POLITICS

Time To Hear Mike Duffy's Version Of Events Of PMO Scandal

10/23/2013 10:48 EDT

It was, by all accounts, the best political theatre in recent years. Mike Duffy, in the Senate chamber, delivered his version of events in the expense scandal, drawing Prime Minister Stephen Harper into the fold.

In the 15-minute speech, which was not televised, the senator outlines how he came under scrutiny for his expenses, how he met with then-PMO chief of staff Nigel Wright and how Harper -- despite previous statements that he was not involved with the cheque that Wright wrote to pay back the expenses -- was involved.

But that was just the start. Duffy included detail on how he felt the pressure of the PMO and from fellow Conservatives.

The transcript is a riveting read, the audio more so.

Here, we present, Duffy's version.

  • "I feel I have no other choice than to come here and defend my good name"
    Much has been made of the $90,000 cheque from Nigel Wright. I hope I'll be able to give an explanation of the chain of events and the circumstances surrounding that gift without impugning the rights of others to a fair trial, should criminal proceedings follow
  • "I allowed myself to be intimidated"
    Like you, I took a solemn oath to put the interests of Canadians ahead of all else. However, the sad truth is, I allowed myself to be intimidated into doing what I knew in my heart was wrong out of a fear of losing my job and out of a misguided sense of loyalty.
  • "The political heat escalated"
    So after caucus on Feb. 13 of this year, I met the Prime Minister and Nigel Wright, just the three of us
  • PM wasn't interested in explanations
    I said that despite the smear in the papers, I had not broken the rules, but the Prime Minister wasn't interested in explanations or the truth.
  • What the PM told Duffy
    It's not about what you did; it's about the perception of what you did that has been created in the media. The rules are inexplicable to our base.
  • "I was ordered by the Prime Minister"
    I was ordered by the Prime Minister: Pay the money back, end of discussion. Nigel Wright was present throughout, just the three of us.
  • "The PMO piled on the pressure"
    CP
    Some honourable senators called me in PEI. One senator in particular left several particularly nasty and menacing messages: Do what the Prime Minister wants. Do it for the PM and for the good of the party. I continued to resist. Finally, the message from the PMO became: Do what we want or else.
  • How the cheque came to be
    However, if you do what we want, the Prime Minister will publicly confirm that you're entitled to sit as a senator from P.E.I. and you won't lose your seat. Tkachuk and Stewart Olsen (pictured) are ready to make that press release now. I said: They don't have the power to do that. He said: Agree to what we want right now or else. I made one last effort. I said: I don't believe I owe anything, and besides which, I don't have $90,000. Don't worry, Nigel said, I'll write the cheque. Let the lawyers handle the details; you just follow the plan and we'll keep Carolyn Stewart Olsen and David Tkachuk at bay.
  • And that audit. How that happened
    CP
    There was an undertaking made by the PMO, with the agreement of the Senate leadership, that I would not be audited by Deloitte, that I'd be given a pass; and further, that if this phony scheme ever became public, Senator LeBreton, the Leader of the Government of the day, would whip the Conservative caucus to prevent my expulsion from the chamber.
  • "I had not violated the Senate rules"
    CP
    After combing my living expense claims, my travel claims, Senate air travel, my cellphone records and Senate American Express, Deloitte found that I had not violated the Senate rules.
  • "The deal was off"
    Then, in May, after someone leaked selected excerpts of a confidential email I had sent to my lawyer in February, in which I voiced my opposition and concern about the deal, the PMO was back with a vengeance.
    Ray Novak pictured.
  • The phone call he got
    I was called at home in Cavendish by Ray Novak , senior assistant to the Prime Minister. He had with him Senator LeBreton (pictured), Leader of the Government in the Senate. Senator LeBreton was emphatic: The deal was off. If I didn't resign from the Conservative caucus within 90 minutes, I'd be thrown out of the caucus immediately, without a meeting, without a vote. In addition, she said, if I didn't quit the caucus immediately, I'd be sent to the Senate Ethics Committee, with orders from the leadership to throw me out of the Senate.
  • Duffy pleas to his fellow Senators
    CP
    I urge you to defeat these motions or, at the very least, vote in favour of Senator Cowan's motion to refer, so that people can have their day in court. Honourable senators and my friends, especially my colleagues on the other side, today you are facing what I faced in February. Be a team player and go along with the PMO and the Senate leadership, or stand up and do your constitutional duty.
  • "I wish I had had the courage to say no back in February"
    CP
    I wish I had had the courage to say no back in February when this monstrous political scheme was first ordered. Today you have an opportunity to stand strong and use your power to restrain the unaccountable power of the PMO. That's what this Senate is about, sober second thought, not taking dictation from kids in short pants down the hall. I urge you to say no to these outrageous motions. Tell the whips: My oath as a senator is to put Canada first, and that comes before my loyalty to any party or any leader. Senators, Canadians are watching. Thank you.

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