HASH(0xbe913c)

HASH(0xbe913c)

Ethics watchdog continues investigation into Wright’s $90K payment to Mike Duffy

Nigel Wright still subject of ethics probe

OTTAWA — Almost a full year after Sen. Mike Duffy was acquitted on 31 charges of fraud, bribery and breach of trust, the man who paid him $90,000 remains under investigation by the federal ethics watchdog.

Ethics commissioner Mary Dawson has revealed that she continues to examine the conduct of Nigel Wright, former prime minister Stephen Harper’s one-time chief of staff.

Wright personally paid Duffy $90,000 to enable the senator to reimburse the Senate for his disputed living expense claims.

Dawson initiated an investigation into Wright’s conduct in May 2013, but suspended it a month later once an RCMP investigation was begun. 

New Democrat MP Charlie Angus, who had urged Dawson to investigate Wright, says the ethics watchdog recently informed him that she resumed her investigation last May after the Crown decided not to appeal Duffy’s acquittal.

Her investigation is ongoing and Dawson told Angus her final report on the matter will be made public.

Among other things, Duffy was charged with accepting a $90,000 bribe. But Wright, who was a Crown witness at Duffy’s trial, was never charged with offering a bribe.

Wright resigned as Harper’s right-hand man once news of the payment leaked out. He maintained throughout the ensuing political and legal maelstrom that he had done nothing wrong and only wanted to ensure that taxpayers were not left on the hook for Duffy’s living expenses.

Duffy had claimed expenses for his longtime home in Ottawa while declaring his Prince Edward Island cottage as his primary residence.

Other than publicly shaming public office holders who breach the Conflict of Interest Act, Dawson has no power to impose sanctions or penalties, other than fines of up to $500 for failure to meet certain reporting requirements.

“She doesn’t have any real tools to hold anybody to account so the best we’re getting here is a moral victory,” Angus said in an interview.

“But I think at least that would be better than leaving the impression that you can make these secret financial arrangements in such squalid conditions and there’s no consequences … It was so wrong on so many levels.”

Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press

Canadian Press

Just Posted

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

The administrative headquarters for the Central Okanagan Public Schools. (File photo)
COVID-19 exposures confirmed at 2 Central Okanagan Schools

The infected individuals are self-isolating at home

Farming Karma is set to release a line of fruit vodka sodas soon. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna fruit growers expanding line of beverages

Farming Karma is expanding from fruit sodas to fruit vodka sodas

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Jane Linden
KCR: Volunteering keeps you active

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read