OTTAWA—Prime Minister Harper is leaving absolutely no doubt about his role in the Duffy repayment scandal. “It was Wright,” he said. “The person, I mean, not the payout. And his action in this matter was very wrong. Very, very wrong indeed. And I am upset about it. Very upset.”
Emboldened by the apparent success of this little emotional warm-up, Mr. Harper attempted to convey more complicated feelings to reporters.
“I’m very sorry that this has occurred. I’m not only sorry, I’ve been through the range of emotions. I’m sorry, I’m frustrated, I’m extremely angry about it,” Mr. Harper said. “And not just angry, but sad…and I feel betrayed…and disillusioned…and somewhat shaken by the whole thing. Not humiliated, mind you. But mostly just sad and a little embarrassed. Also hungry.”
An intern was dispatched and the Prime Minister was soon delivered a sandwich. Experts close to the P.M. believed it to be ham and cheese.
Nigel Wright, who was voluntarily thrown out of the Prime Minister’s Office against his will on May 19 will be subject to questioning by Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson. Wright wrote a personal check from his own account in the amount of $90,172, to reimburse Canadian taxpayers for ineligible expenses claimed by Mike Duffy. The Conservative Party of Canada is considering an inquiry of its own to assess whether selfless reimbursement convenes any of the party’s core principles, if not unwritten rules. Still, should the payout be determined to be more self-serving than selfless, insiders believe Wright may be fully exonerated, at least within the ranks of the party faithful.
After finishing the sandwich, which by this time had been positively identified as ham and Swiss, Mr. Harper notified reporters that he only learned about the repayment scandal from listening to local media, specifically a local hard rock station, 106.9 “The Bear.”
“I admit I do listen to CBC, but only at bedtime,” he explained. “Anyway, the repayment was his personal decision, and he did this in his capacity as chief of staff, so he is solely responsible, and that is why he’s resigned,” the Prime Minister said of Mr. Wright. “It is completely untrue that he was fired, or thrown from my office window, or that he lost his job in a game of musical chairs in a room where I’d removed all the chairs. In this matter, he was solely responsible and did the honourable thing. I knew absolutely nothing of the secret, backroom, hush-hush $90,000 deal with Duffy until the DJ mentioned it in between Metallica songs. These men, men I trusted, hid it from me knowing full well that I’m busy running the country and can’t keep an eye on everything all the time. And had they told me, I would have advised of them of the ridiculousness of discussing such a payout in my presence.”
Meanwhile, in a diner not far away, Mike Duffy remained defiant and certain of his innocence, as he chewed angrily on a Philly Cheese Steak. Duff, who was too large to fit through the Prime Minister’s window, was allegedly ‘tipped and rolled into the street’ on May 16, effectively removing him from the Conservative caucus.
The Senate’s internal economic committee has agreed to look into the spending matter. Public Works and Government Services Canada is looking into adding larger windows to Mr. Harper’s office.
Mr. Angry picture: Warren Kinsella