08/15/2015 02:46 EDT | Updated 08/15/2016 05:59 EDT

Harper Should Fire Senior Staffers Who Were Aware Of Duffy Payment Plan, Trudeau Says

TORONTO — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says Prime Minister Stephen Harper should fire some of his senior staffers.

It's over revelations this week about the $90,000 payment from Harper's former chief of staff Nigel Wright to cover Sen. Mike Duffy's questioned expenses.

When it was revealed in June 2013 that Wright gave Duffy the money out of his own pocket, Harper insisted Wright was the only PMO staffer in on the scheme.

But Duffy's trial has heard evidence this week that half a dozen PMO staff and Conservative party brass were in the know about Wright's plan — including Ray Novak, Harper's current chief of staff.

Harper changed his tune Friday, telling reporters in the Northwest Territories that the "vast majority" of his staff didn't know about the plan.

Before the payment became public, the plan was to say that Duffy repaid the expenses.

Trudeau said Saturday in Toronto that Harper's closest advisers "conspired to mislead the Canadian people and instructed ministers of the Crown to mislead Parliament."

The Liberal leader said Harper "hired the staffers, and is keeping them on the public payroll while they run his election campaign even though he knows full well everything that they did," Trudeau said while attending a union event at a Toronto park. 

"If Stephen Harper had any respect left for the office he is privileged to hold, he would fire these people immediately."

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