What top Conservatives said about the Duffy-Wright affair
Top Conservatives and their aides have made statements over the course of the scandal around Sen. Mike Duffy's expenses that have been later contradicted, or substantially changed. Here are a few examples.
Former PMO lawyer Benjamin Perrin:
What he said: "I was not consulted on, and did not participate in, Nigel Wright's decision to write a personal cheque to reimburse Senator Duffy's expenses." (Written statement, May 21, 2013.)
What came out later: According to emails and testimony in court, Perrin was actively involved in negotiating an agreement for repayment with Duffy's former lawyer Janice Payne, and was one of the people around Harper aware that Wright repaid the $90,000 in expenses.
Conservative Fund of Canada chairman Sen. Irving Gerstein:
What he said: "I made it absolutely clear to Nigel Wright that the Conservative Fund Canada would not pay for Senator Duffy's disputed expenses and it never did." (Speech to Conservative convention, Nov.2,2013)
What came out later: Nigel Wright has told a courtroom that Gerstein gave the green light to paying both Duffy's legal fees and his expenses in Feb. 2013, when it was believed the latter totalled $32,000. Wright says Gerstein balked when the total rose to $90,000.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper:
What he said: "Those were his Nigel Wright's decisions. They were not communicated to me or to members of my office." (response to question period query, June 5, 2013).
What came out later: Duffy's trial has heard through testimony and emails that several people in Harper's office and inside the party were aware that either the party was prepared to repay the senator's expenses, or that Wright himself had ultimately paid.
Sen. Carolyn Stewart Olsen, former member of Senate's internal economy steering committee:
What she said: "I didn't talk about what I was doing on that committee to anyone other than those directly involved, like our Senate leader, who would have to talk to me about what was going on and things like that. I couldn't even talk to Duffy or any of the people who were involved because that would be not proper I don't think." (Interview with The Canadian Press, June 3, 2013.)
What came out later: Stewart Olsen was one of the senators taking direct orders from Wright and others in PMO on how to shape the committee's final report on Duffy to make sure the language was softened. "Hi Nigel, just a quick note to say that I am always ready to do exactly what is asked...," she wrote in an email on Mar.1, 2013.