Tory senator moved motion to revise Duffy’s expense report; Liberals demand answers
TORONTO – Conservative Senator Carolyn Stewart-Olsen moved a motion to revise the report on Senator Mike Duffy’s expenses, according to new details obtained by Global News.
The source, a senior member of the Senate, said the report ended up dropping “tough language” against Duffy.
Stewart-Olsen, who was once press secretary for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, declined to comment on what happened behind closed doors but told Global News the following:
“Any views, interpretations, or misrepresentations of what went on during an in-camera meeting are purely speculative,” said Stewart-Olsen.
On Thursday, the federal Liberals accused the Harper government of misleading Canadians about a paper trail in the Senate claim scandal.
VIDEO: Liberals ask Harper to disclose all info relating to Duffy scandal (May 23)
Last week, it was revealed that Harper’s former chief of staff Nigel Wright cut a personal cheque for $90,000 to Duffy.
While the Tories insist that no legal documents exist that outline the terms of the gift to Duffy, Liberal MP Ralph Goodale said the government has not denied that at least one email exists that could contain details of the transaction.
Wright has since resigned and Duffy has quit the Conservative caucus.
VIDEO: Nigel Wright resigns (May 19)
The Canadian Press obtained a draft of the internal economy committee’s report that shows the sections of the report that were later dropped. The omitted paragraph outlines “how the firm Deloitte was rebuffed when it asked Duffy again to provide additional documents and for a meeting with his lawyer.”
“In the circumstances the review that Deloitte has been asked to undertake is now unnecessary,” Duffy’s lawyer is quoted as saying in the original committee report.
“The considerable time required for Sen. Duffy to compile the extensive information and documentation required of him by Deloitte as well as his participation in the review of that material, to say nothing of the public expense involved in the same, is no longer needed.”
The Canadian Press also said that while it remained in the expense reports tabled for Senators Mac Jarb and Patrick Brazeau, a section of the report that described the language that defined a primary or secondary residence as “unambiguous” was removed in the internal economy committee’s report on Duffy that was made public.
“My understanding is that the committee reported, used different wording for Sen. Duffy because the money had been repaid, and in the case of Sen. Harb and Sen. Brazeau, that language was used as an instrument to collect the money,” said Conservative Sen. Marjory to The Canadian Press.
When asked whether there was a secret agreement to go easy on Duffy in the report, LeBreton replied: “That is an allegation that I have absolutely no proof of.”
On Wednesday, Duffy showed up at the Senate chamber but did not speak to media as he left the building. He did, however, release a statement stating he welcomed the fact the internal economy committee would be taking a second look at his expenses.
“Canadians deserve to know all the facts. I am confident that when they do they will conclude, as Deloitte has already concluded, that my actions regarding expenses do not merit criticism.”
Opposition members, however, said the case is going back to the same committee that “whitewashed its first report on Duffy.”
Speaking in Peru yesterday, Harper took questions on the expense scandal for the first time since it broke last week. Harper said he was not aware of his right-hand man bailing out Duffy and that he would have never have agreed to the deal had he known about it.
“I was not consulted, I was not asked to sign off on any such thing,” he said.
Harper also said that he was “sorry, frustrated and extremely angry” about the ordeal.
– with files from The Canadian Press
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