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Growing visibly more angry with every allegation coming from a senator that he appointed, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said during question period on Tuesday that Mike Duffy has shown no remorse for claiming ineligible expenses and should be removed from the Senate.
Harper’s remarks came a day after the former Conservative dropped a second bombshell, saying there was not one but two cheques cut to him by Harper’s former chief of staff.
Duffy told the Senate on Monday that Nigel Wright, Harper’s former chief of staff, arranged to have his legal fees paid by the Conservative Party — in addition to the $90,000 cheque Wright gave Duffy to repay his ineligible expenses.
“The reality is,” Harper said on Tuesday, “that Mr. Duffy still has not paid a cent back to the taxpayers of Canada. He should be paying that money back.”
‘On our side, there is one person responsible for this deception. That person is Mr. Wright.’— Prime Minister Stephen Harper
“The fact that he hasn’t, the fact that he shows absolutely no regret for his actions, and the fact that he has told untruths about his actions means that he should be removed from the public payroll,” Harper said.
The prime minister has maintained all along that he knew nothing about the $90,000 cheque that his right-hand man gave to Duffy.
On Tuesday, the prime minister took direct aim at his former chief of staff, telling the Commons, “On our side, there is one person responsible for this deception. That person is Mr. Wright.”
“It is Mr. Wright by his own admission. For that reason, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Wright no longer works for us. Mr. Duffy shouldn’t either,” Harper said.
The prime minister did not, however, deny on Tuesday that the party cut Duffy a second cheque to cover his legal fees.
“That is a regular practice. The party regularly reimburses members of its caucus for valid legal expenses — as do other parties,” Harper said.
Duffy’s claim that he had paid back his ineligible expenses using his own funds was “the story of Mr. Duffy and Mr. Wright,” Harper said.
“Mr. Duffy should be removed from the Senate.”
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair continued to pepper the prime minister with sharp questions on Tuesday.
If Duffy’s expenses were “inappropriate,” as Harper said again Tuesday, why did the Conservative Party pay for the senator’s legal fees? Mulcair asked.
Harper did not directly answer the question, saying only that he has said “it was inappropriate all along.”
- Canadians believe Mike Duffy over Stephen Harper on Senate scandal: poll (globalnews.ca)
- Harper defends payment for Duffy’s legal bill, says senator should get the boot (sunnewsnetwork.ca)
- Harper to face tough questions in wake of Duffy revelations (globalnews.ca)
- Harper says chief of staff Wright ‘dismissed’ over $90,000 cheque, not resigned (calgaryherald.com)
- The Senate Circus Continues (emkaydeeblogs.wordpress.com)
- Senate scandal not on Canadian public’s radar (beaconnews.ca)
The most memorable moment in the last throne speech came when a young woman walked into the centre of the plush red Senate chamber filled with dignitaries and elected officials and held up a handmade sign that read “Stop Harper.”
Brigette DePape, who had worked as a page in the Senate for a year, was then quickly hauled away by the House of Commons’ sergeant-at-arms.
“I remember I was terrified,” she said, recalling that moment on June 3, 2011, in an interview with CBC News from Vancouver last week.
‘We had gone to see a lawyer before and they said [the] worst-case scenario would be 30 years in jail for frightening the Queen.’— Former page Brigette DePape
“[Prime Minister Stephen] Harper is sitting right to my left and then there’s the Governor General, and then there are all the politicians, and I am so afraid. I am afraid about losing my job, I am afraid about what my parents are going to say back home in Winnipeg, and I am afraid about getting arrested.”
- Foes of Tories getting together near Conservative policy convention next month (macleans.ca)
- Critics plan counter-conference to Tory policy convention in Calgary (calgaryherald.com)
- Senate panel to review report on Pamela Wallin expenses today (globalnews.ca)
- Senators poring over audit of Pamela Wallin’s expenses (o.canada.com)
- Pamela Wallin may have tried to retroactively change expense claims after audit began (news.nationalpost.com)