Harper defends payment for Mike Duffy's legal bill

Senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau. (REUTERS)

Senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau. (REUTERS)

Mark Dunn, Senior National Reporter

, Last Updated: 12:42 PM ET

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Sen. Mike Duffy should be dumped from the public payroll like his former chief of staff because he lies and has shown no remorse for pocketing money that didn't belong to him.

While Harper was delivering a blistering rebuttal of his appointee's latest salvos, the government moved to end debate in the Senate to set the stage for a vote to expel senators Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau without pay and benefits.

That vote could come Thursday when delegates stream into Calgary for a party policy convention, where Harper is set to deliver the keynote Friday evening.

He was unrelenting in his swipes at Duffy's allegations of a conspiracy and cover-up orchestrated by the Prime Minister's Office to force him to accept $90,000 from Harper's former right hand man, Nigel Wright.

He was equally critical of Wright's "secret" actions in the PMO that have embarrassed the government as it deals with the fallout from the spending scandal rather than extolling the benefits of a free trade deal with Europe.

"The reality is Mr. Duffy has not paid a cent back to the taxpayers of Canada," Harper said. "The fact that he hasn't and the fact that he shows absolutely no regret for his actions and the fact that he has told untruths about his actions means he should be removed from the public payroll."

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair seized on Duffy's bomb Monday that Wright also arranged for the party to cover his $13,560 legal bill - a transaction that was handled by party lawyer Arthur Hamilton.

"The party regularly reimburses members of its caucus for valid legal expenses as do other parties," Harper said.

Harper was on his feet most of question period responding to accusations under police investigation that have implicated PMO staffers and Tory senators.

Harper continued to maintain he was in the dark about Wright's freelancing.

He dismissed Duffy's claim of being coached to deceive Canadians by spreading a false story about getting a loan from the Royal Bank to repay the $90,000 when the story originally broke about housing allowances.

"He said he took out a loan against his assets to repay money he had taken inappropriately from taxpayers and now turns around and says, 'By the way I never should have repaid any of it, I was entitled to it all the time and it's not my fault that I made up these lies on national television.'"

The prime minister was also asked to explain why he told a radio station Monday he dismissed Duffy after saying Wright resigned.

He replied that Wright acted inappropriately and "that is why I explained this clearly to him that he could no longer work for me."


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