The RCMP announced it is looking into whether it will launch a criminal investigation into the Duffy affair but added it will not make such a decision public. Assistant Commissioner of the new National Division Gilles Michaud said they are is looking at the evidence it has obtained and insists it will resist pressure from Public Safety Minister Vic Toews who was mandated to monitor and regulate its activities.
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.
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.
On May 16, the RCMP sent a letter to the senate requesting a series of documents they need to investigate the expense claims of senators Mac Harb, Mike Duffy or Patrick Brazeau. Senate Speaker Noel Kinsella confirmed today the RCMP’s anti-corruption unit is looking into the affair. The results of the investigation will determine if there are grounds for a criminal investigation.
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.
While the NDP made a national statement asking the RCMP to investigate the dealings between former chief of staff Nigel Wright and former Conservative senator Mike Duffy, the senate debated what to do with the case. Conservative senators overwhelmingly rejected Liberal calls to bring in the RCMP in favor of sending it back to the same committee that whitewashed the first audit.
The PMO released a statement Friday defending Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff Nigel Wright after he gifted disgraced senator Mike Duffy $90,172 to pay off inappropriate housing allowance expenses. The gift is now under scrutiny for breaking more senate rules and certainly contradicts Harper’s attitude in 2006.
Recent senate reports obtained by CTV reveal the final copies had omitted many of the crucial details that surround disgraced senator Mike Duffy’s scandal. The edits turn certainties into uncertainties and flat out omit other parts, key to answering the many questions floating around these days.
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.