The lengthy summer recess Prime Minister Stephen Harper imposed on Parliament has given his government no reprieve from the Senate scandal. Senators Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin are facing suspension for misuse of expense accounts and the Opposition wants a House committee to get to the bottom of how the prime minister misled Canadians on the $90,000 his former chief of staff gave to Duffy to clear the senator’s debt.
Canadians deserve an explanation from the prime minister, who insisted over weeks of questioning about the cheque, which prompted Nigel Wright’s resignation in May, that no one in his office but the chief of staff knew of the bailout. The cheque paid off Senate expenses Duffy wrongly claimed.
Yet Wright told the RCMP that others, including Harper’s legal adviser and the PMO’s director of issues management, knew about the money.
If Harper knew of this before he prorogued the House for the summer, he should have corrected the record. He must now tell Parliament when he first learned his advisers knew of the $90,000 bailout to Duffy. Further, senators were thwarted this spring in their attempt to have PMO staff testify what they knew. It is appropriate now, as demanded by the NDP, that the three who knew Wright bailed out Duffy appear before a House committee to clear the air.
» A version of this editorial ran recently in the Winnipeg Free Press.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 21, 2013