POLITICS

Nigel Wright Scandal Shows Harper's Hypocrisy, Liberals Charge

11/25/2013 05:52 EST
Flickr: PM Stephen Harper

The Liberals say Stephen Harper has violated the very rules his office wrote on accountability.

On Tuesday, the Liberal Party will advance a motion asking the House of Commons to remind Harper of the rules in the prime minister's guide to accountability. Tuesday is one of 22 days each year the opposition parties have a chance to put forward a motion for debate. The Liberals say Harper violated the rules he set out for his own ministers by denying any knowledge of the actions of Nigel Wright, his former chief of staff. In the guide, ministers are told the buck stops with them.

The motion asks the House of Commons to condemn "the deeply disappointing actions of the Prime Minister's Office in devising, organizing and participating in an arrangement that the RCMP believes violated sections 119, 121 and 122 of the Criminal Code of Canada".

It also asks the House to "remind the Prime Minister of his own Guide for Ministers and Ministers of State, which states on page 28 that 'Ministers and Ministers of State are personally responsible for the conduct and operation of their offices and the exempt staff in their employ'".

The Liberals say Harper has ignored his own rules during the Wright scandal.

"You cannot delegate that responsibility. That responsibility rests with the prime minister and exclusively with him," Liberal deputy leader Ralph Goodale told reporters Friday. "The Parliamentary process, aggressively pursued can bring results. It's brought us this far."

"The government's strategy is obviously to isolate, obfuscate, deny, deny, deny and hope that everybody just gets tired of it. That's not going to happen."

Here's the full text of the motion:

That, given the recent sworn statements by RCMP Corporal Greg Horton, which revealed that:

(i) on February 21, 2013, the Prime Minister’s Office had agreed that, with regard to Mike Duffy’s controversial expenses, the Conservative Party of Canada would “keep him whole on the repayment”;

(ii) on February 22, 2013, the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff wanted to “speak to the PM before everything is considered final”;

(iii) later on February 22, 2013, the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff confirmed “We are good to go from the PM once Ben has his confirmation from Payne”;

(iv) an agreement was reached between Benjamin Perrin and Janice Payne, counsels for the Prime Minister and Mike Duffy;

(v) the amount to keep Mike Duffy whole was calculated to be higher than first determined, requiring a changed source of funds from Conservative Party funds to Nigel Wright’s personal funds, after which the arrangement proceeded and Duffy’s expenses were re-paid; and

(vi) subsequently, the Prime Minister's Office engaged in the obstruction of a Deloitte audit and a whitewash of a Senate report;

the House condemn the deeply disappointing actions of the Prime Minister's Office in devising, organizing and participating in an arrangement that the RCMP believes violated sections 119, 121 and 122 of the Criminal Code of Canada, and remind the Prime Minister of his own Guide for Ministers and Ministers of State, which states on page 28 that “Ministers and Ministers of State are personally responsible for the conduct and operation of their offices and the exempt staff in their employ,” and the House call upon the Prime Minister to explain in detail to Canadians, under oath, what Nigel Wright or any other member of his staff or any other Conservative told him at any time about any aspect of any possible arrangement pertaining to Mike Duffy, what he did about it, and when.

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