Michael Warren writes that Stephen Harper is rapidly approaching the moment where he will have to choose between himself and his party:
The events that unfold in front of him in the months ahead hold little hope of vindication. His unlikely version of the Senate scandal will either completely collapse or remain in haunting limbo.
Harper’s defence is that he didn’t know about the political scheming that’s swirled around him for a year. If he had, he would have stopped it.
But for many Canadians that’s not an acceptable ethical standard.
Even if he didn’t know, he should have. It’s his office. It’s his chief of staff, Nigel Wright, who is accused of bribery, fraud and breach of trust by the RCMP. It’s his appointed Senators, Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau who disgraced themselves and were removed from the Upper House.
If he acts only for himself, he'll drag his party down with him:
He thinks he can cling to his narrow ethical standard of “I didn’t know” and continue to stonewall his way through this crisis. He can’t. He and his party are being judged by a much broader standard of behaviour.
And, even if he resigns, there are many legal battles ahead:
If charges are laid against Wright and any of the named Senators — which seems probable — it could mean years of criminal trials.
They will be media spectacles. Those accused and the witnesses called (possibly even Harper), will have to give their account of events under oath — for the first time. The resulting revelations will serve to reactivate the current atmosphere of clear and present danger for the Conservatives up to and including the next election.
That said, Harper's resignation may be too little too late. The Privy Council Office reports that they have discovered Benjamin Perrin's deleted emails. The worst is yet to come.