It’s time for the truth, Mr. Harper
By Davie Wong, Contributor
With the federal election looming, all eyes are on the current and long-time Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper. However, the attention that Harper is receiving is hardly positive.
In July 2014, former Conservative senator Mike Duffy was charged with 31 offences including fraud, breach of trust, and bribery. At the centre of the scandal were none other than the Prime Minister himself and his former right-hand man, former chief of staff Nigel Wright.
The whole scandal erupted in 2013, when it became public knowledge that Duffy had falsely claimed over $90,000 in expenses. Later that year, it was also revealed that Wright allegedly wrote a cheque of $90,000 to cover for Duffy. Shortly after the allegations, Wright stepped down from his position, and Harper denied ever knowing of a cheque.
The real question? Was Harper lying? Did he actually know about the $90,000 cheque? Earlier this month, Wright was called upon to testify in court for the trial of Duffy. It was revealed through several emails that Harper was aware of a plan to have Duffy pay back the original amount of $32,000 and apologize. However, it would appear that he was not informed of the full extent of the plan, which was to cover the original amount secretly using Conservative Party funding, as long as it seemed like Duffy himself was repaying the money and admitted to the mistakes in claiming of expenses.
Nevertheless, the plan seemingly fell through when it was revealed that the amount was over $90,000. When questioned in court about why he still went through with the plan, even though the grounds had changed, Wright only had this to say: “[I had] an obligation to fulfill my end of the arrangement [with Duffy].” He also claimed that Harper had no knowledge that he was still following through with the plan, albeit out of his own pocket.
So did Wright lie to Harper to protect Duffy? In his recent court statement Wright said, “I don’t think I lied to the Prime Minister… I just felt it wasn’t on my list of things I needed to check with him.”
A payment of even the original amount of $32,000, made secretly through the Conservative Party, should have at least been clarified with the head of the party or other major members of the party. So how could it be that no one else knew, not even Harper, the leader of the party?
Wright claims he acted alone. He claims that not even Ray Novak, the man who succeeded him, knew about the cheque, even though there was undisputable evidence that they were both in a conference call when the cheque was discussed. There was also an email sent to Novak by Wright confirming that he would be sending a cheque.
But who could he be protecting by lying about the cheque? Is it Duffy, the accused? Or is it his successor, Novak? All fingers point to a greater figure in the background.
In recent polling, it has been proven that Harper has already lost the faith of the people. Many no longer believe his vague promises of economic regrowth. Now with this scandal, many just want the truth. Just tell us the truth, Mr. Harper. No more lies, no more running. Give Canadians what we deserve as citizens and as human beings. Tell us the truth, Mr. Harper.