August 14, 2015 1:29 pm
Updated: August 14, 2015 4:41 pm

Harper stands by chief of staff during Duffy trial

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WATCH ABOVE: Prime Minister Stephen Harper continued to say during a campaign stop in the Northwest Territories on Friday that Mike Duffy and Nigel Wright are to blame for the current expense scandal taking place in court, and that his current chief of staff shouldn’t be held responsible for Wright’s actions.

HAY RIVER, N.W.T. – Prime Minister Stephen Harper is defending his current chief of staff Ray Novak — a key member of the Conservative election campaign who’s been dragged into Mike Duffy’s criminal trial.

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Emails entered into evidence at the trial show Novak was explicitly made aware that his predecessor Nigel Wright intended to pay the 90-thousand dollars in Duffy’s questioned expenses.

READ MORE: Novak, Harper’s chief of staff, new focus of attention at Duffy trial

During a campaign stop today in Hay River in the Northwest Territories, Harper was asked why he tolerated what a reporter described as Novak’s “lying” about the issue and even promoted him to current chief of staff.

Harper stuck to his claim that Duffy and Wright are to blame and said that as a “subordinate” of Wright, Novak should not be held responsible for the actions of his boss.

Despite the fact that a number of staffers in the Prime Minister’s Office were aware of what was going on, Harper has also steadfastly denied being told his chief of staff was going to foot the bill.

WATCH: Duffy’s lawyer going hard at Nigel Wright on day 3 of his testimony. Laura Stone reports.

LIVE BLOG: Cross examination of Nigel Wright continues at Duffy trial

Harper spokesman Kory Teneycke yesterday said Novak never saw the specific email describing the plan.

Campaigning today in Toronto, NDP leader Tom Muclair said there’s no credibility to the suggestion that Novak doesn’t read his emails.

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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