Saturday, June 08, 2013

Follow The Money

Deep Throat advised Woodward and Bernstein to "follow the money" -- because that trail would lead them back to the White House and the plumbers who committed the Watergate burglary. Greg Weston has done that -- and the trail leads back to the PMO. Tom Walkom writes in today's Toronto Star:

For weeks, questions have swirled as to why Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s then chief of staff would give $90,000 of his own money to Mike Duffy, a Conservative senator he barely knew.

Now we have a plausible answer. It seems that former chief of staff Nigel Wright also controlled a secret Conservative Party slush fund that at times contained almost $1 million.

Which meant that he was in a position to repay himself for his generosity.

The Conservatives are busy spinning the line that there was no such slush fund:

Chris Alexander was given the unenviable task of defending the fund on CBC Radio. He said all political parties defray the partisan activities of their leaders, which is true.

He also said, “All of those expenses are reported to Elections Canada.” Which is not true.

And he said that anything the Conservatives do as a party is “overseen as to its appropriateness by Elections Canada.” Which is also not true.

In fact, as an Elections Canada spokesman confirmed Friday, the monitoring body has limited jurisdiction. Parties must reveal all donations to Elections Canada, which then makes the list public. Parties must account for money they spend on activities during the relatively short period of an election campaign.

Like all the president and all his men, Stephen Harper and his acolytes are desperately trying to cover up what was going on. Unfortunately for them, Brent Rathgeber has focused attention on the rot that has accumulated in the Prime Minister's Office.

As he did in 2008 -- when it looked like his government would fall -- Stephen Harper has gone into hiding, desperately looking for a scapegoat -- one that resides outside his party.The difference this time is that it's abundantly clear, even to the Conservative base, that the enemy is within.

It took Nixon awhile to get around to the realisation that there was no way out. He had to resign. My bet is that -- eventually -- Stephen Harper will come to the same realisation.


Dana said...

Not with constituency associations like Rathgeber's, he won't.

Owen Gray said...

Point well taken, Dana. The real question will be what is going on out in the hinterland?

Stupidity has always been Harper's ally.

bcwaterboy said...

A good question for Flaherty, who seems to have so far dodged any connection, is how a $90 K bailout fits with his austerity plan for Canada. When it seems like a civil servant's salary and benefits can be wiped out by the thousands to save cash, how does this fit with this plan, when it occurred on the heals of massive layoffs. Different set of rules perhaps?

Owen Gray said...

If anything, waterboy, Duffygate puts the lie to the Harper government's insistence on austerity.

What it does make clear, however, is that this government is deeply committed to the concept of privilege.

the salamander said...

.. it seems we need to accomplish a very simple citizen forensics challenge .. ie .. Identify each and every PMO employee.

We need the ID determined of these unelected policy makers, science muzzlers, speechwriters, media buyers (Action Plan), senior advisors, data base expert, wildlife experts or exterminators, Chinese trade treaty geniuses, geological gurus (fracking), economists, data miner, Indian affairs & treaty extinguishing experts, aeronautical experts (F-35's), boreal forest authorities, media minders, United Nations antagonists, farmed salmon experts, live & robo call experts & scriptwriters, lawyers, experts on pornography, incarceration & rehabilitation, spokespersons, electoral suppression specialists, tailings ponds leakage whiz kids, arctic ice melt experts, military procurement heroes .... etc

And then we need an approximation of how much we pay these short pants dwarts, trolls, dweebs, dicks and gals to direct, mind & remind.. whip and drive and herd the elected MP's and dense Ministers of The Harper Brand and the captured bureaucrats of Ottawa & respective departments.

It seems future senators such as poli sci geeks Ray Novak and Stephen Lecce are near the top of the pond scum food chain of this organization in the fine tradition of Tom Flanagan & Bruce Carson et al. And then we have all the toady spokespersons such as Andrew MacDougall, Fred DeLorey, lawyers such as Arthur Hamilton @ 500.00 per hour or more.. Jenni Byrne - dirty election campaign expert ..

So who are the rest of the flacks that actually are running (ruining) the country.. let's get them named, and details of why they were hired .. and/or why they have not been questioned & deposed by the RCMP, Elections Canada or fired by us.

Owen Gray said...

They work in anonymity, salamander; and their salaries will be immune from public scrutiny, thanks to the gutting of Rathgeber's bill.

Every effort is going to be made to maintain the PMO's Star Chamber status.

the salamander said...

.. not so Owen .. there is no such anonymity .. those who are employed within the PMO can, should.. and will be identified.. and why not ?

After all.. They are our leading public servants aside from our elected MP's & The Senate, n'est ce pas ? And as loyal, patriotic Canadians eh .. they should surely step forward & acknowledge their good fortune at being able to serve and represent all of us.

No politician could conceivably see it otherwise.. without appearing to be protecting some sort of secret civil service or hidden agency.

Am I mistaken ? Those who work in the PMO are paid by taxpayers ? And they are hired to fulfill the needs of Canadians, as supervised and/or directed by those who Canadians elected to government ?

Owen Gray said...

What you say makes perfect sense, salamander. And any government as committed to accountability as this one continually insists it is must surely see that.