The Wright-Duffy affair roars back into headlines

Tease the day: Court documents reveal the Conservatives initially intended to pay back Duffy’s expenses
Nick Taylor-Vaisey
Devaan Ingraham/CP

If any Conservative in Ottawa thought the summer would offer their party a chance to start anew, reset its agenda, and march bravely into the fall with new energy, unencumbered by the scandals that so dogged the government all spring—well, they’ll be disappointed to hear that Nigel Wright and Mike Duffy are once again making headlines. You’ll recall the Wright-Duffy affair that had the opposition on the offensive for weeks. Nigel Wright, the ex-chief of staff to the prime minister, gave a personal cheque to Senator Mike Duffy that covered over $90,000 in improperly claimed expenses. Wright eventually resigned his post, and Duffy quit the Conservative caucus.

Then, things went quiet as the RCMP launched an investigation and the government clammed up.

Now, in the dead of summer, the news continues. CTV News, led by Ottawa bureau chief Bob Fife, reported some important things last night: the Conservatives initially planned to cover Duffy’s improperly claimed expenses, until the amount owed was simply too onerous; three people in the Prime Minister’s Office knew of Wright’s payment to Duffy, including a former legal adviser who’s denied any involvement in the payment; and a Mountie is accusing Duffy, in court documents, of breaking the law by accepting the cheque.

This story was never dead, but the Prime Minister’s Office must have hoped it would have slept a while longer.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with the Conservative Party’s initial intention to repay Senator Mike Duffy’s improperly claimed expenses. The National Post fronts the shooting death of Islam Bibi, the most senior female police officer in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with the Conservatives shelving the plan to repay Duffy after his expenses owed were three times higher than they’d anticipated. The Ottawa Citizen leads with a Muslim Brotherhood–driven backlash against Mohamed Morsi’s ouster in Egypt. iPolitics fronts the five provincial by-elections that will hit Ontario in August. leads with the Brotherhood’s call for protest. CTV News leads with the RCMP’s case against Duffy. National Newswatch showcases CTV News’ story about the Wright-Duffy affair.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Submarines. The feds extended a submarine maintenance contract worth $531 million to Babcock Canada Inc., a firm tasked with ensuring the fledgling fleet of subs is operational.2. Deportation. The federal government wants to send Deepan Budlakoti, a Canadian born in Ontario to Indian parents, to India—a country where he’s never lived—because of his criminal record.
3. Tim Hortons. The Canadian Armed Forces scrapped plans to build three mobile Tim Hortons units to be deployed overseas. The $100,000 price tag per unit was too steep.4. DUI. Mothers Against Drunk Driving says repeat offenders caught drinking and driving, including a Saskatchewan man who’s been convicted 19 times, should be classified as dangerous offenders.
5. Rhinos. Poachers in South Africa are projected to kill up to 800 rhinos this year, an all-time high that, if the trend continues, could see the animals erased from the wild within 15 years.6. Guns. Several American states have granted thousands more concealed-carry permits to gun owners in the past year compared to the previous year, a worrying trend for gun control advocates.