Monday Medley: Time is Wright for Duffy trial to resume

Nigel Wright testifies before the Commons ethics committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa November 2, 2010. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Election what?

If you were too busy last week watching the Jon Stewart swan song to care about the first federal election debate, you can be forgiven. Just as you can this week, should you miss any key electioneering moves, because you were focused on phase two of the trial of former senator Mike Duffy.

On Wednesday, star witness Nigel Wright takes the stand and Duffy’s defence team will be licking its chops to cross-examine Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff.

The PM continues to insist that Wright acted alone when he gave the disgraced former Conservative senator $90,000 to repay his disallowed housing and travel expenses.

For a refresher, see FindLaw Canada’s video: What is a business expense?

Questioned about the trial during an election stop on the weekend, Harper responded: "I did not know that Mr. Wright had made a payment to Mr. Duffy."

Harper added: "As soon as I learned that, I made that public. And Mr. Wright has been clear about that. This is the purpose of the process and those who are responsible and I'll let the court do its work."

Cracking down on ‘terror tourism’

In a bid to get beyond the looming Duffy trial, Harper announced a new plan to crack down on so-called “terror tourism” — making it a crime for Canadians to travel abroad to fight with groups that Ottawa has officially identified as terrorist organizations.

Harper, who made the policy promise during a weekend campaign stop in Ottawa, said the new legislation would establish “declared areas” — regions of the world where terrorist groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant hold control and use their base to recruit and train followers.

National security agencies like CSIS would monitor Canadians travelling to those areas and, upon return, those citizens would be forced to prove they were there for humanitarian reasons, or as media covering the conflict.

NDP leader Tom Mulcair said there was no “concrete effect” to Harper’s plan, adding: "I don't know of too many flights between Toronto and the war zones, most of them are going through other countries so it won't make a big difference practically speaking."

Not very neighbourly

A 61-year-old Calgary man never saw the bullet coming. That’s because he was shot by his next-door neighbour.

The victim was hit in the stomach last Thursday evening by a bullet fired from his 25-year-old neighbour’s handgun that was accidentally discharged and went through the walls of the adjoining units. Police say the shooter immediately called 911 after the shot and was arrested.

"As a gun owner, you've got certain responsibilities and obligations to meet, and that's something that we're going to be looking into, just to make sure all the steps that could have been reasonably taken were taken in this case," said Det. Neil MacPherson.

The elderly man is in hospital and expected to make a full recovery. It’s not known if he will press charges.

Find a Lawyer