Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mallick versus Blatchford the duelling banjos!

Good Day Readers:

It seems a tad coincidental that the Toronto Star's Heather Mallick and the National Post's Christie Blatchford would both have articles today about the moribund Douglas Inquiry. A saving grace is that each have taken a somewhat different approach. If Ms Mallick is to be believed Lori Douglas is the judiciary's answer to Rob Ford while for Ms Blatchford the Canadian Judicial Council's procedures and processes are deeply flawed. Surprise!

Two comments. When the now former Inquiry Committee asked Inquiry Council George "Gentleman" Macintosh from Vancouver BigLaw Ferris Law to cross-examine lawyer Jack "Polaroid" King (Lori Douglas' husband now with not so BigLaw Winnipeg's Petersen King) - after original Independent Counsel Guy "The Cat" Pratt and Kirsten "The Pain" Crain (BigLaw Bordon Ladner Gervais - Ottawa/Montreal/Toronto) had finished, it was with very good cause.

George K. Macintosh, Q.C.

Way back in July of 2012 when "Gentleman George" finally had at "Polaroid" it seemed every second sentence was, "I can't remember" or "I can't recall" or "I have no recollection" or "I don't know" ..... ad nauseam. Never before has CyberSmokeBlog witnessed such memory loss by someone testifying under oath.

From the get go Lori Douglas via her taxpayer funded defence "team" has steadfastly maintained she knew absolutely nothing about the internet pictures it was all the work of her husband but here's where it could get most interesting. Christie Blatchford noted Bill C-13, Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act, is currently before the House of Commons designed to curb the internet distribution of sexually explicit photographs without an individual(s) consent. Undoubtedly, this is a reaction to the proliferation of cyberbullying.

With the Conservatives enjoying a majority, it's likely to pass the required three readings. Hopefully, the Senate will then find the wherewithal to wake up long enough to shake the Mounties' investigation to pass it leaving automatic Royal Assent as the only formality to its passage into law.

Given the glacial pace at which the Douglas Inquiry is moving could Bill C-13 become law by the time the Inquiry eventually concludes and if so what possible implications could this have for Jack King and his defence?

It's time for you, Readers, to be the judge and jury. Mallick or Blatchford?

Clare L. Pieuk

Porn photo judge Lori Douglas just won't go away: Mallick

Manitoba judge who was in explicit photos won't quit, and no one can make her go. Meanwhile she's getting paid hundreds of thousands a year to stay at home.

By Heather Mallick, Columnist
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Lori Douglas posed for explicit pictures, she says without her knowledge, before she became a judge. She continues to earn $324,100 plus expenses.

Jack King, husband of Manitoba Justice Lori Douglas, posted explicit photos of his wife online in 2003. They're still married. (John Woods/The Canadian Press File Photo)

Manitoba Queen’s Bench Justice Lori Douglas is the judiciary’s Rob Ford.

She will not resign, no matter how many hearings are held into her deceits, no matter how angry the public is. Judges across Canada — and ethical lawyers hoping to become judges — must be desperately hoping she’ll just do the decent thing and go away. She will not.

And as the city of Toronto has learned, there is no way to make an unwanted official depart. She clings to the cliff.

At this point, given that Douglas must know she can never again function as a judge, it is grotesque that she has been sitting at home since September 2010 pulling in a not unpleasant salary of $324,100 plus expenses.

The people financially profiting from this ludicrously extended investigation into Douglas’s secret history are all on the public tab. No wonder the bright and energetic committee of the Canadian Judicial Council — five senior judges — investigating Douglas resigned en masse November 20, saying the inquiry had gone on for two years and had become excessively time-consuming and expensive. The process may well have to start all over again, with new senior judges.

In the spring, Manitoba Chief Justice Glenn Joyal himself complained to the council about Douglas’s expense claim for therapy. Yes, this happened. She is one of his own judges. No chief justice “can or should be indifferent” to the use of public funds, he said.

It was good to hear.

The problem is not just that Douglas posed for porn photos posted on the Internet in 2003 — she says without her knowledge — by her sinister husband Jack King, but that she said on her application to be a judge that her past was pristine. Then, after an inquiry began, she allegedly altered evidence in her own favour. The list of reasons she cannot be a judge is long.

The inquiry committee, headed by Alberta Chief Justice Catherine Fraser, studied the deeply flawed federal judicial appointment process, a gracious and secretive charade that checked no facts and kept no records. At the Winnipeg hearing last year, I heard senior judges search their memories, which were wanting.

It investigated whether Douglas knew that her husband was trying to lure her into sex with his black client. (King, to whom she remains married, is a white lawyer, formerly of Rhodesia. He posted the photos on a website called Dark Cavern, which caters to those hunting for interracial sex.) Douglas did not show up to explain herself.

The committee was populated by brilliant lawyers like its own George Macintosh, whose questioning was as fast and damning as anything in a movie script, and the famously tenacious Rocco Galati. And then there were those who were less so, who were petulant and obstructive. But they were all paid well. Time passed.

This week, Douglas’s lawyer has been arguing in Federal Court that the committee of judges had no authority to pronounce on Douglas’s conduct.

To which one responds: Who else could do it? Certainly not politicians.

Douglas has been expensing visits to her therapist and flights to Toronto to meet her lawyer. There are shades of the Senate expenses scandal here, people on an ethical borderline. Douglas was said to be terribly upset about the committee viewing the porn photos, disregarding the fact that the photos were available online at the time to me and anyone else on the planet who cared to search.

It does not matter whether the poor woman has the right to expense the therapy she doubtless needs. She was sexually humiliated by her awful husband in the most brutal way. I have seen photographs of her manacled to a bed, of her exposing her genitals, both online and via a — careless would be the generous word — display of these photocopied photos in a Winnipeg courtroom by King himself.

Feminists — I am one — have defended Douglas, who has the same right to a thrilling sexual life as we all do. I don’t enjoy condemning other women. Women, especially those in the airy professional heights, need support from their sisters. But feminism is not Buddhism, as the feminist Caitlin Moran says, and even a Buddhist would pause over Douglas’s tale.

Judges are in a different category. Douglas’s own actions fenced in her legal career. She can no longer render judgment in any cases involving, for instance, divorce, privacy, blackmail, non-white defendants, white defendants or the Internet.

She can’t even rule on any cases with jail terms, for instance, because a good lawyer might raise the fact that the judge is aroused by handcuffing. Lawyers object to things. It’s their job.

Any judgments she made would be appealed, endlessly, just as she is appealing endlessly. A reasonable observer might say that the longer she draws out her case, the longer she earns her massive salary, allowances, expenses and pension rights.

The only good thing to come out of this mess would be a revamped and modernized judicial appointment process that wasn’t conducted amid a cozy chatting circle of Winnipeg lawyers, as happened in this case.

Linked in haste, the judiciary and the distraught Douglas must part. A good judge, indeed a good Canadian citizen, would resign.

Christie Blatchford: Handling of Lori Douglas Inquiry into nude photos allegedly damaged integrity of Canadian Judicial Council

Saturday, November 30, 2013

In 2002-2003, Jack King had posted intimate pictures of Lori Douglas, left, on the hardcore website and tired to entice Alex Chapman, right, into having a sexual relationship with her; Judge Douglas has always vigorously denied she had any idea what her husband was doing with their private pictures. (CBC; David Lipnowski for National Post files)

The Canadian Judicial Council allegedly has damaged its very integrity and its ability to offer procedural fairness to judges by its handling of the Lori Douglas case.

Ms. Douglas is the Manitoba Associate Chief Justice who remains in limbo as the public hearing into allegations against her collapsed about 16 months ago amid charges the inquiry panel was biased against her.

Judge Douglas is facing four allegations, the most scandalous — and the one that has led to her being described in the cruel shorthand of newspaper headlines as the “nude judge” — that she participated with her lawyer husband Jack King in the sexual harassment of Alex Chapman, a former client of Mr. King’s.

She has always adamantly denied knowing what her husband was doing with their intimate bedroom pictures — he posted them online on a hard-core sex site and tried to engage Mr. Chapman into instigating a sexual relationship with her — and indeed, at the aborted hearing held in Winnipeg in 2012, there was considerable evidence Mr. King had been acting on his own, without Judge Douglas’s knowledge or consent.
But in the latest procedural step, her lawyer, Sheila Block, argued this week in Federal Court in Ottawa that not only did the inquiry panel muck up the hearing itself, the CJC by claiming it has a solicitor-client relationship with its “independent counsel” has also vitiated the broader duty of fairness it owes the more than 1,000 federally appointed judges it governs.

The claim of privilege stands in sharp contrast to the CJC’s own bylaws and policies, which emphasize that the independent counsel doesn’t report to the CJC, take direction from it or owe it the traditional lawyer’s duty of loyalty and confidentiality.

The position is also diametrically opposed to what the CJC itself said just three years ago in a report on another disciplinary hearing involving another judge, Paul Cosgrove.

The solicitor-client claim is critical because it means the CJC can give independent counsel “a secret mandate,” or marching orders, and then protect the communications detailing the secret orders from disclosure.

"The strongest case possible

In fact, Ms. Block told Judge Richard Mosely, that’s pretty much what happened in the Douglas case.
The first independent counsel, appointed by the vice-chair of the CJC’s judicial conduct committee Neil Wittman, was Guy Pratte.

Even before the hearing began, Mr. Pratte had reason to be concerned: In a ruling, the inquiry committee had ordered him to present “the strongest case possible” against Judge Douglas.

Mr. Pratte objected, noting his role was to act impartially and in the public interest, not as a prosecutor or hired gun.

Guy Pratte resigned from a Canadian Judicial Council hearing examining the conduct of a senior Manitoba judge. (David Lipnowski for National Post)

He was also directed to add to the formal “notice of allegations” Mr. Chapman’s complaint, though it had not been referred to the inquiry panel by the review panel.

(Mr. Chapman, as his testimony at the hearing revealed, is a deeply suspicious, highly litigious man who once sued his own mother and who has a criminal record for arson, theft and uttering threats under his old name — all of which rendered him a rather unreliable fellow in whom to root a complaint of wrongdoing that could see Judge Douglas lose her job.)

The inquiry panel hired George Macintosh as its own lawyer, called committee counsel, and Mr. Macintosh was quickly mired in a new controversy.

Even as the inquiry panel told him on the Q.T. to instruct Mr. Pratte and his co-counsel to “tone down” a determined but hardly harsh cross-examination of Mr. Chapman, it directed Mr. Macintosh to so aggressively cross two witnesses whose evidence was supportive of Judge Douglas — Mr. King and lawyer Michael Sinclair, the managing partner of the firm where Judge Douglas, then a lawyer, and Mr. King both worked — that Ms. Block demanded the committee recuse itself because it was biased against the judge.

Alex Chapman (Boris Minkevich/Winnipeg Free Press)

The committee refused, evidence continued under protest, and the hearing adjourned as scheduled.

But by August, the thing was wholly off the rails: Both Mr. Pratte and Ms. Block separately applied for judicial review of the panel’s decision, with Ms. Block asking that the inquiry be stopped in its tracks (that was the court proceeding this week).

A week later, Mr. Pratte abruptly resigned.

A new independent counsel was retained, one of her first acts was to withdraw the application for judicial review that Mr. Pratte had filed.

It was when Ms. Block sought to get his letter of resignation — so she could see why he quit, though everyone who was at the hearing could have guessed — that the CJC asserted solicitor-client privilege for the first time, refusing to disclose the letter on the grounds that it was privileged.

Jack King leaves court on July 23, 2012. In his two days of testimony, he said that his wife Lori Douglas did not know he posted naked photos of her on the internet. (Trevor Hagan/The Canadian Press)

With the judicial review application looming in Ottawa this week, last week the five-member inquiry panel abruptly resigned in what in a real-world context looked like a snit — a pre-emptive snit at that.

In their 11-page letter, the three judges and two lawyers of the inquiry panel complained that “judges are not entitled to a process that includes unlimited steps and interlocutory privileges for the judge at public expense.”

But since there is no appeal from an inquiry panel decision, it’s hardly a shocker that a judge would fight tooth and nail at every stage of it for a fair shake.

Judge Mosely didn’t indicate Friday when he would release a decision, only that it would need to be in both official languages, which usually tacks on an extra month.

Norman Sabourin, the CJC’s executive director and general counsel, couldn’t say how fast a new inquiry panel could be appointed, only that it’s “likely” there will be one and that it takes time.

All this unfolds as in the background the federal government has moved to criminalize the non-consensual distribution of “intimate images.”

There are many involved in the Lori Douglas case, starting but not ending with her husband and Mr. Chapman, who have had a go at that sort of shameful conduct.

Postmedia News

Friday, November 29, 2013

Rotten to the core?

RCMP documents how 'how deep the rot was' in PMO: Conservative consultant

Andrea Janus
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Former Conservative staffer David Sachs speaks to Power Play about the PMO on Thursday, November 28, 2013.

Alleged interference into an audit of Mike Duffy’s expenses “showed just how deep the rot was” in the Prime Minister’s Office, says Conservative communications consultant David Sachs.

The long-time Tory worked for former cabinet ministers Lawrence Cannon and Peter Kent, and now sits on the Board of the Conservative Riding Association in Pontiac, Quebec.

Sachs told CTV’s Power Play Thursday evening that his disenchantment with the Conservative government and Harper “has been building over a number of years.”

Now wouldn't that be a real "hoot!"

Good Day Readers:

According to a recent Globe and Mail assessment of the the Ford family wealth their holdings include three condominium properties in Florida.

Clare L. Pieuk
Ford could have trouble crossing border for Winter Classic: Lawyer

Shawn Jeffords
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Mayor Rob Ford leaves his office after another long day at City Hall on November 15, 2013. A throng of media, hecklers and a handfull of supporters saw him off ... (Stan Behal/Toronto Sun)

TORONTO - Unated States Customs and Border Protection officers could put a snag in Mayor Rob Ford’s plan to go to the NHL Winter Classic in Michigan on January 1, a Toronto-based immigration lawyer says.

In fact, they might have something to say about all of his future travel into the United Sates said Henry Chang, an immigration lawyer at Blaney McMurtry.

Chang said Ford’s televised admission he smoked crack cocaine and the subsequent media firestorm could cause serious problems for him when he tries to cross the border. Ford will need to do that to see his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs clash with the Detroit Red Wings at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on New Year’s Day.

“Under the law, (immigration officers) are supposed to bar, or at least ask him, because they’re now aware of it,” Chang said. “Everybody in the world knows that Rob Ford smoked crack cocaine. For you to not ask as an immigration officer is a little strange if you know he’s committed an act that should bar him.”

The United States can bar a person from entering the country for admitting to using a controlled substance to a border guard.

Ford’s televised confession is not like a criminal conviction but an admission to a border guard would be, Chang said.

Much will depend on the officer he gets on the day he drives up to the border, he said. Will that officer want to be the man or woman who barred Ford, with all the subsequent media coverage that comes with it?

“The officers may be told in advance, ‘’Look there is no formal admission. Don’t ask and let it go,’” Chang said. “Theoretically, it could happen. They don’t want to be the one to get into the papers for barring Rob Ford.”

But at some point, someone may decide they want to take a crack at Mayor Ford.

“Let’s say they don’t ask him the question this time,” Chang said. “A year from now ... a guard could say ‘I remember you ... and you admitted publicly that you smoked crack. If that’s true we can’t let you in. We’re going to question you on this. They could do it at any time. They’re supposed to do it now. If he gets in on this trip that doesn’t mean he’s home free for the rest of his life.”

American Customs and Border Protection offices were closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday but representatives have said in previous media reports that they will not comment on individual cases.

If Ford is barred from entry into the United States, he will be tied up the bureaucratic red tape he so hates any time he wants to travel south. He will have to apply for a “non-immigrant waiver” which takes approximately six months and expire in five years.

“It will be a problem in the future for him,” Chang said. “Let’s say 10 years from now, let’s say he’s been barred, he wants to go to his condo in Florida, the waiver is only temporary.

Request for comment from the mayor’s office was not returned by press time.

CyberSmokeBlog: "P..s off Mr. Calandra you too should be abolished along with the Senate and House of Commons!"

CyberSmokeBlog: "Mr. Calandra, when did Stephen Harper first learn Nigel Wright had written Mike Duffy a cheque for $90,000?

Paul Calandra: "CyberSmokeBlog, you know how fond I am of a story. Let me tell you another story about my father.

My father owned a pizza store. He worked 16 to 18 hours a day. I can tell you what my father would not have done if he saw somebody stealing from his cash register. He would not have said, 'You are suspended, but make sure you come back every two weeks and collect a paycheque.' What he would have said, 'You're fired, leave' and he would have called the police.

That is the standard my father expected, this is the standard we expect on this side of the House and that is the standard that Canadians expect. It is only the Liberals who expect a different standard."

CyberSmokeBlog: "P..s off Mr. Calandra you too should be abolished along with the Senate and House of Commons!"

If we abolish Senate, why not the Commons: Delacourt

Much-mocked antics of Tory MP Paul Calandra show the real scandal is not in the Senate, but in the Hours of Commons.

Susan Delacourt, Parliament Hill
Friday, November 29, 2013
MP Paul Calandra, Parliamentary Secretary for the Prime Minister, is the target of a website devoted to mocking his responses in question period. They have involved his daughter's lemonade stand, a pizza-delivering immigrant, and rarely any direct answers. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

It’s a website designed to give us a laugh, but is accidentally revealing the broken state of things on Parliament Hill as this scandal-filled year in politics draws to a close.

In case you haven’t seen it, the website is pretty simple comedy. You merely have to type in a question, click a button, and you receive a recording of Paul Calandra, the Prime Minister’s Parliamentary Secretary, talking about something totally off-topic.

This is what Calandra, also the MP for Oak Ridges-Markham, has been doing almost every day since Parliament resumed this fall. He’s regaled us with tales of his daughters’ lemonade stand, for instance, and, memorably, Eugene, the Filipino immigrant who delivered pizzas at the Calandra family restaurant.

So, over at the website, if you type in a question inquiring what Prime Minister Stephen Harper knew about the Senate scandal, you might get a reply something like this: “My father owned a pizza store. He worked 16-18 hours a day.”

Click again and you may get a story about his daughters’ allowances or the mysterious: “I do like flowers.”

Hilarious, yes, but like the best humour, it’s based on a truth: Calandra, and answers such as this, are making a mockery of democratic debate in Parliament.

Moreover, it shows that the real scandal in Ottawa does not lie in the Senate, but in the House of Commons.

In fact, before we get all riled about the institutional problems of the Red Chamber, perhaps we might want to tackle the more urgent democratic issues in that big room with 308 seats and the green carpet.

As more provinces are hopping aboard the Senate-abolition bandwagon — Manitoba, for instance, with a resolution passed in its legislature this week — we’ve been treated to a diagnosis of Senate ills that could just as easily apply to the Commons.

Consider, for instance, the way the Senate was described this fall by Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, who’s developed an uncanny knack for saying what the federal Conservative government wants to hear when it’s in the midst of trouble.

Wall, the Premier who kicked off the abolish-the-Senate crusade among the provinces earlier this year, said the chamber was “unelected and unaccountable.”

Well, the same could be said about political staffers who now seem to have more power in the Harper government than elected MPs — the infamous “boys in short pants” who tell the MPs what to say. (Though I’m having trouble imagining them writing up Calandra’s fanciful musings for question period.)

“It’s difficult as a lawyer and as a member of Parliament to find my role to be subservient to masters half my age at the Prime Minister’s Office, who tell me how to vote on matters, who tell me what questions to ask of witnesses in committee, who vet my … one-minute member statements,” MP Brent Rathgeber said in June when he quit the Conservative caucus.

“I think legislators like myself have to take a stand … that we’re not going to read these talking points that are written by PMO staffers, that we’re not going to vote like trained seals.”

A little more than a week ago, the RCMP released explosive documents in its ongoing investigation into the scandal over Senator Mike Duffy’s housing expenses and the cheque written by former PMO Chief of Staff Nigel Wright.

Beyond their damning criminal potential, these 80 pages also give us a glimpse into the sketchy workplace culture of this government and especially the lengths to which the PMO was meddling and script-writing for the supposedly independent Senate.

Do we not think that this is going on in the Commons too? And, while it occurs to me, has anyone noticed that abolishing the Senate sounds a lot like proroguing Parliament? An instinct to shut institutions down when they prove troublesome to govern?

When Manitoba moved this week to abolish the Senate, its legislature voted in favour of a declaration describing the chamber as “unrepresentative.”

We’ve seen this problem too in the Commons in recent years. Opposition MPs are not treated by the government as representatives for their ridings — they are often deliberately excluded, for instance, from announcements of government spending on their home turf.

Conservatives have also set up “shadow MPs” in opposition-held ridings, urging residents to send their complaints to a friendly partisan in the area, rather than the local MP. Now there’s a total lack of respect for democratic representation.

Somehow, through all these months of controversy on Parliament Hill, we’ve been lulled into believing that the “undemocratic” Senate is our biggest problem.

It’s not. The offences to democracy are arguably more severe in the elected part of Parliament.

What can be done about it? With all due deference to the MP for Oak Ridges-Markham, we probably don’t need to bother asking Paul Calandra.

Ottawa bureau member Susan Delacourt’s column appears in Saturday Insight. Her new book is Shopping for Votes: How Politicians Choose Us and We Choose Them (Douglas & McIntyre). It is available for purchase at .

Quote of the day .....

"Rob Ford is a train wreck aboard the Titanic about to be hit by the Hindenburg."

Thursday, November 28, 2013

" All these rich elitist people? I'm sick of 'em they don't do nothing. Get out of here. They're the biggest crooks around!" ..... Mayor Rob Ford

Assessing the financial affiars of 'average guy' Mayor Rob Ford

Greg McArthur
Saturday, November 23, 2013

During Rob Ford's media blitz this week, in which he granted interviews to several major American broadcasters there was one common refrain. He is a regular man under attack from the establishment. While touring a low-income apartment with CNN he railed against 'rich, elitist people' who look down on his consumption of drugs and alcohol. 'I'm just an average guy,' he told the network's correspondent Bill Weir.

Anyone who has ever peered into the financial affairs of the mayor and his family would find his identifying with 'poor people' peculiar. His family's many assets include the label and sticker business, Deco Labels and Tags Incorporated co-founded by the mayor's late father, as well as, substantial residential and commercial real estate holdings. It is difficult to put an exact price tag on the family's worth, primarily because Deco is a private corporation. But public records show that Mr. Ford and his family members are far better off than your average Canadian.

Anyone who has ever peered into the financial affairs of the mayor and his family would find his identifying with “poor people” peculiar. His family’s many assets include the label and sticker business, Deco Labels and Tags Incorporated co-founded by the mayor’s late father, as well as substantial residential and commercial real estate holdings. It is difficult to put an exact price tag on his family’s worth, primarily because Deco is a private corporation. But public records show that Mr. Ford and his family members are far better off than your average Canadian.

The Land

Between their private residences, their three Florida condominium units, their three plots of Muskoka land and waterfront cottage, as well as, three swaths of commercial land – totalling 156,421 square feet – owned by companies they control, the Ford family has real estate holdings worth more than $10-million. That figure is based on valuations conducted by MPAC, the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation which is responsible for valuing land for tax purposes. It is also based on tax assessments in Broward County, which is where their Florida vacation properties are located.

The two plots of land that house Deco’s Toronto plant, which are owned by the family holding company, Doug Ford Holdings Incorporated are worth about $3.4-million combined, according to MPAC assessments. Their real estate portfolio also includes property in an industrial part of Etobicoke, north of Highway 401, that their late father bought through one of his companies for $370,000 in 1978. That parcel of land which is located at 85 Vulcan Street currently used by a long-haul trucking company, was most recently valued at $2.4-million. (The owner of the trucking company, Janusz Poreba, estimates that he pays about $12,000 a month to Deco to lease the premises.) Rob Ford, Doug Ford and their mother Diane Ford all own homes in a desirable pocket of central Etobicoke, where the yards are expansive and luxury cars dot the roadways. Doug Ford’s home is valued at $1.7-million. Rob and Doug’s childhood home, where Diane still lives, is valued at $1.3-million. The mayor’s home appears relatively modest – it’s a white-brick bungalow. But it’s in a prime location, at the bottom of a hill that winds up to some of Etobicoke’s largest mansions. It is valued by MPAC at $888,000. In October the average resale price for a home in the Greater Toronto Area was $539,058.

The Company

Deco’s profitability, and Rob Ford’s share of those profits, is something that is not publicly disclosed. The company has a wide array of clients – including retailers in the cosmetic, household cleaning and food and drink industries – that rely on Deco to produce the self-adhesive labels for their goods. In addition to the family’s Etobicoke plant, it also has operations in Chicago and New Jersey. As a private company, there is nothing that requires Deco to publicize its revenues or profit. Robert Murdock, a former stockholder in the distressed New Jersey label company that Deco purchased in 2008, said in an interview that, when that particular plant was sold, his former company’s annual sales were probably between $4- and $5-million.

Doug Ford Jr. has said that the Chicago operations have grown considerably since he moved the company’s business there in the late 1990s. In 2010, when The Globe and Mail profiled the newly elected mayor, an industry publication showed Deco’s annual sales were about $29-million. Since then, a Toronto Life profile of Rob Ford put that figure at $100-million, a number that one industry insider said seems quite high.

The Inheritance

When the Ford family patriarch, Doug Ford Sr. died in 2006, there was very little that was divulged about his net worth in Ontario court estate filings. But a deeper dive into the Ford family’s property records shows that as of early 2013, the estate contained enough to make a $5-million loan. In late March, the Estate of Douglas B. Ford loaned $5-million to the Ford family holding company, Doug Ford Holdings Incorporated (The loan was secured by the three parcels of commercial land owned by the holding company, which is why the figure appears on public documents.) The trustees of Doug Ford Sr.’s estate are Rob and Doug, as well as their mother and their older brother, Randy Ford. There is nothing on the public record about how much, if anything, the mayor or his councillor brother have, or will, receive from the estate. Councillor Doug Ford Jr. has reacted angrily to inquiries about how much he has earned as a businessman and how much he was given. He has credited himself with pushing Deco into the United States, a move that he says his father resisted. This week, when he was asked by Globe City Hall Reporter Elizabeth Church about what he inherited, he replied: “You know something, I worked my ass off 18 hours a day for my money. I started a company that was a mom-and-pop shop, sacrificed my life. I’m an entrepreneur. That’s the country we live in. When you are an entrepreneur, you work your back off in a little printing company and you make it grow through hard work. That’s what this country’s all about.”

The Car

Since 2012, Rob Ford has driven a Cadillac Escalade, a sport utility vehicle that, at the time, cost a minimum of $63,000. The luxury vehicle sells for more than double the average price of a new vehicle in Canada, which Power Information Network data puts at $31,500. A new Escalade is about four times the price of the most inexpensive version of a new Honda Civic, the most popular vehicle in Canada.

With files from Stephanie Chambers and Elizabeth Church

Mountie on a high wire!

RCMP Corporal Greg Horton
Senate spending scandal RCMP probe a high-wire act

The stakes are high for the embattled RCMP as it probes the senate spending scandal. Missteps could have huge repercussions, reflecting on the force's independence and its ability to conduct a thorough and fair inquiry.
Missteps in how hte RCMP handles the sensitive spending scandal probe could reflect on Commissioner Bob Palson's leadership of the force, Tonda MacCharles writes. (Tonda McCharles/Toronto Star file photo.)

Tonda MacCharles, Ottawa Bureau Reporter
Sunday, November 24, 2013

OTTAWA—RCMP Corporal Greg Horton is a 21-year veteran Mountie described as the lead investigator in the explosive affidavits on the RCMP’s senate spending probe.

Horton, with experience in major crime investigations and “applications for judicial authorizations,” is just the Mountie who holds the pen.

There is an entire team of investigators assigned to what is a high-stakes probe not only for the Conservative government.

It’s also a high-wire act for the RCMP’s recently constituted national division and its unit in charge of so-called “sensitive and international investigations,” which works out of an east-end Ottawa location, not the RCMP’s headquarters in suburban Ottawa.

The stakes could not be higher for the embattled RCMP as well as for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a man whose reputation hangs on what he did not know.

Missteps could have huge repercussions on the force, reflecting on the RCMP’s ability to conduct a thorough and fair inquiry, its independence, and Comm. Bob Paulson’s leadership of the force. Unjustified criminal charges could give rise to questions not just of incompetence, but whether political agendas are at play.

The investigation that began in March into questionable senate spending now has reached into the highest political office in the country with allegations — still not formally filed as criminal charges — laid out in detail in public affidavits.

The very fact the RCMP’s working theories are public has given rise to questions. But more on that in a minute.

This past week, Horton swore before a judge the RCMP has “reasonable grounds” to believe that Harper’s former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, and Senator Mike Duffy joined hands in a bribery scheme that sought to buy Duffy’s silence, an altered Deloitte audit, a whitewashed senate report and political cover.

Duffy is separately alleged to have fraudulently used senate resources to pay his housing costs and to cover some travel expenses, as well as for allegedly giving a contract to a friend for apparently little work. Other senators — Conservative appointees Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau, along with former Liberal Mac Harb — are under RCMP investigation, too, in connection with their senate billings.

They are complex files. About 25 Mounties are poring over emails and bank records, conducting interviews — Senator David Tkachuk says they came to him in Saskatchewan while he was undergoing cancer treatment — and editing the summaries that seek to persuade Ontario Judge Hugh Fraser to issue the production orders.

And with Horton’s bombshell affidavit — known as an ITO or Information to Obtain a judicial production order — this week, questions are being raised about why the RCMP has laid it all out there in the absence of formal criminal charges.

The answer in part, says the RCMP, is a 2005 Supreme Court of Canada decision known as Toronto Star Newspapers Limited versus Ontario.

The Star and a number of other media outlets challenged sealed search warrant applications in an investigation into the Aylmer meat-packing plant.

The resulting Supreme Court decision set out clearly that investigators have a high bar to hurdle before a court will now seal search warrant applications.

“Court proceedings are presumptively ‘open’ in Canada,” Justice Morris Fish wrote for a unanimous court, and when the police or Crown seek a sealing order, they need hard evidence to show it would risk the integrity of a criminal investigation. Simply suggesting it would create a disadvantage in an ongoing investigation, or that publicity would compromise investigative efficacy, is not enough, Fish said in the 9-0 ruling.

In the senate probe, Mounties have worked with a provincial Crown attorney at the Ottawa courthouse who provides advice on whether its applications are up to legal scratch, and whether an application to seal the warrants would be justified.

In fact, the Mounties did seek a sealing order on one of the first ITOs filed in the senate investigation and it was granted, says RCMP spokesperson Lucy Shorey.

However, media outlets challenged the sealing order in that matter, and the Crown and RCMP decided it couldn’t meet the test to keep the matter secret.

“In consultation with assigned prosecutors, and based on the 2005 Supreme Court decision Toronto Star versus Ontario, it was determined that there were insufficient grounds to maintain a sealing order,” said Shorey in an email reply to The Star’s questions. “This pertains to all search warrants/production orders on this investigation.”

Shorey added Ottawa court administrative officials now additionally require RCMP investigators to sign forms allowing the release of ITOs, a move she said has only been required in the past three weeks.

“RCMP National Division investigators were following administrative procedures as requested by courts.

We were not required to follow this procedure prior to 3 weeks ago,” she wrote.

That may well reflect a decision last month by Ontario’s attorney general to reinforce to court clerks across the province that the law emphasizes open access to court information.

Court officials were unavailable immediately for comment.

However, it is significant that the RCMP did not have to execute a judicially authorized production order on the Prime Minister’s Office.

Once the RCMP confirmed in May it was investigating, Horton wrote, the prime minister personally ordered relevant emails retained.

(It was already too late in once case. Harper’s special counsel Benjamin Perrin had left the PMO in April, and the government later told the RCMP it was standard protocol to destroy an employee’s records once they leave the job.)

However, Harper waived parliamentary privilege and instructed Privy Council officials to release all other related PMO documents to the Mounties.

The RCMP was given access to an extraordinary trove of 260,000 electronic records, winnowed those to 2,600 of potential evidentiary value, and after combing through the emails and conducting interviews, they have discovered new discrepancies to explore.

That was the reason for this week’s affidavit in an application to get a production order for access to Senate documents.

The Senate, an independent legislative body, is master of its own administrative processes. The Speaker, Conservative Senaator Noel Kinsella, through the senate’s law clerk has indicated the documents will be handed over, subject to the authorization.

That explains why the blockbuster affidavit was filed, and released publicly. Public interest is high and news organizations, including the Toronto Star, are making daily inquiries for access to new documents.

The RCMP has declined the Star’s request for interviews with Horton or other investigators.

But this potboiler has many chapters to come.

That was awfully ballsy James!

Flaherty submitted pre-redacted expense claims in apparent violation of information law

Glen McGregor
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Former Information Commissioner John Reid says Finance Minister Jim Flaherty should not be making changes to his own documents. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

OTTAWA — Finance Minister Jim Flaherty submitted travel expense claims that had been heavily redacted, with numerous “personal” items blacked out from his hotel bills before they were processed for reimbursement, in an apparent violation of the federal information law.

Eight of the hotel bills expensed to the Department of Finance by Flaherty in 2013 were altered to obscure the descriptions and prices of numerous line items charged to his rooms — items for which Flaherty was not paid back.

The total amounts of these bills were also blacked out, with new figures written in by hand, making it impossible to calculate the value of the redacted entries.

The changes to the documents, performed by Flaherty or an employee, appear to have been made before they were submitted to departmental finance officials.

The hotel bills were obtained by the Citizen under the Access to Information Act but the alterations are distinct from those made legally by Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) officials.

The ATIP staff denote redactions with a different method — grey boxes rather than black marker — to conceal private information that is exempt from release under the open-records law. Each redaction has to be explained by citing the section of the Access law used to justify it.

The black marker redactions to Flaherty’s bill do not cite any exemptions.

Flaherty’s office says the items were blacked out because he voluntarily chose to forgo reimbursement for them, as they were “personal” in nature.

“The redacted lines are personal items for which the minister does not seek reimbursement from taxpayers,” said press secretary Marie Prentice.

“They are redacted on the bills to simply indicate to officials they are not to be reimbursed.”

Flaherty’s office did not respond to requests to see the unredacted documents on his hotel bills.
When submitting expense claims, Flaherty may have been mindful of the scandal over former cabinet colleague Bev Oda and a hotel bill showing she had charged taxpayers for a $16 glass on orange juice while on official business in Europe.

Former information commissioner John Reid says Flaherty should not be making changes to his own documents.

“He’s not the one that makes the determination of what is private or not,” Reid said.

“It’s not his responsibility and he certainly shouldn’t have done it.”

ATIP officials must determine what can and cannot be excluded from release, he said.

The hotel bills, Reid said, are government documents because they were created in the course of government business. That means the entire documents are covered by the Access law, even though Flaherty chose not to claim some of the items as expenses.

Among the hotel bills that Flaherty redacted was a three-night stay in January at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Flaherty’s bill from the Sunstar Hotels Davos lists three $544 per night room charges, but eight items charged to his room, along with their prices, have been manually blacked out.

Several of these items appear to have descriptions that are three of four letters long and begin with either a “B,” “P” or “R.”

Also excised was the original total cost charged to Flaherty’s American Express card, with a recalculated amount written in by hand. Even the breakdown of Switzerland’s value-added tax has been blacked out and recalculated to exclude the items.

Prentice would not say what items were charged to this room or any of the others.

“Personal items are personal, that’s why he paid for them personally,” she wrote in a followup email.

Also subject to manual redaction was the bill from Flaherty’s two-night stay at the St. Regis hotel in Bangkok in March, with eight of the 14 items charged to the credit card obscured with black marker.

At the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Hong Kong on the same trip to Asia, Flaherty charged $30 worth of ironing and dry cleaning to his $360 per night room, but the description and amount of another item on the bill was blacked out by hand.

The total value of the bill charged to his credit card was also blacked out, with a new amount written in by hand.

And again in March, at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver, seven of 12 items on Flaherty’s bill were blacked out.

There were similar black outs on bills from hotels in Belgium, France, Bermuda and Montreal.

Only one of these redactions is visible: Staying at the Millennium Hotel in London, England, Flaherty crossed out the £1.50 cost of the Financial Times newspaper that had been applied to his room charge.

A bill submitted by Flaherty for a January lunch at Ottawa steak house Hy’s was also redacted, with two line items obscured. Also on the receipt are three orders listed as “Caesar/tips” at a cost of $28.95 each.

"You're under arrest young man but I can't remember for what ..... jeezus what did I do with my handcuffs?"

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Rob Ford to debut in menage a trois?

Good Day Readers:

Since Mayor Ford can't seem to do anything without mouthpiece brother Doug in tow why not a threesome? Besides, he could carry on after Rob Ford had fallen into a drunken stupor. But what to call it? What to do when you don't get enough to eat at home? ..... by The Toronto Star's new restaurant critic.

Clare L. Pieuk
Porn star wants to film with Mayor Rob Ford

Don Peat, City Hall Bureau Chief
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Porn star Brandy Aniston wants to co-star in an adult video with Mayor Rob Ford. (Toronto Sun files)

TORONTO - Call it the naughty side of Ford Nation.

Mayor Rob Ford has been offered a starring role in an X-rated movie.

TMZ revealed Tuesday that Vivid Entertainment star Brandy Aniston wants to co-star in an adult video with Ford — who has made worldwide headlines in the wake of his crack cocaine scandal.

The news came just a day after a porn parody video of Ford was posted online by

In an interview with Newstalk 1010’s Jim Richards on Tuesday afternoon, Aniston said she thinks Ford is “cute.”

“He’s like a big teddy bear. Who couldn’t think he is cute?” she told Jim Richards Showgram.

Aniston was asked if she would “really go through with this” in the unlikely event Ford agreed.

“I don’t think my bosses would give me much of a choice,” she said.

Asked how she thought Ford would perform, the porn star said she didn’t know.

“Maybe if he was having one of those nights … maybe he would be great,” she said.

Aniston has starred in several adult movies including Breaking Bad XXX.

Ford’s office didn’t respond to a media request about the offer.

Emails, emails, emails ..... whose got the emails? Can you spell "c-o-v-e-r-u-p" Stephen Harper?

Good Day Readers:

It's mind boggling that someone as close to the Prime Minister as his personal legal advisor (Benjamin Perrin) could simply depart the PMO in the middle of a scandal and all his e-mail "miraculously" disappear. Did Mr. Perrin wipe his computer clean or did others do it for him? Under existing legislation does an official paid by taxpayers have carte blanch to destroy information that could be germane to a criminal investigation? Hopefully, with today's enhanced recovery software the RCMP will be able to retrieve the material.

What does the federal government's Access to Information Act leading edge a little over 30-years ago when enacted (hasn't been significantly upgraded since) say, if anything, about such an occurrence? It aids and abets cover-ups don't you think?

As recently as last summer, staffer(s) in then Premier Dalton McGinty's Office were able to delete important, critical background e-mail explaining the Liberal government's cancellation of two gas plants during the 2011 election campaign ultimately costing taxpayers about $1.1 billion in penalties. While the province's Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian slammed the government for its actions in a lengthy, scathing written report she also had to admit although the Archieves and Recordkeeping Act had been broken and freedom of information legislation undermined, there was very little her Office could do. The problem? Toothless legislation or a lack thereof.

Earlier this week former Parliamentary Law Clerk Rob Walsh when interviewed on CBC's Power & Politics had to admit he was aghast and dumbfounded by the way Benjamin Perrin was allowed to leave the PMO while his e-mail went "missing" willy-nilly in the middle of what's amounting to a criminal probe.

 Corporal Greg Horton to the rescue?

Clare L. Pieuk
Complaint filed against ex-PMO lawyer Benjamin Perrin over Wright-Duffy deal
Tuesday, Nobember 26, 2013

A University of Ottawa law professor has filed a complaint against the prime minister’s former lawyer, who allegedly helped broker a secret deal between Nigel Wright and Senator Mike Duffy, CTV News has learned.

Amir Attaran filed a complaint against Benjamin Perrin, who used to work in the Prime Minister’s Office, and Duffy’s lawyer Janice Payne with the law societies of British Columbia and Ontario.

The complaint involves two law societies because Perrin can practice law in both B.C. and Ontario, while Payne practices in Ontario.
Janice Payne
Amir Attaran

It doesn't pass the sniff test Stephen Harper!

A little afternoon "nooky" - be on the lookout for a shirtless UPS driver!

UPS is desperately trying to identify one of its delivery drivers who had sex on the job with a hooker in the back of his truck. Company bigwigs in Oklahoma City are busy figuring out which of their workers indulged in a spot of "afternoon delight" after photographs of his playdate wearing his uniformed shirt appeared online.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Ford Nation to be appointed to Senate?

"Hey, Nova Scotia hosers how's it going eh? Coo loo coo coo coo coo coo .....!"

Good Day Readers:

Since residency requirements don't seem to matter in the senate and Nova Scotia will soon have two vacancies why not? Toronto City Council will love you Stephen Harper.

Clare L. Pieuk
Retiring Nova Scotia senators Oliver, Comeau to be replaced

By Paul McLeod/Ottawa Bureau
Friday, November 22, 2013

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has two Senate vacancies to fill in Nova Scotia, though it’s doubtful he’ll get to them any time soon.

Senator Donald Oliver turned 75 this month, the mandatory age for retirement.

Senator Gerald Comeau has seven years left before mandatory retirement but announced this week he is stepping down early. His retirement takes effect next Thursday.

Comeau is the only francophone Nova Scotia senator while Oliver is only the second black senator ever appointed in Canada.

This presents Harper with a diversity problem.

All other Nova Scotia senators are white anglophones. Liberal senator Jane Cordy is the only woman. There has never been a female Conservative senator from Nova Scotia.

Trying to represent different segments of the population is likely to be a big factor in Harper’s choice of replacements.

But between the Senate expenses scandal and the upcoming Supreme Court decision on Senate reform and abolition, the prime minister will likely not rush to make any new appointments.

He has two years until the next federal election, and there are many names he could be considering.

At the top of the list is Neil LeBlanc, who was Canada’s consul general to Boston and a former provincial cabinet minister. He has the credentials and the connections, and he’s Acadian.

If LeBlanc doesn’t want the gig, it could be offered to Chris d’Entremont. Still in his 40s, d’Entremont would be young for the job but is Acadian and has been a popular MLA for a decade.

The problem is that either LeBlanc or d’Entremont could be eyeing a House of Commons run in 2015 if West Nova MP Greg Kerr, who has had health difficulties, does not reoffer.

Harper has been unpredictable in his past appointments. He may pick a wild card such as former News 95.7 talk-show host Jordi Morgan. Morgan once ran for the Canadian Alliance, and its crew has done well under Harper (see senators Stephen Greene and Michael MacDonald).

Other surprise picks could include Kevin Lacey, Atlantic director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, who has worked for Harper and on party campaigns. There’s also former Halifax mayor Peter Kelly, though he would be a long shot.

More likely candidates include Progressive Conservative stalwarts like Jim David, Executive Director of the Provincial Party, or Janet Fryday Dorey, the Party President.

Former MLA Murray Scott was rumoured to be a front-runner for previous appointments and could be in the mix. Another former Tory MLA, Keith Bain, would have some support as federal EI changes were seen as a factor in him losing his Cape Breton seat in the October provincial election.

Oliver’s departure leaves only two black senators in the 105-seat chamber.

Former lieutenant-governor Mayann Francis could be a contender, though she is already 67.

Former PC candidate Dwayne Provo could get a look, but he is already making around $100,000 after being appointed to the federal Social Security Tribunal earlier this year.

President Leslie Oliver of the Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia is seen as a Conservative party supporter and a contender.

Lesser-known names being murmured about include Gwen Podborski, who has retired to Cape Breton but previously worked as Harper’s Campaign Manager and riding president in Calgary Southwest.

Communications point man Cameron MacKeen is on the national council and has filled many roles for the Tories.

On the Acadian front, former Cabinet Minister Guy LeBlanc and longtime educator Ken Gaudet have both been very involved in the party.

The winner of the next federal election will quickly have three more vacancies to deal with.

Nova Scotia senators James Cowan and Wilfred Moore, both Liberals, and Conservative Kelvin Ogilvie will all reach mandatory retirement age in 2017.

A misplaced sense of noblesse oblige or really stupid?

Nigel Wright had no love for Mike Duffy, despite paying his expense claims

Joan Bryden
Friday, Nobember 22, 2013
Why would Nigel Wright go to such extreme lengths to protect Senator Duffy?

OTTAWA - It's the $90,000 question in the Senate expenses scandal: Why would the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff go to such extreme lengths to protect Senator Mike Duffy?

The question became all the more perplexing this week after documents filed in court by the RCMP revealed that Nigel Wright — and other senior staff in the PMO — thought Duffy was a liar, a loose cannon and a troublemaker.

Yet Wright gave $90,000 out of his own pocket so that Duffy could reimburse his dubious expense claims at no cost to himself.

If Duffy was so much trouble, why would Wright not simply have insisted that Duffy repay his expenses or have his Senate salary garnisheed, as was done with fellow alleged miscreant Patrick Brazeau?

When news first leaked about the transaction last May, the first explanation offered by unnamed insiders — but later denied — was that Wright and Duffy were friends.

The RCMP documents suggest nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, as the negotiations over Duffy's repayment dragged on and the true extent of his expense claims became clear, they show Wright and other top PMO aides became increasingly exasperated with the senator.

After initially believing Duffy had followed the rules, Wright eventually concluded that Duffy "morally should not be claiming" a housing allowance for his longtime Ottawa residence, even if there might be a "technical argument" that could be made for it, according to the documents filed by RCMP Corporal Greg Horton.

At several junctures, Wright thought he'd successfully persuaded the senator to repay his dubious claims, which were initially believed to be about $32,000. But Duffy continued to resist, at one point asking to see a legal analysis as to why he was not entitled to the claims.

"Mr. Wright told Senator Duffy there is no legal analysis and that he (Wright) wasn't looking at this from a legal perspective but rather from a moral perspective of what he should properly claim," writes Horton, who interviewed Wright and reviewed hundreds of emails.

"By this point, Mr. Wright was not happy with Senator Duffy and no longer wishing to debate the matter. He told Senator Duffy that from that point on they will deal lawyer to lawyer on the matter."

Duffy has steadfastly refused to comment on the RCMP documents since they were released earlier this week, and declined again Friday.

In a February 20 email to Wright and another PMO staffer, Duffy cites Wright as telling him he is "in violation of the housing allowance policy" and says his lawyer wants to see the legal analysis.

"I did not say that," Wright angrily responds, "and if you continue to misquote me, then we will be speaking only through lawyers going forward."

At another point, Horton writes that Duffy again "argued that he was entitled to his entitlements" and told Wright he wanted an apology from the Senate internal economy committee, which had referred his expense claims to an external auditor.

"Mr. Wright now was angry and told Senator Duffy the government would not stand behind him," Horton writes.

Eventually, Duffy agreed to repay the expense claims but only on five conditions spelled out by his lawyer, including that the arrangement would "keep him whole" and his legal fees would be reimbursed — which Horton took to mean that Duffy "would not be financially out of pocket."

Wright arranged to have the Conservative party reimburse Duffy but the party balked when it became clear that the tab was actually more than $90,000.

"Mr. Wright was angered by the amount of money owed, initially believing that the allowance related just to accommodations," writes Horton.

"He did not realize that Senator Duffy had been claiming for meals and incidentals as well. He was incensed that Senator Duffy was getting paid for meals he ate in his own house in Ottawa."

"I am beyond furious. This will all be repaid," Wright says in a February 26 email to his Executive Assistant after learning the real tab.

In a March 1 email, Wright tells PMO lawyer Benjamin Perrin: "Senator Duffy would make this easier if he did not have outbursts in Senate caucus that make senators oppose anything that helps him save face for expense claims that they see as inappropriate and as putting their own reputations in harm's way."

Wright was not the only one to lose patience with Duffy. The documents reveal that other PMO staff and fellow senators were fed up, particularly with what they saw as his lack of discretion, as they worked to hush up the entire matter.

"Even though he claims he is careful in what he says and does, the evidence is the opposite!" Marjory LeBreton, then Government Leader in the Senate, wrote in one email. "We have to be very careful what we say to him."

The day before news broke in May about Wright's payment to the senator, Duffy was quoted by a media outlet saying that he had reimbursed the Senate for his expenses by taking out a bank loan and that Wright had "played no role."

When asked by a PMO aide if he'd been taken out of context, Duffy responded by email that he had not known Wright was behind the $90,000 credit that had appeared in his bank account and that he hadn't asked who was responsible "because I did not want to be (beholden) to anyone."

"We need to discuss this. His lying really is tiresome," Ray Novak, the Prime Minister's Principal Secretary at the time and now his Chief of Staff, wrote in an email to another PMO aide.

In a bombshell speech to the Senate last month, shortly before the chamber voted to suspend him without pay, Duffy recounted a different version of events.

After telling Wright he couldn't afford to repay his expense claims, Duffy recalled: "'Don't worry,' Nigel said, 'I'll write the cheque.'"

Given the evident animosity toward Duffy, why did Wright personally bail him out? The RCMP documents suggest he viewed it as a matter of noblesse oblige — his responsibility as a wealthy individual to relieve the burden on taxpayers.

"Mr. Wright explained that he is financially comfortable, having been successful in the private sector prior to agreeing to work within the PMO," Horton writes.

"Since taking on the position within the PMO, he has not filed expense claims for anything, including meals, flights, hotels or legal fees. He estimates he is out of pocket tens of thousands of dollars but it is his global view and contribution to public policy that taxpayers not bear the cost of his position if he can legitimately afford to fund it himself.

"Because of this personal beliefs (sic) and financial ability, he took the personal decision at that time to pay back the $90,000. He did not view it as something out of the norm for him to do and was part of being a good person."

For his part, Duffy told the Senate the whole thing was a "monstrous fraud" perpetrated "to make a political situation, embarrassing to (Prime Minister Stephen Harper's) base, go away."