Inside Politics

New Liberal motion asks House to 'condemn deeply disappointing actions' of PMO

After a last-minute scheduling change scuttled their original opposition debate plans, the Liberals will instead use the upcoming allotted day to issuing a second challenge the PM to explain to Canadians, under oath and "in detail," exactly what, and when, he knew about the now infamous $90,000 repayment deal between his former chief of staff Nigel Wright and Senator Mike Duffy.

The motion, which relies extensively on newly released court documents filed by RCMP investigator Corporal Greg Horton, would, if passed: "condemn the deeply disappointing" alleged "actions" of the Prime Minister's Office. 

It would also "remind" the PM that the ethical guidelines he himself has established for his cabinet members make it explicitly clear that ministers -- and, presumably, prime ministers -- are "personally responsible for the conduct and operations of their offices and the exempt staff in their employ." 

Finally, it would call on the PM "to explain in detail to Canadians, under oath, what Nigel Wright or any other member of his staff or any other Conservative told him at any time about any aspect of any possible arrangement pertaining to Mike Duffy, what he did about it, and when."

The motion follows a theme set by the Liberals earlier this month, when they made an unsuccessful attempt to send the Wright/Duffy affair to the ethics committee for further investigation, with the stipulation that the PM would be ordered to appear for no less than three hours. 

Here's the full text of the latest motion:

That, given the recent sworn statements by RCMP Corporal Greg Horton, which revealed that:

(i) on February 21, 2013, the Prime Minister's Office had agreed that, with regard to Mike Duffy's controversial expenses, the Conservative Party of Canada would "keep him whole on the repayment";

(ii) on February 22, 2013, the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff wanted to "speak to the PM before everything is considered final";

(iii) later on February 22, 2013, the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff confirmed "We are good to go from the PM once Ben has his confirmation from Payne.";

(iv) an agreement was reached between Benjamin Perrin and Janice Payne, counsels for the Prime Minister and Mike Duffy; (v) the amount to keep Mike Duffy whole was calculated to be higher than first determined, requiring a changed source of funds from the Conservative Party to Nigel Wright's personal funds, after which the arrangement proceeded and Duffy's expenses were re-paid; and

(vi) and that subsequently, the Prime Minister's Office engaged in the obstruction of a Deloitte audit and a whitewash of a Senate report;

the House condemn the deeply disappointing actions of the Prime Minister's Office in devising, organizing and participating in an arrangement that the RCMP believes violated sections 119, 121 and 122 of the Criminal Code of Canada and remind the Prime Minister of his own Guide for Ministers and Ministers of State, which states on page 28 that "Ministers and Ministers of State are personally responsible for the conduct and operation of their offices and the exempt staff in their employ," and the House call upon the Prime Minister to explain in detail to Canadians, under oath, what Nigel Wright or any other member of his staff or any other Conservative told him at any time about any aspect of any possible arrangement pertaining to Mike Duffy, what he did about it, and when.


At press time, it's slated to hit the floor of the House on Tuesday -- the day after those much-anticipated by-elections -- although the government could, of course, decide to postpone it yet again. 


Tags: blackberry jungle, opposition day, pmo, wright/duffy affair

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