POLITICS

Stephen Harper Conservatives Faced Robocalls, Senate Scandal, Rogue MPs This Spring

06/19/2013 05:59 EDT | Updated 08/19/2013 05:12 EDT
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BELFAST, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 17: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper waves as he arrives at Belfast International Airport on June 17, 2013 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The two-day G8 summit, hosted by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, is being held in Northern Ireland for the first time. Leaders from the G8 nations have gathered to discuss numerous topics with the situation in Syria expected to dominate the talks. (Photo by Peter Muhly - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
OTTAWA - A chronology of some of the difficulties that have faced Stephen Harper's Conservative government this spring:

Jan. 31 — Finance Minister Jim Flaherty goes public with details of his painful skin disorder in response to mounting speculation about his appearance and public performance.

Feb. 1 — Harper punts the issue of Senate reform by sending a reference to the Supreme Court of Canada seeking the court's opinion on reform options, something the Liberal opposition first said he should do in 2007.

Feb. 6 — Harper says the Conservative party "followed the rules" with anonymous Saskatchewan robocalls designed to influence public opinion on riding redistribution.

Feb. 7 — Conservative Sen. Patrick Brazeau is arrested at his home on sexual assault charges, expelled from the party caucus.

Feb. 14 — The government apologizes for losing the personal information of more than half a million Canadians.

Feb. 15 — John Duncan, the aboriginal affairs minister, quits cabinet after writing a tax court judge on behalf of a constituent.

Feb. 27 — An arrest warrant on corruption charges is issued for Arthur Porter, a former Harper appointee as chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee.

Mar. 14 — Peter Penashue, the intergovernmental affairs minister, resigns from cabinet and gives up his seat over campaign overspending and donation problems in his 2011 election return.

Mar. 26 — Backbench Conservative MPs publicly air their grievances about being muzzled by their own government on the subject of abortion.

April 14 — Liberals elect Justin Trudeau as leader; Conservatives immediately launch attack ads that generate buzz but also growing public hostility.

April 24 — Conservative party urges its MPs to use parliamentary mailing privileges to attack Trudeau; amid public outcry, a number of MPs refuse.

April 22 — A Federal Court judge dismisses a suit brought by the Parliamentary Budget Office on a technicality but strongly suggests the government cannot deny information to the budget watchdog.

April 29 — Government says it will reverse course on its expanded temporary foreign worker program after abuses discovered.

April 30 — Auditor general says $3.1 billion in anti-terrorism spending remains unaccounted for.

May 9 — A Tory-dominated Senate committee clears Sen. Mike Duffy of wrongdoing while coming down hard on Brazeau and Liberal Sen. Mac Harb for similar living expense problems.

May 10 — Conservatives tell Commons that Duffy showed "leadership" in repaying expenses.

May 13 — Penashue loses Labrador byelection to Liberal candidate.

May 14 — CTV reports that Harper's chief of staff, Nigel Wright, secretly gave Sen. Mike Duffy $90,000 to pay off improper Senate expense claims.

May 16 — Duffy leaves Conservative caucus.

May 17 — Sen. Pamela Wallin leaves Conservative caucus over allegations of improper travel expense claims.

May 19 — The Prime Minister's Office announces the resignation of Wright over the Duffy cheque.

May 23 — A Federal Court judge upholds 2011 election results in robocalls civil suit but says widespread phone fraud occurred, likely linked to Conservative party's database.

May 29 — The Conservative party is fined $78,000 by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission for its misleading Saskatchewan robocalls on riding redistribution.

June 5 — Edmonton MP Brent Rathgeber quits Conservative caucus, citing "lack of commitment to transparency" by government.

June 13 — RCMP confirms criminal investigation underway into Wright's payment of Duffy's housing expenses.

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