Prime minister's former legal adviser's emails resurface; Privy Council Office apologizes
The Privy Council Office has revealed that it has recovered emails from a UBC law professor caught up in the Senate scandal.
An affidavit by Cpl. Greg Horton declared that emails written by Benjamin Perrin, former legal adviser to Stephen Harper, were deleted after he left the prime minister's office earlier this year.
However, it turns out that the emails were retained due to other litigation. This prompted the Privy Council Office to apologize to the RCMP.
Horton's affidavit outlined Perrin's involvement in email correspondence with the prime minister's former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, and with Sen. Mike Duffy's former lawyer, Janice Payne.
On February 19, Wright wrote to Perrin to say that he was going to advise Duffy "that we will defeat any challenge to his residency".
This came after it became public knowledge that Duffy's Prince Edward Island housing expenses weren't filed in accordance with Senate rules.
In a February 21 email to Perrin, Payne sent a list of five conditions or demands by Duffy, including "written acknowledgement that Senator Duffy meets and has always met all requirements necessary to sit as the Senator from PEI".
At the time, Duffy had an Ontario health card and an Ontario driver's licence.
Payne's email to Perrin also stated: "The PMO will take all reasonable efforts to ensure that members of the Conservative caucus, if they speak on this matter, do so in a fashion that's consistent with the agreed media lines."
In May, Perrin sent an emailed statement to the Georgia Straight denying any connection to Wright's $90,000 payment to Duffy to cover his expenses.
"I was not consulted on, and did not participate in, Nigel Wright’s decision to write a personal cheque to reimburse Senator Duffy’s expenses," Perrin wrote in the email. "I have never communicated with the Prime Minister on this matter."
Perrin issued his statement in response to a CTV story claiming that he was involved in Wright's repayment of housing expenses to Duffy.
Perrin has not publicly denied allegations in an RCMP affidavit that he was in communication with Conservative party lawyer Arthur Hamilton and that the Conservatives were, at one time, prepared to cover Duffy's expenses.
However, the party allegedly balked on covering Duffy's bills after the cost rose from $32,000 to $90,000.
That's when Wright allegedly stepped in and wrote a cheque to Duffy.
Horton declared in his affidavit that he has "reasonable grounds" to believe that Duffy and Wright committed fraud, breach of trust, and bribery.
The allegations have not been proven in court and Wright has denied that he broke the law in his dealings with Duffy.
Meanwhile, University of Ottawa law and medicine professor Amir Attaran—a former UBC law-school student—has filed a complaint against Perrin to the B.C. and Ontario law societies.