CBC News has learned the PMO has a secret fund, allegedly paid for by the Conservative Party, to be used for funds the PMO deems isn’t best to leave on the taxpayers’ backs. Questions have been raised whether Nigel Wright, who controlled the fund, either used the money to pay Mike Duffy or was reimbursed with this money for paying Duffy. Furthermore, questions are raised as to why a secret fund using Conservative funds isn’t just declared as expenses incurred by the Conservative Party.
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.
Government Senate Leader Marjory LeBreton will ask the auditor general to conduct a “comprehensive” audit over senate expenses. She said she will launch the audit Tuesday and will put the entire senate under the microscope.
A new string of emails from September 2009 suggest Duffy was trying to cash in from Conservative coffers. The senator who entered claiming to be non-partisan was already caught in another email, just three months sooner, asking who to charge for an “expanded role” in the Conservative Party.
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.
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.