What did we learn (but not yet verified) yesterday in Ottawa as it relates to the Senate / PMO scandal:
a) Canadian political parties routinely use donations and tax payer funds to assist party members with legal expenses. The second check issued to Duffy’s lawyers by the Conservative Party of Canada was for assistance with the Deloitte audit.
b) Prime Minister Harper was suggesting yesterday in Question Period that former Chief of Staff Wright “secretly” developed the ruse for Duffy to claim he had obtained the RBC loan to repay the expenditures in question. Therefore it was Wright acting on his own developing the plan and script to reimburse Duffy for legal expenses as well as providing Duffy with a personal check for $90k to cover his residency expenses that were in question.
c) The Prime Minister decided that Wright could no longer be employed on the public purse given his role, deception and judgment in this affair.
d) Prime Minister Harper now wants the Senate to suspend Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau so that they are no longer on the taxpayer’s dime. The time for apologies has passed as Harper attacked Duffy in Question Period stating, “The reality is Mr. Duffy has not paid a cent back to the taxpayers of Canada. The fact that he hasn’t and the fact that he has told untruths about his actions mans he should be removed from the public payroll.”
e) The Senate Government Leader has now proposed an amendment that would allow the ‘Senate Three’ to keep their health and life insurance benefits during their suspension. The Senate Liberal Leader has stated that the proposal by the government is just an attempt by the Prime Minister to cover-up a scandal within the Prime Minister’s Office.
We continue to look for answers to the following questions:
Who was involved in the Duffy / Wright affair within the Prime Minister’s Office before Harper was made aware in the spring? If more than Wright was involved within the PMO or the Conservative Party, why haven’t they been relieved of their duties?
Who authorized the second check by the Conservative Party for Duffy’s legal expenses ($13k)? Did the party pay for similar legal expenses for Wallin and Brazeau?
Given the evolving story and the perception that Prime Minister Harper has not provided timely answers to the questions Canadians have been asking, the Prime Minister’s credibility and support for the Conservatives has dropped.
We will be watching the events unfold in Ottawa today.