Harper says 'I did not know' about Duffy payment

The Canadian Press
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Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrives at the presidential palace in Lima, Peru, today. Harper is in Peru on an one-day official visit. — Photo by The Associated Press

LIMA, Peru — Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he did not know about — nor was he asked to sign off on — the arrangement that saw his chief of staff, Nigel Wright, cut a personal cheque for $90,000 to Sen. Mike Duffy.

Harper also says he would not have allowed Wright, who has since resigned, to give the money to Duffy had he known about it.

It’s the first time Harper himself has directly answered questions about the Senate expenses scandal since news of the payment surfaced last week.

The payment allowed Duffy to stop co-operating with an external audit of his expenses — an audit that has since been referred back to a Senate committee for review.

Wright resigned Sunday, and Duffy quit the Conservative caucus last Thursday, after the details of their transaction began to emerge.

The arrangement between the two is also under investigation by the federal ethics commissioner.

Geographic location: LIMA, Peru

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  • Torey Nomore
    May 23, 2013 - 10:46

    This is reason number 2,568,431 that I can't vote Tory no more!

  • Gullible Tory
    May 23, 2013 - 10:45

    PM Harper, my hero; I believe you, where millions don't. May I have my koolaid now, sir?

  • Political Watcher
    May 23, 2013 - 06:12

    The ultimate micro-manager whose staff and office scripts every word his cabinet spews expects us to believe that he was in the dark? Not buying it; Harper must have been aware of this and probably thought it would get through without notice. He speaks of accountability and transperency yet one of his key Mnisters constructed a multi-million dollar gazebo and park out of funds that were allocated for the G7 summit security and Harper thought this was ok as well. I can only hope that this sticks to him and forces him out.

  • starr.
    May 23, 2013 - 02:24

    Sparky - Maybe you should run for PM since you have all the answers. Old Duff was pretty sneaky and if he chose not to go through the PM with this, how on earth would the PM know. Check out what your own wife, FG or partner is doing behind our back. Stick around a ltitle bit and keep an ey on things, eh!

  • Scott Free
    May 22, 2013 - 19:22

    Pro-Rogue Steve, be a man; do the right thing: resign, and take all your corrupt Con Party Reformist Republican clones with you. None of you can be trusted; you've abused democracy and stolen our faith in government and process. Your reputation is tainted, your credibility is zero and your legacy is disgusting.

  • sparky
    May 22, 2013 - 15:06

    Maybe if steve harper would stick around canada for a little bit,he would be able to keep-an-eye on things but hes more concerned with photo-hops with world leaders & hand shakes!, please stop bringing animals from other parts of the world back to canada,we don`t have that kinda money to throw away!

    • david
      May 23, 2013 - 03:02

      Yes...photo hops are tiring on the feet. And they come out blurry.

  • Whaddaya At
    May 22, 2013 - 14:40

    Nigel Wright had to have known he was risking his job by giving $90,000 to a wannabe big shot like Mike Duffy, without the knowledge of Stephen Harper, Wright's close personal friend for decades. It begs the question 'why' ?. As a journalist, Duffy spent years slithering around the backrooms in Ottawa and hobnobbing with the movers and shakers. He had more dirt on more people than Hedda Hopper. Hmm.