Scandal Hits Canada Election Campaign

Scandal Hits Canada Election CampaignScandal Hits Canada Election Campaign

Canada’s ruling Conservative Party is trailing the two main opposition parties for the first time, according to a poll, as a high-profile bribery and fraud trial involving a former senate ally to Prime Minister Stephen Harper have overshadowed election campaigning.

Harper has struggled to distance himself from the months-long criminal trial of Conservative Senator Mike Duffy, who was appointed by Harper and was once a key party fundraiser, as former key aide Nigel Wright testified for a fourth day, Reuters reported.

The premier fired Wright at the height of the 2013 scandal after it was discovered that he secretly gave Duffy a C$90,000 check to cover improper expense claims.

A poll released over the weekend put the Conservatives in third place for the first time since the campaign started in early August. The New Democrats are leading with 33% public support.

Seeking a fourth consecutive term, Harper faces a barrage of questions about the case at several campaign stops while his pledge to increase the number of military reserves to 30,000 from 24,000 drew little attention.