Things are starting to get interesting -- and potentially nasty. John Ivison reports in The National Post that Mike Duffy is unhappy:
Mr. Duffy’s lawyers have barred him from speaking to the press but he has told friends that he feels he has been thrown under the bus and that the Conservative PR machine is out to destroy him.
Sources close to the now-Independent senator at the centre of the expenses scandal said Mr. Duffy was recruited to present a “kinder, softer” face to the Conservative Party in the run-up to the 2011 election. Friends say he was told that political appearances on the Senate tab were not only tolerated, they were expected by the Prime Minister.
Harper has no qualms about throwing people under the bus if they threaten his own political future. Ask Garth Turner. Ask Bill Casey. Ask Helena Geurgis. Ask Brian Mulroney. And, so far, the prime minister has been able to hear the thump under the wheels and move on.
But, if the Duffy case gets to court, Ivison reports that:
the senator’s lawyers will call Stephen Harper as a witness and grill the Prime Minister under oath, sources said.
That rotund but smiling face may now be haunting the prime minister's dreams:
Mr. Duffy’s case for the defence is likely to rest on public statements by Mr. Harper that show he was comfortable the senator satisfied all residency requirements (the RCMP alleges Mr. Duffy broke the law by claiming a primary residence in Prince Edward Island, when his primary residence was really in Ontario). Back in February, Mr. Harper told the House of Commons that all Conservative senators conformed with the Red Chamber’s residency requirements. “That’s the basis on which they were appointed to the Senate and those requirements have been clear for 150 years,” he said.
The prime minister wove this web. He now appears to be caught in it. If nothing else, the Senate scandal reveals that Stephen Harper is a poor judge of character. He may, indeed, discover that he misjudged the kinder, softer face of the senator from Kanata.