POLITICS

Harper Hammered With More Questions On Mike Duffy Affair, Ray Novak

08/16/2015 12:22 EDT | Updated 08/16/2016 05:59 EDT

OTTAWA- Conservative Leader Stephen Harper continued to be dogged with questions about the Mike Duffy affair on the campaign trail again Sunday.

Harper was asked about his current chief of staff and campaign team member, Ray Novak, who was included on an email about a secret deal to pay back Duffy's expenses.

A spokesman for the Conservatives maintains Novak did not open his email and that he was pulled away from a conference call on the matter.

Harper's former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, will face another day of cross-examination from Duffy's lawyer on Monday.

Three of the 31 charges that Duffy faces are related to the famous $90,000 payment that he received from Wright-- he has pleaded not guilty to all the counts, which include fraud and breach of trust.

Wright moved out of his position after it became public that he gave the senator the money.

Wright testified last week that he provided the money to Duffy after an original plan, that would have involved the Conservative party fund paying back the expenses, fell through.

During a question and answer session with reporters Harper scoffed at any comparison of the Duffy affair to the sponsorship scandal of the former Liberal administration.

"I think the comparison is absurd,'' said Harper, who noted the sponsorship scandal involved tens of millions of dollars.

"In this case we have a Senator whose expenses in our judgement were not justifiable, and my response was he should pay those expenses back and that's what I was told happened.''

Harper paid a visit to a hardware store in west Ottawa and held an event at a downtown hotel.

Former Conservative Sen. Marjory LeBreton was approached by reporters at the hotel event but she was ushered away by Tory staffers.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau kept the issue of how the Prime Minister's Office handled Duffy's expenses scandal in the public eye on Sunday, announcing he was sending an open letter to Harper.

Speaking to reporters in Montreal-- where he was attending the city's Pride parade-- Trudeau said Harper has refused to provide straight answers about the repayment of Duffy's expenses and who in the PMO knew that former chief of staff Nigel Wright made a $90,000 payment on Duffy's behalf.

"We are going to ask him very direct questions,'' Trudeau said.

"He's refused to answer from the media or publicly, perhaps he'll answer them in writing.

"There are questions about the inconsistencies in his own stories, his own contradictory statements, there are inconsistencies in what ministers of the Crown have been told to say to Parliament.''

Also on HuffPost

Nigel Wright Emails In Mike Duffy Case