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MPs grill Harper's new Bay Street chief of staff

The Prime Minister's decision to recruit his next chief of staff from Bay Street has ignited fierce debate over whether senior business executives can serve a political tour of duty in Ottawa before returning to their corner-office jobs.

Nigel Wright officially joins Stephen Harper team next week, first as a senior adviser then as chief of staff after Guy Giorno exists at the end of the year. He is taking temporary leave from his job at Onex Corp., a private investment firm with sprawling holdings beyond the aerospace file Mr. Wright managed.

On Tuesday, he faces the House of Commons ethics committee, where he must explain to MPs how he will avoid falling into conflict of interest while advising the Prime Minister.

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In advance of his appearance, Mr. Wright agreed that an " ethical wall" will be erected and policed by his immediate underling to ensure that his current job does not create conflicts of interest when he assumes the new one. Documents related to this plan have been tabled with the committee.

The opposition remains skeptical. "I think it's an impossible task, I really do, to prevent conflict of interest here," Liberal MP Wayne Easter told The Globe on Monday.

Jane Taber will be in the committee room providing live coverage when testimony begins at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Follow along in the panel below or click here for a mobile-friendly interface if you're using a BlackBerry or iPhone.



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