Last week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper fled to South America to dodge questions about the unraveling Senate expenses scandal and his now-resigned chief of staff Nigel Wright. He returned on Friday but, on Monday, tried to dodge the scandal again. He skipped Question Period in the House of Commons.
Harper finally showed up in the House on Tuesday and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair roasted him. Prosecutor style. Short, precise questions.
Mulcair: Mr. Speaker, on what date and at what time was the Prime Minister informed that Nigel Wright had made a payment to Conservative Senator Mike Duffy?
Harper: On Wednesday, May 15, I was told about it. At that very moment, I demanded that my office ensure that the public was informed, and they were informed appropriately.
Mulcair: When did the Prime Minister first speak with Nigel Wright about Mike Duffy’s expenses?
Harper: As I have said repeatedly, my first knowledge of this was on the date and at the time indicated. Prior to that point in time, it was my understanding that Mr. Duffy had paid back his own expenses.
Mulcair: The question was, when did the Prime Minister first speak with Nigel Wright about Mike Duffy’s expenses, and how many times did he speak with Nigel Wright in the week preceding his resignation?
As you can see from the video, many of our burning questions still remain unanswered. Either Harper deliberately played ignorant or Mulcair unnerved him.
A few praises for Mulcair’s performance:
Harper is plainly flustered by Mulcair’s method of asking short, specific questions. In more than seven years he’s never seen such a thing.
— Paul Wells (@InklessPW) May 28, 2013
— Tony Tracy (@Tony_Tracy) May 29, 2013
Great question by Mulcair to Harper–you can tell he’s a lawyer #QP
— Norman Spector (@nspector4) May 28, 2013
— Ash (@hennatea) May 28, 2013
And a few news headlines:
NDP leader Thomas Mulcair shines in parliamentary duel with Stephen Harper