The Duffy Affair: Two Conservative senators behind audit whitewash

Julian Wolfe
May 23rd, 2013

Two senators were allegedly behind the order to whitewash the independent audit to protect former Conservative senator Mike Duffy. One of which, David Tkachuk, chairs the Internal Economics committee, which is where the senate decided to send Duffy’s case for a second look. The other is long time loyal advisor to Stephen Harper, Carolyn Stewart Olsen.

Stewart Olsen refused to admit the term “sanitized” when approached by CTV’s Bob Fife. “I object to the word ‘sanitized.’ I moved the motion to adopt the report.”

Stewart Olsen was aiding Harper as long back as the Canadian Alliance days, serving as a communications strategist until she was appointed to the senate.

Last week, CTV News uncovered the original audit that slammed Duffy’s abuse of taxpayer money. The whitewashed version given to the senate and reporters went soft on Duffy claiming the rules weren’t clear.

Harper dodged the issue in his address to the caucus Tuesday and continued to do so in Peru. Reporters were restricted to four questions, two from Canadian press and two from Peruvian press.

The Peruvian press confronted Harper’s involvement in the senate scandal.

“I learned of this after stories appeared in the media last week speculating on the source of Mr. Duffy’s repayments. Immediately upon learning that the source was indeed my chief of staff, Nigel Wright, I immediately asked that that information be released publicly. That is what I knew. Had I obviously been consulted, more importantly, I would not have agreed. And it is obviously for those reasons that I accepted Mr. Wright’s resignation.”

Stephen Harper, Prime Minister, Peru

Meanwhile, in the House of Commons, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau tore away at the government’s reluctance to offer concrete answers.

“It has now been a week since news broke that the prime minister’s right hand man secretly paid a sitting senator $90,000 to obstruct an audit. Today I want to ask a very specific question about that obstruction. We know now that the Conservatives on the Senate committee on internal economy used their majority to doctor the final report on Senator Duffy’s expenses. Can anybody on that side of the house tell us who gave the order to whitewash the report on Senator Duffy?”

Justin Trudeau, Liberal leader

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird was left to answer, dodging Trudeau’s question.

“It’s very clear from the committee’s report that these expenses should not have been expensed. No one in the government is disputing that fact. As I understand it, the report did in the end reflect the fact that a payment had been made.”

John Baird, Foreign Affairs Minister

The answer came today from Robert Fife who allegedly found the man leading the first audit and Harper’s loyal advisor to be responsible. Do you trust the findings of the next audit? What do you think of the revelations?

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   Categories: Accountability, Caucus, Political Interference, Senate, The Duffy Affair

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