An email from 2009 shows former Conservative senator Mike Duffy asked the Conservative party for more perks just six months after Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed him. The email shows Duffy’s desire to get greater compensation for an “expanded role” in the Conservative party. He suggested joining cabinet without a portfolio to get more perks.
The barrage of opposition questions came again today but rather than stutter and be caught off guard, Prime Minister Stephen Harper fought back, changing the topic and responding with direct attacks on his opponents. NDP leader Thomas Mulcair was able to get through a bulk of his list of questions and like Tuesday, they were sharp and concise.
The Senate’s Internal Economy committee has unanimously sent senator Mike Duffy’s expense claims to the RCMP for investigation last night. The motion came from Conservative Senator Larry Smith after the committee heard a report from Senate Clerk Gary O’Brien which revealed a pattern of living expense claims in Ottawa while working on senate business outside the capital. This comes after days of relentless pounding from the opposition and Liberal Senators who asked for this days ago.
For the first time since the scandal broke, Prime Minister Stephen Harper appeared in Question Period to answer the many question opposition leaders had concerning the Duffy affair. NDP leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau hammered the government with short concise questions that were difficult to dodge. At times, Harper looked shaken, and still managed to dodge questions.
With the Duffy affair digging deeper into the public sphere, the public and many opposition MPs and senators have called for the investigation to be handed over to the RCMP. However, an independent agency with the mandate of enforcing the law may be tainted with political interference after the Conservatives mandated Public Safety Minister Vic Toews to oversee the agency’s operations.
Former RCMP Superintendent Gery Clement told CTV’s Question Period Sunday that he sees “strong grounds” for criminal charges, pointing to fraud or, “more appropriately,” breach of trust charges under the Criminal Code as possible avenues for investigators looking into the Duffy affair. However, how independent is the RCMP? New government policies oversee its actions.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was expected to be in Question Period yesterday but decided not to show up. The opposition has many questions and if the scandal wasn’t already noticeable, his absence was even more notable. Conservative MPs were left to scramble to find answers, usually attacking opponents over controversies of their own, Trudeau’s senate comments and the NDP MP that’s known for not paying taxes.
On May 23, Federal Judge Richard Mosley ruled he won’t toss the election results in six ridings amid finding “thinly scattered” voter suppression and fraud in the May 2011 election. The case comes amid a challenge from citizens and democracy advocacy groups after learning of election fraud. The Conservatives cheered the ruling and recently, Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand demands a crackdown.
Ethics commissioner Mary Dawson is telling Canadians her probe will be limited as she readies a third look at former chief of staff Nigel Wright who is involved in a potential conflict of interest when he gave then-Conservative senator Mike Duffy $90,172 to pay off inappropriate housing allowance claims.
Mike Duffy spoke to reporters yesterday and while dodging most of their questions, said he would cooperate with investigations and said he wants Canadians to know the “full story.” He said he wants a “full and open inquiry” to answer many of the questions that have floated around for the past weeks. Meanwhile, the RCMP is closing in, but Duffy said he hasn’t been contacted by them.