Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It's M-a-r-j-o-r-y you dummies!

Le Breton featured guest at Tory fundraiser

By Glen McGregor
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
We haven’t  heard much from Conservative Senator Marjory LeBreton since she left her position as government house leader in the Senate last summer, amid the fracas over attempts by the Prime Minister’s Office to, allegedly, meddle with a report on then-Conservative Senator Mike Duffy’s expenses.

As evidenced by emails obtained by the RCMP, the PMO attempted to lubricate a happy end to the Deloitte audit with the suggestion that, since Duffy had repaid $90,000 in expenses, it should be case-closed.
Unsurprisingly, the sub-committee of the Senate’s committee on the internal economy — dominated by Conservatives — reached exactly that conclusion.

Shortly after, we learned that Duffy had been made whole on the $90,000 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Chief of Staff, Nigel Wright, and … well, you the know the rest.

In the ensuing hail of bullets, Harper attempted to distance his office from the Senate by removing LeBreton from his cabinet.

At the time, The Toronto Star quoted an unnamed government official saying the Tories  wanted to “draw a black line” between PMO and the Senate. The following month, LeBreton announced she would not continue as Government House Leader, either.

Then, in November, LeBreton was named among two other Conservative senators interviewed by the RCMP’s Corporal Greg Horton.

The Mountie was skeptical about some of the information coming from the three senators about the audit and PMO’s role in it, according to a court document made public in November. LeBreton responded, “I answered all their questions honestly and I conducted myself properly throughout the whole process.”

Nevertheless, LeBreton is still apparently a draw for local Tories.

She was scheduled as the speaker at a breakfast event to raise funds for the Conservative riding association in Nepean, a new riding created when Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre’s Nepean - Carleton was sliced in two.

The event was held at the Barrhaven Legion on Feb. 15, according to the invite page. Guests were asked to pay the royal sum of, uh, $25 (or $10 for students). The invitation circulated by email also misspelled LeBreton’s first name.

Exactly which Conservative candidate’s campaign would benefit from the event is uncertain.

While Poilievre is the MP for Barrhaven currently, he is expected to run in the new adjacent riding of Rideau - Carleton, while Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird will run in Nepean, the seat he represented as an Ontario MPP and where he still lives.

So, whichever, it looks like LeBreton’s aide to the Nepean riding association will ultimately assist at least one Conservative cabinet minister on the other side of the “black line.”

UPDATE: It appears that the fundraiser in Barrhaven was organized by Bill Ayyad, the General Manager of Ottawa’s Park ‘n’ Fly service.

Ayyad was listed on the official delegation that accompanied Harper to the Middle East earlier this year.  Indeed, his open Facebook page shows photos of him standing next to Harper on the trip. 
Bill Ayyad, second from left, on Prime Minister Stephen Harper's trip to the Middle East.

Further Update: Ayyad's wife, Sue, is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal. She was photographed receiving the bauble from Poilievre in 2012.

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