Will Harper re-hire him? Or even apologize?
Nigel Wright will not face criminal charges.
The Mounties have cleared him; he’s as white as the driven snow.
Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff will not face criminal accusations for giving $ 90,000 to Conservative Senator Mike Duffy so he could pay back to the Senate money he owed Canadian taxpayers.
Wright will not face fraud, bribery or breach of trust charges. The police investigation into the scandal in Prime Minister Harper’s office lasted eight months and cost the Conservative government a lot of time and trouble.
But Wright may still testify in court if the RCMP lay charges against other members of the Harper entourage in the Senate payback scandal that included obtaining Duffy’s silence.
In a statement this week, the RCMP said there was evidence enough to warrant an investigation, but after a lot of exhaustive work, they decided there were no grounds for laying charges against Wright.
Wright said he is relieved, adding that he knew from the beginning that he had done nothing wrong.
Police have cleared Wright, but their investigation continues into the larger Senate scandal involving the prime minister’s office.
Police got their hands on an e-mail from Wright to Harper’s lawyer, Ben Perrin. It said that before he signed off on a $90,000 payment to Duffy, Wright first wanted to talk to the prime minister about it.
Police also obtained an e-mail Wright sent half an hour later in which he wrote “we’re good to go.”
Wright later told police this didn’t mean the prime minister had approved Wright paying the money Duffy owed the Senate.
Wright said it really meant that Duffy was “good to go” and pay his own Senate bill.
In the end, Duffy never paid his Senate bill to the Senate. It was Wright who paid it.
Why would a Chief of Staff to the prime minister pay $ 90,000 out of his own pocket for a Conservative senator who owed money to the Senate?
There are other questions.
Why did Wright have to speak to Harper before Duffy paid back money he owed the Senate? Couldn’t Duffy do that on his own?
And if Prime Minister Harper was deliberately not being told what was happening around him, why would Wright tell another member of the entourage that he wanted to discuss the payment to Duffy with Harper?
Harper said he never knew what was going on around him. Evidence obtained by the police indicates that 13 people in Harper’s entourage were aware of the deal with Duffy.
Why was the Prime Minister the only person kept in the dark?
After the scandal broke, Wright left the prime minister’s office. Harper said at first that he was sad that Wright had resigned, but later after the scandal worsened, Harper changed his tune and said that he had fired Wright for having kept him in the dark about what was happening.
Now that the RCMP have cleared Wright, should Harper take him back at full pay as his Chief of Staff? Wright was getting about $ 200,000 a year.
It is doubtful he will be re-hired.