Timeline of Nigel Wright's PMO exit

The Prime Minister says his former chief of staff was "dismissed"

So the Prime Minister now says Nigel Wright was “dismissed” as his chief of staff.

Here is a basic chronology of how Mr. Wright came to be separated from the Prime Minister’s Office and how that separation was explained.

May 14. CTV reports that Mike Duffy and Nigel Wright had a secret deal to help Mr. Duffy pay back his expenses.

May 15. The Prime Minister is told by Mr. Wright that Mr. Wright wrote Mr. Duffy a cheque for $90,000. The Prime Minister’s Office confirms as much to CTV.

May 16. A spokesman for the Prime Minister says Mr. Wright has the “confidence” of the Prime Minister and Mr. Wright will not be resigning.

May 19. Mr. Wright resigns. A “well-placed source” tells the Globe that Mr. Harper fought to keep Mr. Wright.

May 24. Mr. Harper says that “perhaps” he should have accepted Mr. Wright’s resignation sooner.

October 28. Mr. Harper says Mr. Wright was “dismissed.”

The Prime Minister’s decision to now describe Mr. Wright’s exit as a dismissal is an interesting matter of elocution, but even if Mr. Wright was dismissed, the decisiveness of that gesture is undermined somewhat by the four days in May in which he was decidedly not dismissed. Granted, even Mr. Harper has conceded that he might’ve acted sooner.

Personally, I’d be interested to know whether the Prime Minister set out to say what he said in this case or whether he just says these things in the moment—similarly his assertion in the House in June that what Mr. Wright did had not been communicated to any other member of the Prime Minister’s staff, a claim he could very easily have not bothered to make that day.

Regardless, as I type, the Prime Minister’s use of the word “dismissed” is the top story at the CBC, Globe and Post. We are in the midst of a frenzy and so every even slightly interesting word, every slight change in verb, will be noted and dissected.