Stephen Harper on Integrity: The Duffy Affair


Julian Wolfe
May 18th, 2013


What started as a $90,172 claim of inappropriate expenses seen as an outrage as part of abusive senate behaviour quickly escalated to a scandal with many more questions than answers. How can you possibly be confused about where you live without a motive? Why would the Prime Minister’s right hand man give a disgraced senator a $90,172 cheque? Did Duffy double dip his 2011 campaign expenses and claim them as senate business? Let’s take a look at the affair from how it unfolded.

Many questions remain unanswered and Canadians, with good reason, are appalled by the developments of The Duffy Affair. From the rules Duffy broke in the Senate to the political implications, this scandal exploded like fireworks and Harper’s Integrity took a real hit.

We all remember the 2006 campaign where then-Conservative candidate Stephen Harper promised government would conduct business differently. He said,

“There’s going to be a new code on Parliament Hill: bend the rules, you will be punished; break the law, you will be charged; abuse the public trust, you will go to prison. If you behave unethically or dishonestly then do not expect a reward from this Prime Minister of Canada.”

However, this would prove to not be the case when former Conservative senator Mike Duffy received a $90,172 cheque from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s right hand man to repay inappropriate Housing Allowance expenses.

Then, one thing led to another and the scandal started to unfold, becoming more damning with every report that was released. It comes to question Harper’s record of integrity, one that was his central promise in 2006.

This page will be updated with new articles and events as they happen so bookmark it or better yet, follow The Canadian Political Scene on social media to get the updates first.

Here is a timeline of how the events unfolded:

This timeline will be updated as events unfold and will link to articles with more details.

November 30, 2005

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper promises to strengthen accountability in Ottawa and announces: “There’s going to be a new code on Parliament Hill: bend the rules, you will be punished; break the law, you will be charged; abuse the public trust, you will go to prison. If you behave unethically or dishonestly then do not expect a reward from this Prime Minister of Canada.”

January 6, 2006

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper is elected Prime Minister of Canada leading a minority government.

December 22, 2008

Prime Minister Stephen Harper appoints Mike Duffy, Patrick Brazeau, and Pamela Wallin among 18 other people to be Conservative senators.

July 27, 2009

Email exchange shows then-Conservative Senator Mike Duffy asked for more perks for role within Conservative Party
For more details

September 25-28, 2009

Email exchange shows then-Conservative Senator Mike Duffy was inquiring on financing and staffing options for his role in Conservative campaigns.
For more details

April 27, 28, 29, 2011

An audit released May 8, 2013 finds then-Conservative Senator Mike Duffy claims business fees while being at an “other location.” Conservative invoices declare Duffy’s campaign expenses which include a flight to Toronto from Ottawa and hotel charges.
For more details

December 4, 2012

Then-Conservative Senator Mike Duffy joins Patrick Brazeau in the line of fire over suspected inappropriate use of the Housing Allowance Perk.
For more details 

February 6, 2013

Then-Conservative Senator Mike Duffy tries to dodge media questions about his housing allowance claims: “You should be doing adult work. Write about energy.” He then left the kitchen.
For more details

February 8, 2013

The senate announces it will have Deloitte run a forensic audit on senators Mike Duffy, Patrick Brazeau and Mac Harb.

February 12, 2013

Then-Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau thrown out of Conservative caucus over Sexual Assault charges.

February 13, 2013

Prime Minister Stephen Harper defends then-Conservative senator Pamela Wallin’s travel expenses telling the House of Commons: “In terms of Senator Wallin, I have looked at the numbers. Her travel costs are comparable to any parliamentarian travelling from that particular area of the country over that period of time. For instance, last year Senator Wallin spent almost half of her time in the province she represents in the Senate. The costs are to travel to and from that province, as any similar parliamentarian would do.”
For more details

February 20, 2013

Then-Conservative Senator Mike Duffy makes a secret arrangement with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff Nigel Wright to repay the housing allowance while having the government go easy on him. This would only be released to the public after CTV first uncovered this information on May 14, 2013.
For more details

February 22, 2013

Then-Conservative Senator Mike Duffy announces while he thinks he did nothing wrong he and his wife “are going to voluntarily pay back my living expenses related to the house we have in Ottawa.” He then tries to dodge an audit into senate spending, claiming the forms to be confusing as to what they want as an address.
For more details

March 26, 2013

Then-Conservative Senator Mike Duffy’s legal council sends Deloitte a letter informing them Duffy has repaid the dues and is opting out of the audit.

April 18, 2013

Then-Conservative Senator Mike Duffy tells Global News he is waiting for the audit’s findings to determine if he will repay housing allowance expenses.

April 19, 2013

Then-Conservative Senator Mike Duffy announces he’s repaid the $90,172.24 housing allowance fee and the Senate’s committee of internal economy confirms receipt of the payment but doesn’t specify when it was made.

May 8, 2013

Audit finds senators have to repay money. Then-Conservative Senator Mike Duffy was let off the hook as he repaid his $90,172 debt. The audit noted his refusal to cooperate with the investigation. In addition, Then-Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau was charged $48,744 and Liberal Senator Mac Harb was charged $51,482.
For more details

May 9, 2013

Prime Minister Stephen Harper tells the House of Commons: “Mr. Speaker … an independent external auditor was brought in to examine all of these expenses. He looked obviously at the expenses of three particular senators who have had some difficulty. The auditor has concluded that the rules in place were not clear, however, the Senate itself has decided it expects better judgement from the senators. Senator Duffy some months ago repaid the money and the Senate has decided that other senators will be expected to similarly repay those amounts.”

May 12, 2013

RCMP confirms it is looking into the findings of the audit.
For more details

May 14, 2013

CTV news learns a secret arrangement was made between then-Conservative Senator Mike Duffy and Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff Nigel Wright to go easy on Duffy and pay his debt.
For more details

May 15, 2013

Prime Minister’s Office releases a statement which comes clean about the secret deal, confirming Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff Nigel Wright wrote a $90,172 cheque as a gift to Mike Duffy. Questions spiral as to why Wright paid Duffy’s housing expenses. The gift breaks the Senate’s Conflict of Interest code as it was received in relation to his senate position. Additionally, gifts of over $500 must be published to a conflict of interest website within 30 days. Duffy’s site hasn’t been updated since September 27, 2012.
For more details

May 16, 2013

Inconsistencies within Conservative Party invoices and the Deloitte audit suggest then-Conservative Senator Mike Duffy may have double dipped his charges and charged taxpayers for campaigning from April 27 to 29, 2011 for the Conservative party in eight writings in the General Toronto Area.
For more details

Despite Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff Nigel Wright’s choice to bail out disgraced then-Conservative Senator Mike Duffy, the Prime Minister’s Office confirms Wright still has full confidence.
For more details

As controversies grow and outrage continues, then-Conservative Senator Mike Duffy resigned the Conservative caucus and will remain sitting as an independent.
For more details

CTV uncovers a reliable source which claims then-Conservative Senator Mike Duffy lobbied the CRTC to allow right-wing news channel Sun Media get “mandatory carriage” or at least be included with basic channels.
For more details

RCMP sends letter to senate asking for documents pertaining to expense claims of then-Conservative senators Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau and then-Liberal senator Mac Harb.
For more details

May 17, 2013

Then-Conservative Senator Pamela Wallin resigned the Conservative caucus and will remain sitting as an independent.

CTV reveals Conservatives white-washed audit before publication to protect then-Conservative senator Mike Duffy.
For more details

Independent Senator Mike Duffy will undergo a second audit due to contradictory findings of his expense claims on April 27, 28, 29, 2011 as senate “business” while being on the campaign trail in the Greater Toronto Area.
For more details

Prime Minister’s Office reaffirms “Mr. Wright is staying on” and defends his $90,172 gift.
For more details

May 19, 2013

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff Nigel Wright resigns.
For more details

Ray Novak named new chief of staff.

May 20, 2013

NDP writes to RCMP commissioner Robert Paulson to launch probe
For more details

CTV learns Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former legal advisor Benjamin Perrin wrote the deal between former Chief of Staff Nigel Wright and former Conservative Senator Mike Duffy.
For more details

May 21, 2013

Prime Minister Harper addresses Conservative caucus, dodges The Duffy Affair and tries to change the channel.
For more details

Conservative Senators reject Liberal motion to send Duffy case to RCMP, opt to return to internal economy committee which whitewashed the initial audit.
For more details

May 22, 2013

Two prominent Conservative Senators in Senate’s internal economy committee found to be responsible for whitewash of initial audit. Liberal leader Justin Trudeau hammers government in the House of Commons.
For more details

May 23, 2013

Senate Speaker Noel Kinsella confirms the RCMP anti-corruption unit is looking into the expense claims of then-Conservative senators Patrick Brazeau and Mike Duffy and then-Liberal senator Mac Harb.
For more details

Former Conservative Senator Mike Duffy wants to tell Canadians the “full story” and wants a “full and open inquiry.”
For more details

May 25, 2013

Ethics commissioner Mary Dawson is tells Canadians her probe will be limited as she readies a third look at former chief of staff Nigel Wright.
For more details 

May 26, 2013

Former RCMP Superintendent Gery Clement says there are “strong grounds” for criminal charges in the Duffy affair. How independent is the RCMP however?
For more details

May 27, 2013

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is absent from Parliament Hill as his opponents await with many questions. Conservative MPs try to change the subject.
For more details

Conservatives in the Ethics committee kill Liberal motion to “study the scandal facing the PMO and to offer the prime minister and Nigel Wright an opportunity to bring transparency to this issue.”
For more details

May 28, 2013

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau interrogate Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Question Period.
For more details

Senate Internal Economy Committee sends Duffy case to RCMP
For more details

May 29, 2013

Prime Minister Stephen Harper attacks opposition leaders amid questions on his own conduct.
For more details

May 30, 2013

CBC reveals email exchange from 2009 which shows then-Conservative senator Mike Duffy asking for more perks for his role in the party.
For more details

May 31, 2013

CBC reveals more email exchanges from 2009 which show then-Conservative senator Mike Duffy inquiring into financing and staffing options for his role in Conservative campaigns.
For more details

June 3, 2013

Former Chief of Staff Nigel Wright chose former Harper Chief of Staff Guy Giorno to represent him at ethics probe.

Government Senate leader Marjory LeBreton to ask auditor general to overview senate expenses.
For more details

The RCMP announced it is looking into whether to launch a criminal investigation into the $90,172 transfer between former Chief of Staff Nigel Wright and then-Conservative senator Mike Duffy but added it will not make the decision public.
For more details

In the Commons:

Liberal MP Bob Rae: “Mary Dawson is carrying out a private inquiry into the matter of Nigel Wright. The Senate ethics officer is carrying out a private inquiry in to the matter of Mike Duffy. Why not have one public inquiry to deal with the fact that Nigel Wright gave something to Mike Duffy?”

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird: “It was this House that brought in legislation giving the tools to independent watchdogs for them to be able to consider these matters. What we’re simply doing is following Canadian law as passed by this House, as passed by this Parliament to look into these matters. This issue has been referred to at least two independent authorities, and the government will completely co-operate with these authorities.”

June 4, 2013

Senate Ethics Commissioner Lyse Richard pauses her investigation citing RCMP takeover of file.

Senate introduces motion which asks to call in the auditor general.

June 6, 2013

A secret fund guarded by PMO for 7 years has raised questions over the Duffy affair and its intended purpose.
For more details

June 11, 2013

Conservative Senator David Tkachuk to resign Chair of Internal Economy Committee citing cancer.
For more details

Former Harper-aide Bruce Carson “surprised” Harper didn’t know about Duffy-Wright deal.
For more details

Former Chief Electoral Officer says Elections Canada has no authority to monitor secret PMO fund.
For more details

June 20, 2013

RCMP broaden scope of investigation to include Independent senator Mac Harb and election records of 12 Conservative MPs.
For more details

July 4, 2013

Conservative Senate Leader Marjory LeBreton resigns.
For more details

Documents show the Conservative Party was intent on paying former-Conservative Senator Mike Duffy’s illegal expenses.
For more details

July 16, 2013

RCMP and PMO are at an impasse over crucial February 20 email. Will a search warrant be necessary?
For more details

August 27, 2013

CTV News learns Nigel Wright wasn’t alone in the Duffy deal, contrary to Harper’s statements in the House of Commons
For more details

October 6, 2013

Harper’s former Press Secretary, appointed to the Senate in August 2007, Carolyn Stewart Olsen pledges to repay inappropriate senate expenses.
For more details

October 14, 2013

A Mysterious binder kept by Former Chief of Staff Nigel Wright contains 4-year span of Duffy’s life.
For more details

RCMP: Duffy allegedly contracted close to $65,000 “for little to no apparent work.”
For more details

October 22, 2013

Duffy implicates Harper and many others in speech to senate.
For more details

October 25, 2013

Duffy’s allegations lead to a domino effect.
For more details

October 28, 2013

Duffy claims there was at least a second cheque written by Conservative Party lawyer Arthur Hamilton.
For more details

Harper contradicts himself again.
For more details

Join the Discussion

What do you think of Stephen Harper’s record of integrity? If you’re on Twitter or Google+, feel free to use the #theduffyaffair hashtag and respond directly to @CPoliticalScene or +The Canadian Political Scene.

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   Categories: Accountability, Featured, Integrity, Political Interference, Scandal, The Duffy Affair

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