POLITICS

Duffy Trial: NDP Wants RCMP To Consider Charging Nigel Wright, Other PMO Staffers

08/18/2015 04:20 EDT | Updated 08/18/2016 05:59 EDT

OTTAWA — Revelations in the Mike Duffy trial sparked an NDP request Tuesday to the RCMP to broaden its investigation, as anger erupted among Conservative supporters over journalists who continued to question Stephen Harper about the affair.

The New Democrats' ethics critic asked RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson whether Harper's former chief of staff Nigel Wright ought to face criminal charges and whether a dozen Conservative staffers ought to be investigated in light of what's emerged from Duffy's trial.

Charlie Angus said in a letter to Paulson that Wright's testimony raises new questions about his "role in the scandal."

"Furthermore, Mr. Wright's testimony has painted a picture of numerous senior staff in the Prime Minister's Office working together to try and cover-up this scandal," he wrote.

Earlier, tensions over the Duffy case bubbled over at a campaign event Tuesday in Toronto when Conservative supporters interrupted reporters during the prime minister's press conference and hurled expletives at them as they were leaving the site.

Harper stuck to his main line, that Duffy and Wright were to blame for the whole expenses affair — despite emails at the trial indicating others in Prime Minister's Office discussed the matter.

In one of three questions, Harper was asked why he continued to tell the House of Commons that Wright was the only staffer in his office to know about the $90,000 payment that Wright gave Duffy to cover his expenses.

"I've answered according to the information I had," Harper replied.

"As you know, Mr. Wright made some subsequent statements and so I of course corrected the record. And that was over two years ago."

Earlier, Harper had to intervene to allow another reporter to ask a question about the Duffy case after one heckler yelled: "Ask questions on the topic at hand."

As reporters we leaving, another attendee aimed an expletive at one journalist and accused another of cheating on her taxes.

Conservative spokesman Kory Teneycke apologized for the incident, calling the behaviour unacceptable.

He said all supporters will be reminded about appropriate decorum for events.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair used a sedate setting in Nanaimo, B.C., to tell supporters that the revelations contained in the Duffy emails show that Harper was not being forthcoming during past questioning in the House of Commons.

"I got to question Stephen Harper day in and day out, and I knew what he was telling us didn't hold water. But now Canadians know that as well," Mulcair said.

He called on voters to pass judgment on Harper when they go to the polls on Oct. 19.

"It might be Mr. Wright who's on the witness stand but this is Stephen Harper's trial."

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau criticized the hecklers, saying the media has an important role to play in asking tough questions during an election campaign.

"The fact that this incident lacked respect for not just the media, but for the individual journalists performing their job in service of Canadians is truly deplorable," he said in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., where he continued to promote his plan for clean technology jobs.

On an earlier stop in Sudbury, when asked about Harper's latest tough-on-crime announcement — to do to do away with parole for first-degree murder that includes sexual assault, kidnapping, terrorism, or killing a police or corrections officer — Trudeau evoked the Duffy trial.

"The fact is Mr. Harper is once again trying to deflect, using the politics of fear, from what's going on in the Ottawa courtroom and also from the abject failure of his economic plan over the last 10 years."

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