No charges against Nigel Wright, but headaches remain for Stephen Harper



Nigel Wright, former chief of staff for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is shown appearing as a witness at the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Nov. 2, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Photograph by: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick , Postmedia News

OTTAWA — The RCMP will not lay criminal charges against Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, over his $90,000 payment to Sen. Mike Duffy, but the political headaches appear far from over for the prime minister and Conservative government.

Wright’s involvement in the Duffy payment is now being reviewed by the federal ethics commissioner, who had put the file on hold during the RCMP investigation. And Wright could be called to testify in any criminal case against Duffy, whose alleged fraudulent expense claims are still being investigated by the RCMP.

As well, the official Opposition vows to keep up the pressure in the House of Commons.

One longtime Conservative who is a close friend of Wright is calling on Harper to personally apologize to his former chief of staff, whom Harper says he fired over the Duffy affair.

The Mounties announced Tuesday that they’ve concluded their investigation into Wright over the $90,000 cheque he wrote to Duffy to cover improper Senate expense claims.

In a statement, RCMP Cpl. Lucy Shorey said that when the Mounties launched their investigation in June 2013, “there were sufficient grounds to pursue the matter with regards to the offences of breach of trust, bribery, frauds on the government, as well as receiving prohibited compensation contrary to the Parliament of Canada Act.

“Upon completion of the investigation, we have concluded that the evidence gathered does not support criminal charges against Mr. Wright,” she said.

In a statement issued Tuesday by his lawyer, Wright said, “My intention was to secure the repayment of taxpayer funds.

“I believed that my actions were always in the public interest and lawful. The outcome of the RCMP’s detailed and thorough investigation has now upheld my position.”

A spokesman for Harper reacted Tuesday with a short statement. “We are pleased the RCMP has made progress in their work,” said Jason MacDonald, director of communications for Harper. “The Prime Minister’s Office will continue offering every possible assistance to the RCMP’s investigation.”

But NDP leader Tom Mulcair said the RCMP’s decision doesn’t change the fact the prime minister’s appointment of Duffy started the scandal.

“The root cause was Stephen Harper appointing someone as a member of the Senate from Prince Edward Island when he never should have done that because (Duffy) wasn’t living in Prince Edward Island,” Mulcair said on CBC-TV. “Everything else flows from that.”

A spokesperson for Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson confirmed the file has now been turned over to that office. Dawson is “reviewing the matter and will not comment further at this time,” Margot Booth, the commissioner’s spokesperson, said in an email.

Charles McMillan, a long-time personal friend of Wright, said Tuesday evening he was “absolutely delighted” by the RCMP’s decision. “This was a terrific day for Nigel,” he said.

“He always had enormous support inside the party and outside the party. I’m amazed at the number of Liberal and NDP guys who have said to me that he’s an honorable guy and that after 11 months of waiting, we’ve just got to get this thing over with.”

McMillan worked with Wright in then-prime minister Brian Mulroney’s PMO in the mid-1980s and has kept in close touch since.

“We always thought he was innocent on the legal issues. He made a mistake but we all make mistakes in the Prime Minister’s Office. It’s the nature of the beast,” he added. “He took a fall. I don’t think it was deserved.”

McMillan said he’d like to hear an apology from Harper over how Wright was treated after the scandal broke.

“Just say, ‘OK, he’s cleared. That’s terrific. He’s a fantastic guy,’ ” said McMillan.

In February, former Liberal senator Mac Harb (now retired from the Senate) and former Conservative senator Patrick Brazeau were charged with one count each of fraud and breach of trust, the first criminal charges to emanate from the larger Senate spending scandal.

The Mounties continue to investigate expenses claimed by Duffy and former Conservative senator Pamela Wallin. Duffy, Brazeau and Wallin have all been suspended from the Senate without pay.

The scandal blew wide open in May 2013 when it was revealed that Wright had used his personal funds to pay Duffy $90,000 so the senator could cover his improper Senate expenses.

The scandal led to Wright’s resignation as Harper’s chief of staff. The prime minister later said Wright had been dismissed.

Duffy has alleged that officials in Harper’s office told him to say he had taken out a loan from RBC to cover the repayment of $90,000 for his irregular housing claims.

Wright had joined the PMO from Bay Street in late 2010 and was highly prized within government as a smart and steady right-hand man for the prime minister.

When he resigned, Wright wrote that his actions “were intended solely to secure the repayment of funds, which I considered to be in the public interest, and I accept sole responsibility.”

He wrote that he did not “advise the Prime Minister of the means by which Sen. Duffy’s expenses were repaid, either before or after the fact.”

But the resignation sparked a scandal that lasted months, as opposition parties pressed Harper in the House of Commons — usually without success — for answers on how the fiasco occurred in his office.

The affair got even hotter in November when the RCMP released documents as part of its investigation into Wright and Duffy. The documents included internal emails in the Conservative government that raised many questions about the conduct of the Tories as they tried to end the controversy involving Duffy’s expenses.

Duffy said the Conservative party covered his legal bills after discussion of his expenses. He charged that Wright — who had paid the $90,000 toward Duffy’s housing expense claims — had also directed Conservative party lawyer Arthur Hamilton to have his legal bills paid, amounting to a further $13,560.

Harper confirmed last fall in the House of Commons that the Conservative party had paid legal fees for Duffy, saying the party’s Conservative Fund “regularly does in fact cover the legal expenses of its members of Parliament.”

In December, for the first time, Harper spoke in an interview with Postmedia News about how he learned from Wright on the morning of May 15, 2013 about his payment to Duffy.

“I think, to be frank, my first series of reactions were probably in the realm of more stunned and disbelief,” said Harper.

“I, for the life of me, still can’t figure out – I don’t think anybody can figure out – why, for whatever reason, somebody would take this money of his own and give it to somebody who we all believed didn’t deserve it.”


Justice Minister Peter Mckay needs to take a close look at the Nation's Capital where one of Ontario's 54 members of Ontario's largest criminal cartel, the Children's Aid Society have one particular branch who cost Canada many times more than the $266,000 per child year that the CAS extort directly from Ontario's tax payers.

The problems the institutionalization of promotion of crime by those in authority.

Peter McKay needs to take a close look every time he sees an Ottawa Police Badge, the wearer just could be Det. Peter Van Der Zander who personally fabricates evidence to NOT charge Ottawa's most violent female offenders while incarcerating without charges, male victims of Domestic Violence.

Peter McKay should go to 1602 Telesat Court and meet Children's Aid Society Supervisor Robert Godman, aka Rob Godma n who as a supervisor, is one of the chiefs of a tribe of professional Criminals who fabricate evidence to abuse children.

Peter McKay should speak to the local lawyers in Ottawa who have another name for the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa.

They call it "The Gestapo" and there are some very good reasons why.

Supervisors like Robert Godman engage in terror and intimidation to abuse victims of abuse and to sanitize very obvious fabrication of evidence by the lowest forms of humanity like
Child Protection Worker Phillip Hiltz-Laforge.

At the Ottawa Court House, the lead Criminal at the Children's Aid Society, lawyer Marguerite Isobel Lewis who fabricates evidence personally can be seen frequently walking in step, almost hand in hand with Children's Aid Society "Supervisor" Robert Godman".

If Justice Minister Peter McKay wants to know what the Crown Attorneys are doing about Crime, the answer is, that the Crown Attorney's office puts criminals to work as Crown Attorney's like Vikii Bair who abuses the process of justice by STAYING Charges against real criminals because their offenses are against the corrupt administration of Justice in Ottawa.

If you want to immigrate to Canada, Come to Corrupt Ottawa Ontario Canada where real crime starts with government funded paycheck.

Who said Crime does not pay. Join the Children's Aid Society or the Ottawa Police, fabricate evidence and get paid for committing crimes against children.