The House

Mid-week Podcast: Beyond Nigel Wright's testimony

The Duffy trial will take a break after next week, but there could be more bombshells coming before that as former PMO lawyer Benjamin Perrin takes Nigel Wright's place in the witness box Thursday. We take a mid-week break to assess the fall-out for the Conservatives and the political considerations of all three parties going forward.
Nigel Wright is testifying for a fifth day at the trial of Senator Mike Duffy in an Ottawa courtroom. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Nigel Wright is out of the witness box — and out of the hot seat — but the Conservative Party is only beginning to feel the heat as the revelations keep coming and the questions continue to mount for Stephen Harper

How much did Stephen Harper's current chief of staff, Ray Novak, know about Wright's $90,000 cheque to Mike Duffy? And what will former PMO lawyer Benjamin Perrin reveal when he takes the stand Thursday?

With Wright's testimony now over and Perrin up next, we assess the political damage with Mark Kennedy, parliamentary bureau chief for the Ottawa Citizen, and Marie Vastel, political writer for Le Devoir

"It's not necessarily the original sin that gets you in trouble — it's how you try and cover it up," Kennedy says.

"If the story becomes 'who's telling the truth - is it Mr. Harper, is it Mr. Novak, is it Mr. Wright, is it his former legal counsel Benjamin Perrin'...who do we believe?"

Vastel isn't so sure those questions will stop once the Duffy trial breaks next week until November, saying that in her home province of Quebec, public interest in the trial shows no sign of abating.

"It does seem to resonate somewhat...people do seem to be tuning in," she says. "Even if you don't really tune in to political's hard to avoid."

For Kennedy, the reason for Canadians' attention is simple.

"There were people in that office who wanted to deceive Canadians," he says. 

"Clearly they were putting forward a lie."

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