Friday, October 25, 2013

'Til Death

Yesterday, in the Postmedia papers, Andrew Coyne wondered why Stephen Harper would risk so much over Mike Duffy's expenses. He ended his column by paraphrasing Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons: "it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world . . . but for Duffy?"

On the same day, in The National Post, Tasha Kheiriddin answered Coyne's question:

The only real option for Prime Minister Stephen Harper is to fight to the death — to shred Mr. Duffy’s credibility, and with it, his story. The Tories are masters of the attack ad and the research that goes with it, which makes it all the more likely they will do what they do best: throw their opponent under a shiny blue bus.

And when the issue of integrity is at stake, they won’t hesitate to sacrifice one of their own. Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, now Minister of Tourism, Maxime Bernier resigned from cabinet in disgrace in 2008 after leaving NATO documents at the home of his ex-girlfriend, who had been linked to organized-crime figures. Former Minister of State for the Status of Women Helena Guergis was turfed in 2010 on unspecified allegations regarding her conduct, fueled by news reports that her husband, former MP Rahim Jaffer, had consorted with con men and “busty hookers.” Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was hauled before a commission of inquiry in 2008 over his relationship with fraudster Karl-Heinz Schreiber.

When Duffy met with Wright and Harper, he was reminded that, like More, he served at the King's convenience. That meant that, if necessary, he had to take a bullet for the boss. Mr. Harper should have known when he appointed him that  Mr. Duffy would accept accolades, but he would not bow out, as Mr. Wright did.

Mike Duffy is no Thomas More. But his predicament is the same. After having remained silent all this time -- and with nothing left to lose -- he has spoken. In the end, this is all about the power of the King. And, in the end, either Mr. Duffy's or Mr. Harper's head will be put on public display.


Lorne said...

Iit is a strange political world indeed, Owen, where I find myself hoping that a bloated and over privileged porkbarreller triumphs over a bloated tyrant who cares nothing about morality, principle, integrity or democracy.

Owen Gray said...

Some have declared that More was a saint, Lorne. Duffy certainly doesn't deserve that accolade.

On the other hand, democracy rests on the assumption that less noble men than More can hold our leaders to account.

CK said...

I saw an interesting comment to Michael Den Tandt's latest article. It doesn't have to be an either or. It's about a criminal (Duffy) v a crime boss (Harper). Neither deserve sympathy.

Holly Stick said...

Actually I think Tracey Kent suggested a better answer for why they would try to cover up by giving Duffy that $90,000; to avoid yet another investigation into yet more illegal election over-spending by the Conservatives.

Duffy, Wallin (maybe other senators) helped some riding campaigns but their expenses may not have been shown as riding campaign expenses.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, CK. Neither man deserves sympathy. But we are supposed to be a nation of laws, not men. Mr. Harper has demonstrated time and again that he believes he has the authority to override the law. The appointment of Justice Nadon is just the most recent example.

If the Senate expels these three people before the RCMP investigation is complete and debated, we have, indeed, become a nation of men -- or, in this case, one man.

Owen Gray said...

I suspect that is entirely possible, Holly. As their omnibus budget bills have demonstrated, the Conservatives have much to hide.

Sunlight may be the best disinfectant. But it is Stephen Harper's mortal enemy.

Rene said...

Kammerherr of the Imperial Court, Marshall of the Gentry, deemed a "fat-bellied fool" by the imperial despot who appointed him to office yet who preferred the company of illiterate simpletons and the political counsel of psychotic lunatics, Mikhail Rodzianko was a fat-bellied buffoon who had once introduced himself to Tsarevich Alexei as "the fattest man in Russia". No revolutionary conspirator was this Rodzianko, who upon learning of the revolutionary victory, the defection of military troops and news of the Tsar's abdication wept openly and with great reluctance and trembling hands found himself thrust upon the world stage as "leader" of a revolution he feared and despised.

Duffy, by way of comparison, may well be the fattest man in the Canadian Senate, serving a mad despot distrustful of his own appointed officials and preferring the company and counsel of simpletons, yet no loyal lackey is this fat bellied schemer, more weasel than toad, whose only loyalty is to his own appetites and who may yet drag down his co-conspirators out of pure malice and spite.....

Owen Gray said...

What you say may well be true, Rene. Certainly Duffy is no Thomas More; and it's hard to feel sympathy for him.

Still, the Conservatives have made their own bed. As one of them told John Ivison this week, "This is what happens when you are too mean, to too many people, for too long."

Anonymous said...

Fat men are often regarded as buffoons. Remember this little Duffy screwed Wright out of $90,000. That is not to be overlooked.

Duffy was a reporter at one time and I'd be willing to bet that he has continued to squirrel away newsworthy tidbits since he joined the gang.

He's got something since they didn't just sling him out on his ear.

Duffy bears watching.

If I was an ambitious little journalist, I'd buy him a couple of pints, stroke his ego and let him tell me about his little triumphs.

Owen Gray said...

I suspect Duffy has something on these folks, Anon. If he didn't have damning information, they wouldn't put on such a full court press to destroy him.

e.a.f. said...

it will be most entertaining when Duffy writes his book. Can hardly wait. it will ensure his financial success adn Harpers end. Maybe shades of Stevie Cameron's, "On the Take", about the Mulroney years.

These Conservatives are always the same. They come to power so seldom, they go crazy when they get there.

Harper most likely thinks god speaks to him, so its all o.k., the means justifies the end.

Owen Gray said...

That's precisely the point, e.a.f. These folks are so convinced of the righteousness of their cause that it makes no difference to them what means they use to achieve the end.