We are now in week three of the federal election campaign and things are beginning to heat up.
What some thought would be another dull federal campaign is turning into a mudslinging battle. From blows and pointed attack ads between the major party leaders to Prime Minister Harper openly calling out Alberta’s provincial NDP government, it’s been interesting and we are only a quarter of the way through the mammoth campaign period.
What’s most interesting and what was running parallel to the federal election for the most part, but has taken a step directly into the election as an issue is the ongoing Senate expense scandal and the Mike Duffy trial.
What many thought wouldn’t catch up to the Prime Minister or affect his election campaign has now become a tangled web for the PMO’s office.
Nigel Wright, former chief of staff for Prime Minister Harper, has been on the hot seat at the trial in Ottawa, being cross-examined daily regarding a series of emails related to the fallout of Duffy’s questionable expenses.
In 2013, Wright wrote a $90,000 cheque to cover Duffy’s expenses and then permitted Duffy to tell the public that he himself had paid the expenses back, thus misleading the Canadian people.
Duffy has pled not guilty to 31 charges of fraud, bribery and breach of trust related to the expenses he claimed as a Senator.
During the trial, Wright testified that he didn’t think allowing Duffy to say he had paid his expenses back, when Wright out of his own pocket had paid the amount, was anything other than, “Bad misrepresentation.”
Harper’s current Chief of Staff, Ray Novak, who is steadily on the campaign trail, has also been brought into the web of the trial after a claim Novak also knew about the Duffy pay out.
The Conservative Party maintains Novak found out about the cheque when it became public knowledge later on in 2013. Harper has also been hounded with questions about Novak on the campaign trail but he insists that he did not know about his former chief of staff’s actions. He distances himself by repeatedly stating that the two individuals responsible are being held accountable in court.
As for our local area, most candidates have distanced themselves from the Duffy trial and are rightfully focusing on local issues.
Voters across Canada will go to the polls on Oct. 19th, with the nomination process closing on Sept. 28th.
Even though it is early, several candidates have already put their names forward for the newly-formed Red Deer-Lacombe riding including incumbent Conservative candidate Blaine Calkins and Liberal candidate Jeff Rock.
Doug Hart and Katherine Swampy have both put their names forward for the federal NDP nomination, which will be decided next week.