This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
Former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Nigel Wright has mentioned in his latest remarks that he felt it was not necessary to inform Mr. Harper that the Conservative Party would be repaying Senator Mike Duffy’s expenses rather than Mr. Duffy himself. According to his testimony recorded on Monday at Mr. Duffy’s trial, Mr. Wright stated that despite the real source of funds, he informed Mr. Harper it was the senator from PEI who would repay.
Speaking in court, Mr. Wright alleged that “I honestly didn’t think it was that significant a difference,” as he believed it only mattered that the money should be repaid. According to Mr. Wright, he discussed with Mr. Harper about the plan just a few days before Mr. Duffy publicly announced he would repay the questionable expenses. He said that “I didn’t tell him that the source of the funds was the Conservative Fund,” clarifying that “I don’t think it was a lie. I just think it wasn’t on my list of things I needed to check with him.”
Furthermore, Mr. Wright claimed that he told Mr. Harper that the plan was to have the Conservative Party repay $32,000 for Mr. Duffy’s housing claims but later he actually paid over $90,000 after it was determined that the tab was much higher. The aforementioned housing expenses were claimed by Mr. Duffy when he was staying at his long-time Ottawa home, as he reported to the Senate that his primary residence was his cottage in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island.