Monday, May 20, 2013

Senator Duffy Affair: An explosive sentence

Senator Duffy
I have underlined and bolded an explosive sentence in the Andrea Janus article about the CTV report on the agreement dealing with the payment to Senator Duffy of an amount of $90,000 regarding expenses he claimed.

Remember that one sentence as this affair starts unfolding!

Here it is:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former special counsel and legal adviser worked on the legal deal between Nigel Wright and Sen. Mike Duffy’s lawyer that called for Wright to help Duffy pay off $90,000 in invalid expense claims, CTV News has learned.

Sources told CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife that back in February, Benjamin Perrin helped draft the letter of understanding that called for Duffy to publicly declare that he would repay the money. In return, sources say, Wright would give a personal cheque to Duffy to cover the $90,000. Sources say the agreement also stipulated that a Senate investigation into expense claims would go easy on Duffy.

The Prime Minister’s Office insists that neither Perrin nor Wright told Harper about the payout to Duffy or about any aspects of the secret arrangement.

The PMO also declined to release the letter of agreement, saying it is now in the hands of Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson, who is investigating Wright’s $90,000 cheque to Duffy.

Dawson’s investigation could take a year or more.
This thing is getting mighty interesting.


  1. Now, Cat, the web widens. Here we have two lawyers, personal aides to the prime minister, Wright, Harper's chief of staff, has two law degrees, one from Harvard. Benjamin Perrin, Harper's special counsel and personal legal advisor, is an associate prof at the UBC law faculty.

    Lawyer Wright, in a "spur of the moment" decision, overlooks the Rules of the Senate, the Parliament of Canada Act and the Criminal Code, and decides to slide a $90,000 personal cheque off to Duffy.

    Lawyer Wright then engages lawyer Perrin, the prime minister's special counsel and personal legal advisor and seconded law professor, to draft the letter of understanding,. Perrin then likewise overlooks the Rules of the Senate, the Parliament of Canada Act and the Criminal Code.

    And, of course, even though Wright and Perrin are intimate associates of the prime minister and Perrin even the PM's personal legal advisor, neither of them breathe a word of this to the boss.

    What happens to highly-educated lawyers who facilitate this sort of arrangement, Glenn? And how, given his lawyer-client relationship with the prime minister, could Perrin agree to become involved ostensibly behind his most-important client ever's back?

  2. Vanisi, you assume that Wright and Perrin are overlooking the Senate rules, Criminal Code and Parliament of Canada Act. What provisions of each of those do you think might have applied to the actions of these two men?

  3. Coyne has them neatly summarized here:

    s. 17(1) Senate Conflict of Interest Code

    s. 16(1) Parliament of Canada Act

    s. 121(1) Criminal Code

  4. Thanks! That's a long list of potential problems for the actors in this mini-drama. This thing has legs.


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