There are still a few more shoes to drop in the cracking Conservative caucus, of that we can be sure.
Was the rapid change in the media’s (and public’s) perception of the Duffy residency scam suddenly stoked by the demise of Doug Finley in mid May? It seems like a remarkable coincidence that a central conspirator in the Conservative rise to power with the In & Out election fraud dies, then Nigel Wright who the DPP didn’t implicate in the scandal, even though the media did loosely, falls from apparent power in the PMO.
He’s yet to be accused of anything, but Stephen Harper’s new (Mar. 8, ’11) chief of staff is being dragged into a persistent controversy over whether the Conservatives deliberately exceeded spending limits in the 2006 election campaign.
Nigel Wright, who took over as the Prime Minister’s top aide in January, is listed in 2008 court documents that form part of the in-and-out scandal dogging the Tories.
An affidavit sworn by one of Elections Canada investigators identifies Mr. Wright as secretary for the Conservative Fund Canada during the period in question.
A senior official with the Harper government said Mr. Ignatieff was “reckless” in calling for Mr. Wright’s departure even though the Liberal couldn’t connect the aide to the advertising spending controversy.
Ignatieff would have saved the Conservatives some trouble, because Wright left in disgrace this week, after improperly gifting Duffy $90,000 to avoid scrutiny of an audit that was also being whitewashed by partisans in the Senate*.
How is Pamela Wallin, former CBC journalist, slipping under the media scorn radar right now? Is Duffy getting extra heat and attention because he’s taken a secret cheque with PMO agreement, to pay back stolen expenses, or because he is fat?
Is Wallin getting off the hook for also paying back money to avoid possessing public funds she was not eligible to claim, claiming obscene travel expenses, while living away from the jurisdiction she supposedly represents, because Toronto media is sympathetic to a previous host of The National? Or are they saving her to roast for later when Duffy is on his way to jail? Extend the pain for the Conservatives, and Harper, or let her get away?
What are the chances the Prime Minister, who denies knowing of Wright’s $90,000 cheque, authorized it? Previous CoS for previous Prime Ministers say he’d have known. Intuition tells us he knew. It’s only people who’ve suspended their critical thinking who’ll buy the PM’s lie.
Among the portions that were redacted was a quote from Mr. Duffy’s lawyer, Janice Payne, taken from a letter sent to the committee on March 26, one day after Mr. Duffy repaid more than $90,000 in questionable expenses. The letter appears to suggest Mr. Duffy argued his refusal to co-operate with auditors was motivated by a desire to save taxpayer dollars.
“The considerable time required for Senator Duffy to compile the extensive information and documentation required of him by Deloitte as well as his participation in the review of that material, to say nothing of the public expense involved in the same, is no longer needed,” she wrote.
Another redacted section states: “Senator Duffy’s travel patterns were consistently Ottawa-PEI-Ottawa, demonstrating that Ottawa was his primary or default location.”
The existence of the draft report had previously been reported by CTV, but copies of it began to circulate more broadly only on Wednesday.
February 1, 2006
“Incoming prime minister Stephen Harper says his government’s first act upon assuming power will be to table a federal accountability bill and promises that it will be in line with recommendations of the Gomery report. ”
December 21, 2006
“Prime Minister Stephen Harper has dismissed a number of key recommendations made by the head of the federal sponsorship inquiry that would have reduced some of the power of the Prime Minister’s Office and protected civil servants from political interference.
When Justice John Gomery’s report was released 10 months ago, Harper only said he thought the proposals had merit.
But in a public letter released Wednesday to 65 senior officials who had opposed Gomery’s call for better insulation of civil servants from politicians, Harper expressed for the first time his reservations about several proposals made in Gomery’s scathing report.
“Our approach has been to assess the merits of Mr. Justice Gomery’s recommendations on a case-by-case basis and there are a number of areas where my government finds itself unable to agree with Mr. Justice Gomery,” Harper wrote in his seven-page letter.”
“Justice Gomery did an admirable job, but I don’t think we’re going to drop the matter when 40 to 50 million are still missing.” – Stephen Harper 2006. Oh, wait until you meet yourself 7 years later when you’ll not investigate $3100 million that is still missing.