Inside Politics

Liberals give PMO another chance to turn over Duffy deal docs

Following the incendiary accusations launched by Senator Mike Duffy from the floor of the Upper House earlier this week, Liberal MP Ralph Goodale is giving the government the opportunity to reconsider its official claim that, despite an extensive, Access to Information request-triggered search, not one official document related to the $90,000 repayment deal between Duffy and former PMO chief of staff Nigel Wright could be found.

In his first extended public comments on the matter, Duffy referred to an email chain that, he says, "shows it took hours of shuttling back and forth as the lawyers checked with their principals about the guarantees they were going to give to ensure that I wasn't censured for going along with this PMO scheme."

Given "all of those emails," Duffy told his Senate colleagues, "you can imagine my shock when I heard there's not a single document about all of this in the PMO, not one. In response to an access to information request, CBC was told there's not one single document related to this matter in the PMO. Well, if they're not in the PMO, they're in the hands of my lawyers and I suspect in the hands of the RCMP."

In response, Goodale submitted the following written question to the Order Paper:

Q-111 -- October 24, 2013 -- Mr. Goodale (Wascana) -- With regard to the Privy Council Office, and to the following documents: the Information to Obtain a Production Order and a Sealing Order, made on June 24th, 2013 by Corporal Greg Horton of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Ottawa, Ontario, before Chantal Dominique Marie Lurette, a Commissioner for the Taking of Oaths in the Province of Ontario, in which he states he has reasonable grounds to believe and does believe that offences contrary to an Act of Parliament have been made by Michael Duffy; the statements made in the Senate by Senator Michael Duffy on October 22, 2013, and statements made to the press on October 21, 2013 in Ottawa by Donald Bayne, a lawyer of that city acting on behalf of Senator Duffy:

(a) does the Access to Information Directorate of the Privy Council Office still conclude that no records exist with regard to Access to Information requests A-2013-00231, A-2013-00232, A-2013-00233, A-2013-00075, A-2013-00076, A-2013-00077, A-2013-00080, A-2013-00085, A-2013-00099, A-2013-00101, A-2013-00103, A-2013-00104, A-2013-00105, A-2013-00106, A-2013-00113, A-2013-00114, A-2013-00116, A-2013-00120, A-2013-00125, A-2013-00126, A-2013-00131, A-2013-00132, A-2013-00139, and A-2012-00751;

(b) will the Directorate re-examine the handling of those requests in light of the new information outlined above;

(c) did the Privy Council Office formerly hold records which would have satisfied one or more of those requests;

(d) if so, were the records transferred, removed, or destroyed;

(e) if transferred or removed, to whose custody or control were they transferred or removed;

(f) if destroyed, when were they destroyed, on what date or dates was the destruction approved, and what is the file number of any order, instruction, directive, or authorization concerning their transfer, removal, or destruction?

Goodale also wants to know just what involvement the Prime Minister's Office may have had in drafting the motions to suspend the trio of embattled senators currently under debate:

Q-1122 -- October 24, 2013 -- Mr. Goodale (Wascana) -- With respect to Senate motions No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 seeking to suspend Senators Brazeau, Duffy and Wallin without pay: (a) was the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) or the Privy Council Office (PCO) consulted or involved in the drafting of the motions, and, if so, who was involved; (b) what are the details of the emails, briefing notes, reports or other documents that were prepared by, or provided to, the PMO or the PCO for the purpose, in whole or in part, of drafting the motions, specifically the titles or files or reference numbers of those documents; (c) what meetings have the PMO or the PCO had, or been involved in, regarding, in whole or in part, the motions; (d) who attended the meetings in (c); (e) what are the details of the emails, briefing notes, reports or other documents that were prepared for or provided, in whole or in part, at these meetings, specifically the titles or files or reference numbers of those documents?

Under the standing orders, the government has 45 days to respond to Goodale's inquiries. Stay tuned! 

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