OTTAWA – This may require a little prime ministerial stickhandling.
Stephen J. Harper, hockey author, relied for ethical advice on the same former senior staffer he now says is solely responsible for an ethics scandal rattling his Conservative government.
The prime minister’s long-awaited hockey history, “A Great Game,” was released earlier this month and in the acknowledgments Harper credits the assistance of Nigel Wright, his now-disgraced chief of staff.
Harper says several staffers in the Prime Minister’s Office helped on the book – with “minimal impact” on their official duties, of course – and credits Wright for the advice and liaison he provided with the federal ethics commissioner.
“Nigel Wright similarly assisted with advice and liaison with Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson, whose office was forthright and constructive,” Harper writes.
Wright has become Harper’s go-to whipping boy since he resigned – or was fired – from the PMO last May over his role in an ongoing Senate expense scandal.
Harper has stressed repeatedly in the House of Commons that Wright alone is under RCMP investigation in an alleged bribery and breach of trust scheme with former Conservative Sen. Mike Duffy.
“On our side there is one person responsible for this deception and that person is Mr. Wright. It is Mr. Wright by his own admission,” the prime minister said in the House of Commons last month.
All proceeds from “A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs and the Rise of Professional Hockey,” are going to a military charity.