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Few convinced Harper didn’t know about chief of staff’s cheque to Duffy: poll

Prime Minister Stephen Harper answers a question during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday May 28, 2013.

Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Stephen Harper has convinced few Canadians that he was kept out of the loop when chief of staff Nigel Wright delivered a secret $90,000 gift to Senator Mike Duffy, a new poll suggests.

A survey by Ipsos-Reid for CTV News found that 42 per cent of Canadians surveyed are "convinced" that the prime minister had knowledge of the gift and 13 per cent believed he was deliberately kept in the dark by Mr. Wright.

Nearly half of Canadians are unsure. The survey found 44 per cent of respondents are "not sure" whether Mr. Harper had any knowledge of the cheque before news of the covert arrangement broke in mid-May.

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The online survey of 1,009 respondents was conducted May 27 and May 28. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 per cent.

The prime minister has repeatedly assured Canadians he was not informed about the deal until CTV News reported it. It was May 15 that the Prime Minister's Office came clean about the transaction, revealing that Mr. Wright wrote a $90,172 cheque for Mr. Duffy so the senator could reimburse taxpayers for improperly-claimed expenses.

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