Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Heat on Harper

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The lengthy summer recess Prime Minister Stephen Harper imposed on Parliament has given his government no reprieve from the Senate scandal. Senators Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin are facing suspension for misuse of expense accounts and the Opposition wants a House committee to get to the bottom of how the prime minister misled Canadians on the $90,000 his former chief of staff gave to Mr. Duffy to clear the senator's debt.

Canadians deserve an explanation from the prime minister, who insisted over weeks of questioning about the cheque, which prompted Nigel Wright's resignation in May, that no one in his office but the chief of staff knew of the bailout. The cheque paid off Senate expenses Mr. Duffy wrongly claimed.

Yet Mr. Wright told the RCMP that others, including Mr. Harper's legal adviser and the PMO's director of issues management, knew about the money.

If Mr. Harper knew of this before he prorogued the House for the summer, he should have corrected the record. He must now tell Parliament when he first learned his advisers knew of the $90,000 bailout to Mr. Duffy. Further, senators were thwarted this spring in their attempt to have PMO staff testify what they knew. It is appropriate now, as demanded by the NDP, that the three who knew Mr. Wright bailed out Mr. Duffy appear before a House committee to clear the air.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 18, 2013 A12

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