Duffy-Wright: RCMP Say Not 'Very Long' Before More Details Available

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There are more details to be revealed in the RCMP's decision to not charge Nigel Wright, commissioner Bob Paulson said on Wednesday.
There are more details to be revealed in the RCMP's decision to not charge Nigel Wright, commissioner Bob Paulson said on Wednesday.

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson says there's more information to come on the Mounties' decision not to charge Nigel Wright, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former chief of staff, over Wright's payment to suspended Senator Mike Duffy.

NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus last week wrote Paulson with a series of questions about the RCMP investigation and whether investigators discussed their decision with the director of public prosecutions or with anyone from Attorney General Peter MacKay's office.

Wright gave Duffy more than $90,000 of his own money to repay Duffy's questionable Senate living expenses.

Last week, the RCMP announced they didn't have evidence that Wright did anything wrong.

In his response to Angus, Paulson says he agreed that "Canadians should be informed of the work" done by the RCMP "and the rationale" behind closing the investigation into Wright.

But, he wrote in the letter dated April 29, he's "confident they will be informed."

"Unfortunately, this cannot happen now, when other work remains to be done. I can't tell you precisely when it will be except to say that it shouldn't be very long," Paulson said.

'Ethical grey zone'

Paulson also chastised Angus for factual errors in the letter and urged him to be patient. Angus's letter referred to the RCMP dropping charges against Wright, when none had been laid.

"While I'm sure your selection of words was largely innocent you must understand that Mr. Wright was never charged with any offence," Paulson said.

The head of the RCMP said nobody screens or approves his correspondence, nor screens or approves his work.

"This ongoing questioning of our operational independence is quite confounding for me, I have to tell you," Paulson wrote.

Angus had said the allegations raised by the RCMP in court documents, which were heavily reported in the media, have raised "many disturbing questions."

"The fact the RCMP has decided not to follow through on the allegations with charges will certainly raise even more concerns, hence my decision to write to you," Angus said in his letter to Paulson.

The affidavit filed in court by RCMP investigators alleged a number of officials in the prime minister's office and in the Conservative Party were aware of negotiations with Duffy to cover expenses that they wanted him to repay.

Wright says he gave Duffy the money because he wanted taxpayers to be reimbursed. The RCMP affidavit suggests Duffy refused to use his own money to do so.

In the three-page letter, Angus asked Paulson about section 16 of the Parliament of Canada Act, the conflict of interest law that blocks people from offering any kind of compensation to a senator in exchange for some kind of service rendered.

Mobile users, read Angus's letter to RCMP here.

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