08/16/2015 06:36 EDT | Updated 08/16/2016 05:59 EDT

Trudeau Tries To Keep Senate Expense Scandal In The Public Eye

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

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, Trudeau told reporters in Montreal, where he was taking part in the city's Pride parade.

"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."

Trudeau repeated a call he first made on Saturday for Harper to fire some of his closest advisers who knew about the $90,000 repayment scheme before it become public.

Initially Harper said Wright acted alone, but Duffy's fraud trial heard evidence last 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, saying that the "vast majority" of his staff didn't know about Wright's actions.

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

Wright is to continue to be cross-examined on Monday at Duffy's trial.

The senator has pleaded not guilty to 31 charges including fraud and breach of trust.


The Canadian Press

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