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.