyer would have to respect solicitor/client confidentiality. As such, the business they discussed would remain private.

          • Listen to yourself. Sheesh.

          • What exactly did I say that was inaccurate?

          • No, that just raises more questions.

            If the lawyer was consulted outside his official capacity, why mention at all it was a PMO lawyer?

            If there was such a consultation, then who paid for the services?

            And wouldn’t a PMO lawyer ‘moonlighting’ on a matter involving a key staffer from the office for which he (the lawyer) is responsible, that has implications for the staffer’s employer (the PM), (and for which the lawyer has a responsibility to ensure all applicable laws are adhered to) be in some kind of professional conflict?

            Its not like the lawyer was being asked to do some pro bono work for, say, a contractual issue for a local charity that his wife is involved with.

            I would think the lawyer from PMO should not have agreed to have any part of this and have referred the parties to the conflict of interest commissioner, or if he believed any breaches of law were being committed, advise the necessary authorities (and provide counsel to the office holder of the PMO on his options).

          • You don’t think public sector workers take on side jobs outside of work hours in public service? What rule stops them for taking a second job?

          • A PMO lawyer is not a clerk working at the Passport office, who also works part time as a bartender in a nightclub.

            A PMO lawyer would be, I think, bound by a code of professional ethics; doing side work of the nature of this transaction would probably not pass muster under that consideration, because the situation between Duffy and Wright would be of interest to the PMO in general, and the office holder in particular.

            Now, if they consulted some other lawyer with no connection to the government, fine . . . but when they specifically mention the lawyer was a PMO lawyer, I would suspect that said lawyer would be professionally bound to tell his formal client about this issue, and not as a fait accompli.

            If that did not happen, then one could conclude Harper is not in control of his office, which is cause for concern.

          • Apparently there are at least 120 people who work in the PMO. Would you care to venture how many of them are lawyers? I would say you are correct, Harper doesn’t control the office. Rather, he has Nigel Wright who he trusts to control the office for him.

          • One thing the ‘office manager’ should not be doing is making decisions like this then leaving the boss with a fait accompli.

            We’ve all heard about how controlling Stephen Harper is towards his caucus, but he trusts Wright. I can understand . . . Wright is smart, savvy and accomplished. However, if Wright did this on his own without the PM’s knowledge, it might just turn out that Wright is one who shouldn’t have been trusted.

            At this stage, Harper probably needs Winston Wolf.


          • Which would have been a very dumb mistake on the lawyer’s part.

          • Why would it be a dumb mistake on the lawyer’s part?

          • If he advised them to ignore and deliberately breach the Code, it certainly wasn’t clever advice… I’d think it would be bad on a level that could earn censure or even disbarment from LSUC.

            Of course it’s possible Duffy & Wright ignored his sound advice – in which case the whole mess is squarely back in their laps.

          • No, the lawyer would give legal advice regarding whether the gift breached the code and who Wright and Duffy would have to contact regarding the gift. The lawyer would not give advice to breach a code but rather his/her interpretation on the legalities of the wording of the code.

          • You’re assuming (a) the lawyer is ethical and (b) knew what s/he was doing. With this crowd, that seems to be a rather big assumption..

          • You are assuming that (a) the lawyer had ALL the information ie: knew that Duffy had maybe “double dipped” in his expense claims and that is why he didn’t want to present them to the auditor. (b) that the lawyer had any reason to doubt the scenario they were being presented with was authentic (personal friend/ill health/bad finances….)
            We were told a lawyer from the PMO was consulted. We don’t know what the lawyer was consulted on. Maybe the lawyer was only asked their opinion on whether a person has to present receipts to an auditor and meet them if they pay back the money….and the lawyer replied in his/her opinion, “no”. Perhaps that’s what happened and Duffy took that to mean the PMO told him to remain quiet. We don’t know what involvement a lawyer from the PMO had. We will have to wait and see.

          • From Coyne/Nat,l Post today “CTV quotes (Duffy) as saying, in a linked email: ”I stayed silent on the orders of the PMO””

            Rather than blaming fellow citizens for entertaining conspiracy theories on the mean, bad Conservatives, the Conservatives should stop feeding us stuff like this. When I read stuff like this I can’t help but scratch my head and wonder, silent about what? No matter how much they insist that this is an act of charity between two good Christian friends, I am reminded of Michael Corleone’s baptism of his child.

          • Okay so today they are saying that Duffy was out thumping for the party in different parts of Canada during the election BUT put expense claims in saying he was on senate business. Are we getting closer to a motive to pay him $90K for the expenses to go away?

          • Not only “put expense claims in saying he was on senate business”, the local campaigns in question also claimed those expenses.

            The motive would seem to be that PMO wanted to make any questions about this whole thing disappear as they put the CPC and PMO (which has relied on Duffy as a star fundraiser and attack dog, so much so that he was closely identified with the PM) in a very poor light, so poor as to seriously damage Harper’s brand.

            Nigel, perhaps on his own, but who knows, decided it was worth the risk of dipping into his considerable resources in a bid to do that; perhaps all this coming to light now is indicative of some kind of internal PMO power struggle where some faction is seeking to force Harper’s hand and force out Wright for reasons we don’t yet know.

            (I would think in such a scenario that it would be unlikely that the PM was personally involved in cutting the Duffy deal . . . if someone is trying to get Wright dismissed for something done with Harper’s imprimatur, that’s a very high risk maneuver)

            Whatever, if Wright did that to protect the boss, its a sign of fanaticism and personal loyalty one seldom sees. It is a bit troubling that someone would go to that extent.

            Can’t help but think of the movie Downfall . . . they all know inside its coming to an end but the only response they know is to obsessively infight over power in the office.

          • I read a biography about Nigel Wright in Walrus. They reported he has been a devoted Tory since high school. He is very well liked and very smart. He has taken on this position in the PMO for 18 to 24 months and then will return to the business world. They estimated he took a cut in pay from $2million/year to $300K/year to do it because his long time friend Stephen Harper asked him to. Fanatical? Perhaps.

          • How can a senator in Canada be having financial problems? They sure do make enough, before bribes. Are you suggesting duffy isn’t fiscally responsible?

          • Well I didn’t write the source article so it isn’t me that said he was having financial difficulty. Also, anyone who spends more than they earn can have financial difficulty.

          • We know how much a senator makes, but I would imagine that it’s much, much less than Duffy made at CTV. There is just something that just doesn’t add up, but we’re missing a lot of info here.

          • Well Duffy received the expense money from the public purse. Where did it go? How come he didn’t have even a cent to pay back on his own? Maybe half??

          • Like I said in another post, expense money usually covers money you already put out for transportation, housing and restaurants. You give in the receipts and they reimburse you. The money is already spent. If you used your credit card, you use the reimbursement to pay it off. In the senators case, they filed expense claims for housing in Ottawa so they used the money to pay rent, heat, electricity, etc on their house.
            As for Mr. Duffy, I have NO IDEA where he spends his money. According to the articles today, he got money from the Conservative riding associations where he was campaigning and it is alleged he claimed the expenses as senate business as well so he “double dipped”.
            I can think of a few ways where someone can spend a lot of money very quickly and also get themselves into a lot of debt quickly but I do not know if that is the case.

          • Maybe they gave him the money because they knew full well (and possibly with their overt blessing) that he was charging party-related expenditures to the taxpayer. It seems to be a CPC pattern that they have a hard time differentiating between government and party.

          • Keith, he didn’t just charge the taxpayer for the party-related expenditures, he also charged the party according to the new source articles. You might be right in maligning the party but do you think the party encourages its members to rip the party itself off? If what they are saying in the articles is true, Duffy took everybody’s money and Wright paid back the taxpayer’s portion.

          • The party gets to claim election expenses and get a fair amount reimbursed. i.e. by having Duffy bill both them and the Senate they get to charge taxpayers TWICE for Duffy’s campaigning. So he’s hardly ripping off the party. Taxpayers, though… well that’s a different story. It seems a plausible reason for Wright’s actions.
            Glad to see you are starting to come around from your unconditional support of the two of them.
            Still not nearly enough focus on Wright and the PMO on here or in the media though. Definitely something shady there.
            I’m also surprised just how quiet the opposition parties have been so far. If the PMO boys had something like this on one of the other parties, they’d be in such glee that they’d have to wear Depends to keep their dry cleaning bills under control…

          • The party gets to claim 50% of expenses and the candidate, 60%. That still leaves Duffy taking party money and then claiming money from the senate.
            Keith, it was not “unconditional support”. I told you I was waiting for a plausible motive for Wright to help out Duffy. Wright has a very good reputation. I think I will wait for this to play out on that end. It is interesting about the opposition as well. Perhaps they do know some things we don’t.

          • I think he was able to cover housing expenses out of regular income as he had for many years.

          • One of the source articles mentioned he used the allowance money to put a down payment or something on a house.
            Listen, you are asking me to provide information I have no knowledge of and do not pretend to.

          • Was it a gift? Duffy’s lawyer holds the cheque, not Duffy.

          • Well if the cheque was cashed and the money was paid to the taxpayer wouldn’t Nigel Wright hold the cheque now?

      • If it weren’t for your crazy antics in the other thread I would be 100% sure this is satire.

        • Come on, it could turn out that Nigel Wright was Duffy’s long lost son and you still would be floating a conspiracy theory, GFMD. I am just presenting an alternative view to the “hanging party”.

          • An alternative theory that requires being on hard drugs to accept.

          • Hahaha! Honestly, I am trying to buy some of the conspiracy theories but they are hard to believe. The PMO never needed to buy influence or votes with Duffy because he was always their man. He has been somewhat embarrassing and his credibility is sadly lacking so it would seem wise to cut him loose and we know this government is not the sensitive type to worry about their reputation in the senate….anyway, that ship sailed. The friend story just might be true.

          • How do you know duffy hasn’t been taking bribes since before the senate?

            The reason they can’t cut him loose is because he knows too much, so they keep buying his silence.

            Criminals like duffy don’t have real friends. They’re criminals who rip of taxpayers. duffy wouldn’t even be in this mess if he was honest about his housing allowance.

      • Nigel is also a religious very moral man.

    • We have to hang onto Duff now, he clearly has the Wright stuff.

      • Remember when Harper said LPC didn’t know right from wrong? I’m hoping someone writes an article called Wright and Wrong about this.

  2. 1. If Senate guidelines for claiming the living allowances were confusing, why didn’t the Deloitte review find some Senators who had not claimed living allowances they were entitled to? The answer is that the way these guys find out where the line is, is by crossing it and getting caught.

    2. Presumably Senator Duffy, who, as a Senator earns $132,300 per year plus some other nice perks,used the $90K to purchase equity in at least one of his houses. Should he not be able to just re-mortgage to pay it back? Or if he blew it gambling or something, could he not just borrow it against future earnings like anyone else would have to?

    3. Who cares what Mary Dawson thinks about this? When Canadians see one fat cat appointee of Stephen Harper paying money to another fat cat appointee of Stephen Harper and that second fat cat is supposed to vote without fear or favour, then it’s obvious to us that it’s wrong at both ends. It’s Stephen Harper who needs to do something, including demonstrating that he wasn’t in on the coverup, not some fake commission who never resolves anything ever.

    • I am not sure what you mean by “fat cat” appointee, given that supposedly Duffy is in financial trouble, while it appears that Wright is quite wealthy. Also, the story is that Duffy is not healthy and he doesn’t want his wife to assume the debt. Therefore, there may not be much “future earnings” for Duffy to borrow against.

      • Duffy makes plenty as a senator, it’s just he wasn’t very fiscally responsible with what he had. Which is a lot more than most Canadians, are expected to make do with.

        • You are right but it doesn’t change the facts if he is broke and in debt.

          • How can he be broke? Where’s all the money we pay him going and all the money he’s been stealing? Does he have a bad coke habit we don’t know about? Because that would be awesome.

          • I do not pretend to know where the money goes.

          • There’s no possible way to spin this, without making duffy look bad. Now that takes talent.

          • We already know his home is already paid off, and this has been pointed out in the other thread that you’re a party to. So odds are that he’s not in debt. Certainly not in any sort of debt that he couldn’t raise 90k himself to cover.

            My curiosity is starting to move to why are you trying so hard to carry Duffy’s water?

          • You mean the cottage in PEI is paid for? I wonder what it is even worth. I am not the person who said Duffy was in debt that was in the source article. As for carrying “Duffy’s water”, I don’t think I am doing that at all. I can’t possibly see what value Mike Duffy could be to the PMO. He is already their “yes man”.
            If Nigel Wright wants to pay his debts to the tax payer, I am pleased to get the money back and I would be okay with having Mike Duffy expelled because he charged expenses to taxpayers that weren’t legitimate. At the same time, I am from the Bill Maher school of “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”. If someone is willing pay off these illegitimate expenses on behalf of politicians that continue to rip taxpayers off, we should welcome it. Nigel Wright has an excellent reputation and no one has taken that into account before rushing to judgement in this case.

          • You can’t see? Really?

            What value might Mike Duffy have.. a man making over 130k per year legally, somehow incurring over 90k of expenses over a couple of years that the auditors can’t account for, who also happens to be the #2 fundraiser for a party already convicted of election funding fraud.

            Hmmm.. what value could he have indeed?

            Well.. I guess we’ll figure it out if CPC fundraising drops by 90k or so over the next year, won’t we?

          • You think Nigel Wright will take the $90K out of the CPC fundraising coffers? I think you are wrong and here is why. I read an unauthorized biography about Wright in Walrus and Wright is a Tory through and through. He left a 2 million dollar per year job to take a position with the PMO for 18 mos to 24 mos at the behest of his friend Stephen Harper. His pay in the PMO is estimated to be $300K per year. If he was concerned with money, he would never have taken the job in the PMO. He will return to the business world where a job is waiting for him when his stint is up. He is a philanthropist who is heavily involved in three charities and he is a subdeacon in the Anglican Church. He is known as a very likable person and people like Andrew Coyne count him as a friend although they do not understand what he was thinking giving Duffy the money.

          • No. I don’t think that, so your why is irrelevant.

            What I think is that there’s a possibility that the 90k already went INTO the CPC fundraising coffers, and this is the CPC’s attempt to bury it.

          • Ah.

          • He got the 90 grand from the taxpayer. He got the got 90 grand from Wright. He got it TWICE. He’s broke. Must have CTV pension plus Senate salary.

          • No, he only got $90K once in expense claims from the taxpayer. Expense claims are money you already spent on hotels and restaurants, car rentals, etc. You don’t have the money any more. You are reimbursed for money spent and then you pay off your credit card so you break even. Once Duffy was busted for making claims that didn’t seem right, the money Wright paid went back to the taxpayer.

          • Expenses for his Ottawa house? He was already able to cover those and cottage in PEI when he was a lowly TV presenter. No, the unjustified expense claims on housing were free money.

  3. The conservative spin is that Wright did the honorable thing to help his friend and to save taxpayers money (what a joke), that Wright is full of compassion and a religious man. So nobody should look for ulterior motives.

    If that’s the case and it is truly a gift, why then did they need lawyers, one from PMO (if that was a personal transaction, how come a PMO lawyer was involved?) and one for Duffy, to seal that “gift”? My guess is that there was a deal involved in that transaction which was very critical to the government and to Harper himself who was the one who appointed Duffy. By getting Duffy to pay back ahead of the tabling of the report, the conservatives got to portray him as showing leadership and it also allowed them to say his case was closed. In addition, despite not cooperating with Deloitte’s audit, Duffy got a much more favorable Senate report; when the report came out, he was almost a sidebar, while Harb and Brazeau were described as the bad guys despite the fact that they “owed” half as much as Duffy. Finally, Duffy also benefited from inside information. Who knows how much inside information Wright and Harper had when they decided to push Duffy to pay back ahead of time? I cannot believe they had none!

    • Wow. Can you expand on what “this deal might be that involves Duffy” that would be worth $90K to Nigel Wright (of his own personal money). I can understand doubting the legitimacy of anyone trying to save the taxpayers’ money or using their own money to help a friend, but this conspiracy theory is a little bit thin considering that it has no clear motive and it is costing one man who Mr. Geddes says won’t stay in politics, almost $100K.

      • He could be buying votes from duffy.

        • WHEN has the PM had to buy votes from Duffy?

          • What do you think his senate appointment was for? He’s been in harpo’s pocket since before he was in the senate. Him taking pay offs is nothing new. It might have nothing to do with buying votes. I’m only stating a theory :)

            The only thing that is sure, is this little transaction, ad the scandal leading up to it and things to come are all part of a corrupt system.

          • Justin, my point is that if Duffy was getting paid off he wouldn’t be poor. He wouldn’t just take $90K and pay that back to the taxpayers. He would be rolling in the big cash.

          • How do you know he’s broke? Maybe he has an offshore account he’s been stashing all his ill gotten gain.

      • The deal is very simple and is now being reported elsewhere: Duffy goes public and says he should not have claimed the housing allowance. He accepts to repay the money he owes before the report comes out (BTW nobody has seen any figures to validate how much he owed: Deloitte could not come up with a number and Duffy/PMO seem to refuse to provide details). In return, Duffy gets the promise that the conservatives will go easy on him. In addition, it sort of relieves him(in his mind and that of PMO) from having to produce embarrassing documents to the auditor such as a driver’s licence, a health card, tax returns, etc. to prove his place of residence. I suspect that the pressure was put on Duffy to go public and so PMO felt obliged to help him pay the $90K.

        What’s in it for Wright and Harper? It allows them to “brag” that their senator is a leader in that he has repaid before being found guilty; it also allows them to attack the other 2 senators. In addition, it reduces the impact of the final report on the conservatives and Harper because their guy is portrayed as the good guy. Finally, because the repayment was made, the conservative leader in the Senate (Le Breton) also “proclaimed” that Duffy’s case was closed. Little did she know….

  4. PJ O’Rourke – “When are the world’s political parties going to get appropriate symbols: snake, louse, jackal, … trash can, clown face, … dollar bill with bat wings on it?”

    HL Mencken – Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under

  5. The sick image that is conjured up comes from The Deliverance, with Baird and Duffy in appropriate roles…

    • And Poilievre strumming his banjo . . . except I seriously doubt Poilievre has any talents apart from repeating talking points.

  6. The chief of staff of the majority leader in the lower chamber gives a large sum of money to a member of the upper chamber, which is supposed to be an independent body. How can this not be dreadfully wrong?

  7. This comment was deleted.

    • This comment was deleted.

      • Taxpayers monies is taxpayers monies the public sector is not only Duffy and his scandal….

  8. More new news:
    Nigel wrote a cheque to Duffy’s lawyer’s ‘in trust’ not to Duffy;
    Duffy got an RBC loan not involving Nigel, and paid off the Senate expenses.
    So this is an arm’s length transaction, and the CTV story is falling apart.
    Which is likely why Fife only made public a fragment of the email Duffy sent CTV.

    • Can you cite where you’re finding this?

  9. More information coming out,
    Duffy’s lawyer held the cheque ‘in trust’,
    so the cheque was not put into Duffy’s name nor his bank account.
    Duffy paid the expenses himself with proceeds from a loan he got from RBC

  10. My question would be, why aren’t these senators like Duffy being charged for defrauding the government and the people of Canada and what makes them so different than the ordinary citizen? This situation, and the senate has a whole is a joke!

  11. Conservative psychopaths and Bay Street Corporate types never have to say they’re sorry…they just demand more champagne and caviar.

    Get to work proles!

  12. Wright was wrong in giving Duffy the money. This interfered with the investigation into Duffy’s questionable expenses and how he claimed these expenses. That interference is one of the major issues at hand, and in my humble opinion, trumps the red herring of “helping a friend in need.”

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