Harper's Chief of Staff cuts Duffy $90,000 personal cheque to repay housing allowance

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Unionist

Thanks, bagkitty. You realize, of course, that all those useful services (sporadically) supplied by MPs constituency offices are: 1) Not part of the MPs job description by any measure of the Constitution. 2) Not backed by any actual legal or bureaucratic power on the MP's part (it's just a matter of lobbying or advocacy or helping people navigate the system - which, again, is a strange role for an elected political representative to be playing). And, most importantly: 3) Vote-buying and corruption. If your MP is a member of the governing party, you can hope for favours, contracts, sinecures, etc. If not - all they can do is their volunteer-style advocacy, with (see above) no legal teeth and no actual mandate.

All those services are good. But they're incidental to what the "real" job of an MP is and should be. That "real" job, however, is a joke, in the face of an ineffectual House of Commons, nominal debates, decorative committees, sound-byte and uninformative "questions", robotic votes, and internal party dictatorship run by the leader's elite.

Any real work MPs do (and there are plenty of good, noble, dedicated ones), is volunteer work.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Nice answer bagkitty! -- very imformative and I like your anecdotes. Thanks!

Unionist

Yeah bagkitty, thanks again for taking my question seriously, and I agree that your examples really constitute the useful work that MPs do, in my experience - with the caveats I mentioned.

Here are a couple links which I think are useful in describing the problem I mentioned, though I don't really think Samara has gone far enough yet:

[url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/whats-a-canadian-mps-job-they-...'s a Canadian MP's job? They dunno[/url]

[url=http://www.samaracanada.com/Home]Samara (several interesting reports)[/url]

janfromthebruce

I made a mistake, it is a parliamentary democracy who rid themselves of the House of Pork. Liberals and Cons just love their pork and using taxpayers money for their own use. = entitled to their entitlements.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Moving the goal posts now are we Unionist? I must admit, despite having delved into it on a number of occasions, I have never encountered something as prosaic as a "Job Description for Members of Parliament" in any incarnation of the Canadian constitutional legislation. I do hope it provides for regularly scheduled breaks and maternity leave.

knownothing knownothing's picture
bekayne
mark_alfred

I just heard on CBC Radio Charlie Angus of the NDP call on the RCMP to investigate the PMO's involvement in the Duffy case.

jerrym

mark_alfred wrote:

I just heard on CBC Radio Charlie Angus of the NDP call on the RCMP to investigate the PMO's involvement in the Duffy case.

Here is a summary of the Angus-Boisvin news conference on the scandal. 

http://www.cbc.ca/m/touch/canada/story/2013/05/20/ndp-duffy-rcmp-inquiry...

Brachina

Wow Angus raised the stakes didn't he. An RCMP investigation would prolong Harper's agony on this file.

Stockholm

We know that the $90,000 pay off was totally unethical, but could it also be illegal - in which case Wright and Duffy and others involved in the scheme could face criminal charges?

janfromthebruce
knownothing knownothing's picture

Press TV's take on Senate Scandal

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkLkXf9AblQ

Pamela Walling and Mike McDuffy lol

NorthReport

Investigation could take a year - what BS!

PM’s former legal adviser arranged deal for Wright to give Duffy $90K
http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/pm-s-former-legal-adviser-arranged-deal-f...

janfromthebruce

SENATE SCANDAL

The integrity issue is reaching critical mass

There’s some who still hold to the line. Ethical abuses? No big deal. The people don’t care. It won’t hurt the Harper Conservatives much.

These people should try telling the Liberals that they weren’t damaged by the sponsorship scandal or Brian Mulroney that he wasn’t hurt by the Karlheinz Schreiber affair or John Turner that he wasn’t set back by Pierre Trudeau’s barrage of 11th-hour patronage appointments. They should try telling historians that Lester Pearson wasn’t hurt by the scandals involving his Quebec ministers or that the Louis St. Laurent government didn’t suffer on account of invoking closure in the pipeline debate.

I got to go there because of the tweet link from Norman Spector. It really shows that Lib/Tory same old story. And no wonder Trudeau Jr. is up with the Senate - chip off the old block - partronage baby.

Welcome to #duffygate #tippingpoint

Matters such as the Duffy scandal can be looked at in isolation and you can say, well, it’s only about spending excesses by a senator, so let’s keep it in perspective. But the problem is, in fact, the perspective – a perspective that sees abuse of power so widespread you can no longer keep track.

janfromthebruce

There is a certain dark humour in this. A prime minister who was elected on a promise to reform the Senate turns it into a cesspool of Conservative patronage. Every single senator he has appointed in seven years has been a Tory; each one has been required to swear fealty to the Harper program.

here comes the bus

Harper Tories evoking laughter and anger

Time to go for the jugular - NDP style - patronage, entitlement, corruption, you think the Libs are going to bring up a problem with patronage with their lovely past (Trudeau past???), or how about corruption with their love in with the sponsorship scandal?

NorthReport

Perhaps a good way to take the heat off is to ask for the Supreme Court to rule on what would be required to abolish the Senate. And  Harper is doing just that. I'm sure its a ploy, and Harper probably already knows the answer but........

 

 

bekayne
janfromthebruce

for me it doesn't fit "he's in way over his head" because Harper got elected in. I understand the play on words but it's basically insider baseball.

I think patronage, corruption, entitlement is what people are thinking.

jerrym

According to CTV News, a second person in Harper's PMO office, Benjamin Perrin, has been directly implicated in the Senator Duffy deal to pay off his expenses. Perrin, a University of British Columbia law professor who was Harper’s special counsel and legal adviser at the time, helped Wright and Duffy reach the deal. Part of the written agreement was that the investigation of Duffy would go easy on him.

Quote:

[Perrin] worked on the legal deal between Nigel Wright and Sen. Mike Duffy’s lawyer that called for Wright to help Duffy pay off $90,000 in invalid expense claims. ...

Sources told CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife that back in February, Benjamin Perrin helped draft the letter of understanding that called for Duffy to publicly declare that he would repay the money. In return, sources say, Wright would give a personal cheque to Duffy to cover the $90,000. Sources say the agreement also stipulated that a Senate investigation into expense claims would go easy on Duffy.

The Prime Minister’s Office insists that neither Perrin nor Wright told Harper about the payout to Duffy or about any aspects of the secret arrangement. The PMO also declined to release the letter of agreement, saying it is now in the hands of Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson, who is investigating Wright’s $90,000 cheque to Duffy. Dawson’s investigation could take a year or more.

http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/pm-s-former-legal-adviser-arranged-deal-f...

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Just more proof that the Liberal media does know how to defend its preferred candidate. That is a great spoof of the Conservative attack ads on Trudeau. I think most voters who see this cartoon will get the imagery intended.

jerrym

The idea that Harper's legal advisor, UBC law professor Benjamin Perrin, and Nigel Wright, who has two law degees did not know the secret deal with Duffy was unethical and quite possibly illegal is preposterous. 

Even Andrew Coyne does not accept the Con story on this scandal. He points out how the deal probably violates Section 17 (1) of the Senate Conflict of Interest code, Section 16 (1) of the Parliament of Canada Act, and Section 121 (1) of the Criminal Act.

Quote:

It is impossible to believe that Nigel Wright, a man with two law degrees and substantial experience of both politics and business, could have been unaware of the dangers - political and legal, to his party and to himself - involved in such a transaction. Whether in fact it broke any laws, it crosses all sorts of ethical red lines that, as a matter of prudence if nothing else, anyone with any sense would wish to avoid.

Yet, if we are to believe the (latest) story we are being told, in "a moment of weakness," Wright gave in to Mike Duffy's pleas - either out of pity for his impoverished state or a desire to spare the taxpayer or both - and wrote him a personal cheque for $90,000. The story, on its own, is preposterous. There is no evidence Duffy was hard up for money, and if he were, there were a dozen other, better, simpler remedies than having Wright pay him out of his own funds.

Moreover, the payment gives every appearance of having been part of a deal: Duffy's refusal, shortly after, to cooperate with the Senate's auditors, and the subsequent alteration of the committee's report to eliminate references to Duffy having violated "very clear" rules with regard to his expenses, were both publicly premised on the notion that having repaid the false claims, he had, as it were, expiated his guilt. Which would be nonsense even if it were true.

This is what has elevated a low-level running scandal into a government-shaking crisis. ...

Even if his sense of ethics were so lax, is it plausible he would be so stupid? That he would risk his own reputation for Duffy's? Does anyone believe, assuming the answer is no, that this was all his own work?

http://www.vancouversun.com/Nigel+Wright+know+payment+crossed+sorts+ethi...

jerrym

Details of how the Senate report went 'easy' on Duffy are coming out. 

Quote:

A senator who saw the reports, and who would only speak on the condition of anonymity, said the original committee report on Duffy included two paragraphs that show up in the reports on Sen. Mac Harb and Sen. Patrick Brazeau: that the rules about housing allowances were "unambiguous" and had been broken.

The final report removed those paragraphs and another that said Duffy's travel patterns suggested he stayed at his primary residence in Cavendish, P.E.I., mainly during the summer months. ...

Those reports will be debated Tuesday night when the Senate returns, with Conservatives ready to use their majority to send Duffy's report back to the committee for review.

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Conservative+caucus+wants+answers/84120...

jerrym

On CTV News, Conservative Senator Jacques Demers had some interesting comments. 

Quote:

Conservative Sen. Jacques Demers says if any senators are caught abusing taxpayers’ dollars, they should do more than step down from caucus: “They should not be a senator.”

Demers made the comments after he attended a Conservative caucus meeting Tuesday morning. Demers was asked by reporters what should become of Senators Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin, both of whom stepped down from caucus last week amid ongoing questions about their expense claims.

Demers said, while all the facts have yet to emerge, Senators caught fleecing taxpayers should be out of a job.

“If he or she have done wrong and taken money that doesn’t belong to them they should be fired. That’s it. No independent. You’re out,” Demers said.

Demers also said the expense scandal has given him pause to reflect. When asked what that meant, Demers said that if he doesn’t like what he hears once all the facts come out, “I’m going to go.” ...

Heritage Minister James Moore said Canadians expect Parliamentarians and Senators to “respect taxpayer dollars” and anybody not doing that “should leave.”

http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/senators-caught-misusing-taxpayers-dollar...

jerrym

During Question Period, John Baird claimed that the alleged legal agreement on the Duffy deal "did not exist". If this agreement is shown to exist, Baird is now in deep political trouble too. It also suggests that the Cons cannot afford to allow the document, if it exists, to be seen because it is too damaging. 

socialdemocrati...

We can't abolish the senate fast enough.

jerrym

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

We can't abolish the senate fast enough.

Amen.

Brachina

jerrym wrote:

During Question Period, John Baird claimed that the alleged legal agreement on the Duffy deal "did not exist". If this agreement is shown to exist, Baird is now in deep political trouble too. It also suggests that the Cons cannot afford to allow the document, if it exists, to be seen because it is too damaging. 

 

 How the hell does a document that doesn't exist end up in the hands of the ethics commisioner? Baird has some explaining to do.

bekayne

Talk about the Senate just muddies the waters. All Harper wants to say is "I wanted to reform the Senate, but the meanies wouldn't let me." This is about about a deal involving the Prime Minister's Chief Of Staff and Special Counsel where $90, 000 is given to a Legislator and a report from a Parliamentary investigation dealing with that same Legislator is altered.

Geoff

If this scandal hastens the defeat of Stephen Harper, then the Senate is worth every penny.  Long live the Senate.

bekayne

Geoff wrote:

If this scandal hastens the defeat of Stephen Harper, then the Senate is worth every penny.  Long live the Senate.

If he knew about the deal, it's not about defeat but resignation.

bekayne
jerrym

The NDP needs to make an ad using Harper saying "This is a distraction" about the scandal. Nothing sums up the Con arrogance about this scandal better.

jerrym

The contraditctions in the Con storyline are becoming absurd. 

Quote:

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister's Office revealed that Stephen Harper's chief of staff, Nigel Wright, had given Duffy the $90,000 he needed for housing expense repayment as a gift.

But Duffy appeared to contradict that, according to a CTV News report Wednesday night. The network said it received an email from Duffy in which he claimed he repaid his expense claims with a loan from the Royal Bank and that "Nigel played no role."

Once the repayment was made, Deloitte said Duffy ended his participation in the audit, stopping short of providing financial records, credit card statements and information about his calendar. He also did not meet with the auditors.

"Based on the information provided in the travel claims, it is not clear from the claims where Senator Duffy was located on days he claimed per diem amounts," Deloitte wrote.

The $90,000 was meant to enable Duffy to say there is no need for me to give my expense records to the audit since I have now repaid the money. Now John Baird claims there was no written agreement on this issue despite all the press stories saying the opposite. Despite the fact that CTV states that Benjamin Perrin, Harper's legal advisor in the PMO, was involved in drawing up the deal he now says in a release 

Quote:

I was not consulted on, and did not participate in, Nigel Wright’s decision to write a personal cheque to reimburse Senator Duffy’s expenses.

I have never communicated with the Prime Minister on this matter.

The Cons keep digging themselves deeper and deeper because that is how they have successfully got out of every other problem that they have faced since coming to power in 2006. 

Former Parliamentary law clerk and Parliamentary counsel Robert Walsh said on CTV that if the lawyers involved in this (Perrin and Wright) contravened the penal code in drawing up the agreement, they are in deep trouble.

Therefore, they now have to pretend there was no agreement. 

Even Conservative Party spokesman Geoff Norquay says that the comments by the PM are not sufficient and he needs to answer a lot more questions. He said the scandal is a significant threat to the Conservative brand and it needs to be addressed. 

 

 

jerrym

Power and Politics Ballot Box Question

Are you satisfied with the Prime Minister's handling of the Senate scandal?

Yes 3%

No 97%

Not Sure 0%

Over 3600 people voted on issue - largest vote ever on a ballot box question.

bekayne

http://the-mound-of-sound.blogspot.ca/2013/05/if-opposition-fumbles-this-ball-theyre.html

Nix "Duffygate," trash "Senategate," this is "HarperGate" and that's what the opposition needs to hammer away at.

Heritage minister James Moore is said to be en route to Prince Edward Island to demand Duffy's resignation.   That has to be part and parcel of rolling this scandal back out of the PMO and straight into the lap of a safely-resigned former senator where the opposition will be left to pick on a carcass.

Harper signalled that would be the approach in his remarks this morning.  Oh he was so deeply upset that these bad people hadbetwayed him.   Bad people, bad people.  So many disappointments.  Poor prime minister.   So sad.  No room for the likes of Duffy, not in Steve's government.   Bad Duffy, bad.  Poor Steve.

That is, however, the narrative Steve has chosen to fall back on, the story he plans to sell through the summer.  He has to get the focus turned around, back on Duffy, and keep it from heading toward Sussex Drive.   Stephen Harper has to regain control of this scandal.

If the opposition falls for it, Stephen Harper wins and they lose, big time.  If they focus on Duffy instead of what happened inside the PMO and why, they lose.   They need to hammer away on the cheque and the letter of understanding.   They need to keep the spotlight on Wright, on Perrin and directly on Steve Harper.  They need to make the Canadian public realize the stink isn't coming from Friendly Lane but from right inside the PMO.

When you're in opposition to a guy like Harper you won't be getting many opportunities like this one.   They cannot afford to waste it.

 

Brachina

jerrym wrote:

Power and Politics Ballot Box Question

Are you satisfied with the Prime Minister's handling of the Senate scandal?

Yes 3%

No 97%

Not Sure 0%

Over 3600 people voted on issue - largest vote ever on a ballot box question.

Brachina

jerrym wrote:

Power and Politics Ballot Box Question

Are you satisfied with the Prime Minister's handling of the Senate scandal?

Yes 3%

No 97%

Not Sure 0%

Over 3600 people voted on issue - largest vote ever on a ballot box question.

Oh no not another poll!

Seriously couldn't be worse then the once in BC. Or Alberta. Quebec. Ontario. Ect...

Brachina

 Another Harper Scandal, illegal contributions to the Tories from appointees to EI Referee Boards

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2013/05/21/pol-conservative-politica...

 

 Do the Scandals very stop with these people, its getting hard to keep up with these people.

gadar

bekayne wrote:

Talk about the Senate just muddies the waters. All Harper wants to say is "I wanted to reform the Senate, but the meanies wouldn't let me." This is about about a deal involving the Prime Minister's Chief Of Staff and Special Counsel where $90, 000 is given to a Legislator and a report from a Parliamentary investigation dealing with that same Legislator is altered.

Thank you. Talking about how the senate is useless and should be abolished or reformed is how the cons are trying to sidetrack the issue. This issue is about corruption by conservatives and PMO aiding and abetting them.The issue at hand has nothing to do with senate reform but the cons are trying to make it all about senate reform. By the looks of it the con tactic is working on some already.

jerrym

Mulcair's call for the abolition of the Senate as an undemocratic institution full of bagmen, party hacks, and failed candidates, and his proposal to cross Canada seeking support for this makes sense and was done in a fordeful, effective manner. My one quibble with his presentation was that when Mulcair was asked why he was calling for the abolition of the Senate could have tied it more directly to the Duffy-Wallin-Brazeau-Harb-Wright-Harper scandal by saying that removing all the sources of the scandal will not solve the systemic problem of the Senate and therefore we can only expect similar problems in the future if the Senate is not abolished.

When Trudeau followed Mulcair what struck me most is that in practically ever sentence he uttered in response to a question he hestitated and said 'um' or something similar giving a sense of uncertainty to his presentation. It may reveal why, although he can do a reasonable job on a prepared speech, he has tended to avoid questions by the media and in Question Period until he became leader. This could create a significant problem imagewise for Trudeau if it occurred in a debate situation.

bekayne
Brachina
NorthReport

Harper controls both H of C & the Senate so this is probably a wrap!

Tory-dominated Senate committee deleted tough parts of Mike Duffy expense report

http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/05/23/tory-dominated-senate-committee-...

NorthReport

It sounds like the Liberals are really hurting not being able to appoint their own bagpeople to the Senate. They must miss being entitled to their entitlements. Laughing

Kara

Maclean’s Exclusive: David Tkachuk on Mike Duffy, Nigel Wright and the Senate investigation

http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/05/23/macleans-exclusive-david-tkachuk-on-mike-duffy-nigel-wright-and-the-senate-investigation/

The follow-up questions / responses at the end are quite interesting because of Tkachuk's fuzzy answers.

Q: But just to be as categorical as possible, the decision to not write the report as harshly as the others…

A: It didn’t come from someone else giving us an order to do this. Let’s put it that way.

Q: Did anyone in the Prime Minister’s Office ever suggest to you how the report should be written?

A: Not really.

jerrym

Quote:

Senate Speaker Noel Kinsella says the RCMP's sensitive and international anti-corruption unit is examining the claims of senators Mike Duffy, Mac Harb and Patrick Brazeau.

http://www.brandonsun.com/national/breaking-news/liberals-demand-answers...

jerrym

The Maclean's article also confirms that David Tkachuk, who headed the Senate audit committee, got advice from Nigel Wright about what to do with the Duffy situation. 

Quote:

He [Nigel Wright] didn’t tell me [David Tkachuk] to do anything, really. We discussed Mike [Duffy] and the situation that he was in. I mean, the Prime Minister’s Office was very concerned about this. They don’t like this scandal going on. It was hurting us politically. And I didn’t like it going on, but he never said, he never told me to whitewash anything or to let him off the hook or anything like that.

http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/05/23/macleans-exclusive-david-tkachuk-on-m...

Of course, he never said "Whitewash it". He didn't have to.

The Liberals are now calling for David Tkachuk to step down. 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

To a dead horse.

jerrym

Duffy expense claims reveal more about campaign travel

More dates revealed on which Senator Mike Duffy campaigned, claimed Senate business

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/05/23/pol-mike-duffy-election...

 

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