Another Senate bombshell

Last week, new documents related to the Senate scandal were released to the public—and they paint a picture of a well-organized scheme involving many individuals working for or appointed by Stephen Harper.
They also appear to contradict much of what the prime minister has said he knew and when he knew it.
The new revelations came via court documents filed by RCMP investigator Cpl. Greg Horton, who is the lead investigator on the Senate scandal file.
In response to relentless questioning by NDP leader Tom Mulcair, there are two statements that have been made by the prime minister which should be kept in mind as we look at some of the new information. They are:
“. . . it was my understanding that Mr. Duffy had paid back his own expenses.”—Stephen Harper, Question Period, May 28.
“This matter came to my attention two weeks ago, after speculation [that Nigel Wright had paid them instead of Duffy] appeared in the media. On Wednesday, May 15, I was told about it.”—Stephen Harper, Question Period, May 28.
So to summarize, Mr. Harper has claimed a). he thought Mr. Duffy had personally repaid the expenses and b). he found out that Mr. Duffy did not on May 15.
Unfortunately, the newly-release RCMP documents seem to suggest something different.
The evidence presented by Cpl. Horton suggests the original “deal,” before Nigel Wright agreed to personally pay Mr. Duffy’s $90,000 bill, was for the Conservative Party to pay it, instead. The evidence also seems to suggest that not only did the prime minister know of this arrangement, but that he may have personally approved the deal.
The original agreement drafted by Mike Duffy’s lawyer and sent to Benjamin Perrin, the prime minister’s personal lawyer, on Feb. 21 included five conditions under which Mr. Duffy’s expenses would be repaid.
A summary of what Duffy would receive as part of the deal, as outlined on pages 76 and 77 of the RCMP documents, is as follows:
•withdraw from the Deloitte audit;
•acknowledgement that Sen. Duffy meets requirements to sit as the senator from P.E.I.;
•repayment/reimbursement, including legal fees;
•permission to collect a living allowance in the future should the rules change; and
•the Conservative caucus would speak on the matter consistent with the agreed upon media lines.
The third point (repayment/reimbursement, including legal fees) was clarifying that Mr. Duffy would be compensated by the Conservative Party for the money that he was repaying to the Senate.
In short, Duffy would not have to repay for the expenses himself–the party would cover it.
If you are able to read the court documents, you will see this arrangement is very clearly spelled out near the bottom of page 32.
Before the above five-point agreement was finalized, Nigel Wright sought and received the personal approval of Prime Minister Harper on Feb. 22. Here is an excerpt from an e-mail exchange between Nigel Wright, Benjamin Perrin, “and others in the PMO” on Feb. 22 (as described by Cpl. Horton):
Feb. 22–Nigel Wright wrote, “Ben, please go back to Ms. Payne [Duffy’s lawyer] on these points and ascertain where they stand on everything else. I do want to speak to the PM before everything is considered final.”
Less than an hour later, Wright followed up with an e-mail stating, “We are good to go from the PM once Ben has his confirmation from Payne.”
So how does the above new revelation jive with Harper’s public claims that a). he thought Mr. Duffy had paid the expenses himself and b). he only found out that Mr. Duffy did not on May 15?
It’s hard to say, but this is just one of the many new questions the prime minister must answer following the release of these documents.
And you can rest assured that Tom Mulcair will continue to stand and hold the prime minister to account because he and I believe you deserve to know the truth.