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article imageOp-Ed: Canada — PM Harper's Chief of Staff Nigel Wright resigns

By Karl Gotthardt     May 19, 2013 in Politics
Ottawa - Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Chief of Staff Nigel Wright resigned amid the Senate scandal involving his help with the repayment of $90,000 for beleaguered Senator Mike Duffy's expense claims. Wright says that he accepts full responsibility.
Wright says that he is stepping down due to the controversy surrounding a cheque he cut on behalf of Senator Mike Duffy's potentially improper expenses. In a statement Wright said that Prime Minister Harper accepted his resignation and that he considered his actions purely in the public interest and that he accepts full responsibility.
“In light of the controversy surrounding my handling of matters involving Senator Duffy, the Prime Minister has accepted my resignation as Chief of Staff.
“My actions were intended solely to secure the repayment of funds, which I considered to be in the public interest, and I accept sole responsibility. I did not advise the Prime Minister of the means by which Sen. Duffy’s expenses were repaid, either before or after the fact.
“I regret the impact of this matter on the Government, our Caucus, and all of my colleagues, for whom I have the highest regard. I came to Ottawa to do my part in providing good government for Canada, and that is all that I ever wanted and worked for in this role.”
Digital Journal reported that the Prime Ministers Office (PMO) was involved in the case of Senator Duffy, with the prime minister's chief of staff, apparently writing a personal cheque to Senator Duffy to permit him to pay back the falsely claimed expenses of $90,172,
The Senate committee on internal economy, budgets and administration tabled a report last week that stated that the criteria for determining the living expense are lacking in the rules and guidelines. While the committee opined that Senators Harb and Brazeau should have known better, it lacked that language in Senator Duffy's case.
On Friday evening Conservative Senator Pamela Wallin resigned from the conservative caucus and will sit as an independent pending the completion of the external audit into her expense claims. Since then it has been revealed that Prime Minister Stephen Harper may have forced Wallin to leave the Conservative caucus.
Wright is the third resignation as a result of the Senate expense claim scandal. While the PM is trying to do damage control, there has to be anxiety about his base and donors to the Conservative Party, which forced the prime minister to act.
PM Harper issued a statement on Sunday, confirming Nigel Wright`s resignation.
“It is with great regret that I have accepted the resignation of Nigel Wright as my chief of staff. I accept that Nigel believed he was acting in the public interest, but I understand the decision he has taken to resign.
"I want to thank Nigel for his tremendous contribution to our government over the past two and a half years," the prime minister said.
Regardless many questions remain and this investigation now needs to be handed to an independent investigator. The prime minister needs to come clean on the issue and reveal the full involvement on this issue. Let the cards fall where they may.
The prime minister is holding a caucus meeting next week. This is far from finished.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Canadian Politics, Stephen Harper, Nigel Wright, Senate scandal, Mike duffy
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