Friday, July 18, 2014

Harper's Perfect Storm


Now that the RCMP has thrown the book at Mike Duffy, Stephen Harper finds himself at the centre of a perfect storm. It's a storm entirely of his own making. And, at last, Andrew Coyne writes, we will get some answers:

The biggest question to be answered remains: why? Not only why did Mr. Wright make the payment — which, remember, was not to “the taxpayer” but to Mr. Duffy, in secret and on condition that he remain silent about it — but why were so many other senior people in and around the government, as we learned from the trove of emails unearthed by the RCMP, so utterly transfixed with the task of paying Mr. Duffy’s falsely claimed expenses? Why not just leave him to face the consequences of his own actions?

The answer to that question may turn out to be sheer stupidity. But, given who Duffy claims to be -- someone who knows where the bodies are buried -- there are other questions which need to be answered -- questions that involve Stephen Harper:

What involvement or knowledge did the prime minister have, particularly with regard to the $90,000? In a sense, it does not matter: that so many people close to him were so ready to act in such an unethical fashion is damning enough in itself. But in a sense it is all that matters: partly because the prime minister has been so vehement in his denials of any foreknowledge, and partly because the set of circumstances required for this to be true seem so implausible.

Among other things, it requires us to believe not only that Mr. Wright and everyone else around the prime minister lied to him for months on end about how Mr. Duffy’s expenses were repaid, but that Mr. Wright lied to the others: that having told him at a meeting in February of 2013 that Mr. Duffy would repay his own expenses, he then told his fellow conspirators the prime minister was “good to go” with an earlier plan for the party to pay them; and that when Mr. Wright later told the prime minister’s former communications director, Andrew MacDougall, that “the PM knows, in broad terms only, that I personally assisted Duffy” he was lying then, too.

Unlike others who Mr. Harper has thrown under the bus, Duffy will not go quietly.  If he goes down, he may just take the prime minister with him. If that were to happen, justice would truly be done.


CK said...

I'm not that confident.

I'm no expert on criminal law and won't pretend to be, but doesn't logic dictate that Duffy likely won't be convicted or even possibly make it to a courtroom? After all, the case against Duffy cannot be built without Nigel Wright. Wright was the one who shelled out the bucks, but charges were mysteriously dropped, no doubt at the direction of the PMO. Wright is now safely in England somewhere. So no plea bargains with him to testify, even against Duffy.

Also, if Duffy really had that much more, he would've dropped that bomb long, long ago. He's bluffing.

If the PMO can make sure Wright's charges are dropped, and I strongly believe they did, then a deal will be made for Duffy.

Duffy has a paternity suit against him now in a Peruvian court these days. He will no doubt need money to fight that. Perhaps the PMO will pay that legal bill or something in exchange, assuming he has anything more against Harper that can be corroborated, which I doubt.

Owen Gray said...

It's puzzling that Duffy was charged with accepting a bribe, CK, while Wright was not charged with offering one.

Some legal folks say this is about tactics. Perhaps the Mounties believe that Wright was the conduit for the bribe, but not the source of it.

Lorne said...

As hard as I tried to understand, Owen, while watching both Power and Politics and the At Issue Panel last night, the convoluted reasoning of how a secret payment made by Wright is not a bribe, but the man receiving it is guilty of taking a bribe, eludes me. As one Twitter user said yesterday, perhaps the only lesson we can take from this is that it is indeed better to give than to receive.

Owen Gray said...

I admit that it's hard to understand, Lorne. There is a straight line between Wright and Duffy.

Perhaps Wright's cheque is like the break in at the Watergate hotel -- and Duffy's emails are like the White House recordings.

Toby said...

Is there a chance that Harper has enough influence with the RCMP and prosecutors, even with judges, as to influence the course of justice? Simple stalling tactics could keep this pretty much out of the news til well past the next election. Could the whole process happen without Harper's name being soiled? Could we expect a settlement à la the BC Rail $6,000,000 payoff? Will Harper get a nice cushy post as a world class statesman in London? Have we seen this movie before?

The Mound of Sound said...

Coyne, I believe, suggests a deal might have been cut with Wright. He gets immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying against Duffy. That's possible but the optics would be terrible if it came out in court.

I think Coyne is naive if he believes those questions will ever be asked or answered under oath in a court of law.

You put Wright and Perrin on the stand and all the hundreds of e-mails go in. And, as those e-mails are placed into evidence, I'm told by one who has read them that a picture emerges that contradicts the PMO/Harper's narrative that Duffy exploited them and, essentially, extorted the money out of Wright.

What I'm hearing is that the e-mails, not from Duffy but from his solicitor, reveal that Duffy tried to avoid the deal but eventually relented. Harper & Co. are trying to slide through on Duffy's tainted reputation but they'll have a much harder time smearing his prominent solicitor, Janice P, especially with the correspondence/e-mail trail with their own signatures all over it.

If the narrative of Wright as the innocent victim of Duffy is shattered, a far different picture emerges. A lot of people are suddenly right back on the hook and some people are going to have to explain why they weren't charged.

Duffy has plenty of secondary problems in these charges but the main one - bribery and breach of trust - that might not be his alone. Which is why I don't think this will ever be tried, not with an election looming.

CK suggests that Duffy is bluffing. It's his defence counsel, Bayne, who has made reference to the 'smoking gun' and I'm hearing that from another person who has read the hundreds of pages of documents.

I wouldn't be surprised if there's a plea deal on a minor charge - conditional sentence, no time, etc.

From what I read there's no paternity suit against Duffy. The supposed love child is an adult and married to a guy who owns a mine. What is she going to sue for, child support? One thing I do know is that the timing of that mini-scandal was anything but coincidental. It was intended as another blow to Duffy's character and I expect it worked.

Owen Gray said...

These folks from the very beginning have gone after Duffy's character, Mound. And,on that score, he's an easy target.

If there is some kind of a plea bargain, do the incriminating emails go back in the briefcase?

Owen Gray said...

All of your questions suggest that Harper could shift the blame, Toby, to someone else -- something he has been adept at doing in the past.

On the other hand, the courts have proved to be the only real opposition to Harper. It will be interesting to see if they hold him to account.

Edstock said...

"It's puzzling that Duffy was charged with accepting a bribe, CK, while Wright was not charged with offering one."

Par for the course. If I recall correctly, in US Federal politics, around 1880 or so, two US Congressmen were charged with similar offences. One was convicted of accepting a bribe from the other, who was found innocent of offering the bribe.

CK said...

There is no way Nigel Wright is seeing the inside of a courtroom. Ever think why he's tucked away in England instead of resuming his old position at Onex Corp? Or anywhere else on Bay Street for that matter?

Despite charges being dropped against Wright, his reputation is mud. Thus, rendering him virtually unemployable. Many high powered career people have fallen to macjobs for far less sins. I'm sure this cushy job in England was all part of the package.

There is indeed a straight line established between Duffy & Wright and thus, it is near impossible to have a case against one without the other, no matter how the crown twists themselves into a pretzel.

As for Karen Duffy, I read that it is going before the Peruvian courts. According to what I have read, she is not looking for money-- she is simply seeking acknowledgement from Duffy.

It is possible that the PMO searched out Ms Karen Duffy in Peru, but why? What purpose does that serve? Duffy will likely have to get a DNA test done and if he really is sure he's not the father, I imagine he'll have it done quickly and case closed. If she is indeed not the daughter of Mike Duffy, then it would be the PMO who would have indelible egg on their faces now wouldn't they? It certainly would have zero to do with the Crown v Mike Duffy.

If Duffy really had something on the PMO and/or Harper, it would've been revealed long ago. Lawyers bluff all the time-- it's what they're paid for. Not to mention, no matter how many instructions from the PMO, the charges would have to have been filed against Wright. They were not.

By all accounts, Duffy needs money. Somebody will pay him off and then charges would magically disappear.

The Mound of Sound said...

Owen, I suspect the documents will be buried somewhere to keep them safely out of the public eye. Both Perrin and Wright could be in hot water with their respective provinces' law societies and those e-mails could be problematical. The same thing goes for Arthur Hamilton. When a lawyer knowingly or even inadvertently furthers the commission of a crime it tends to go badly for them.

Owen Gray said...

It sounds like those implicated will do everything they can to bury the evidence, Mound. One can only hope there are copies somewhere.

Owen Gray said...

It sounds like you believe Harper will get his way, CK -- come hell or high water.

Owen Gray said...

It makes you wonder what the quid for quo is, Ed.

Anonymous said...

I too totally believe nothing will come of these charges against Duffy.

Wright did aid, abet, covered-up and paid the debt for a corrupt Senator, who was stealing our tax dollars. The RCMP let Wright off his crimes. The PMO also *sanitized* Senators expense claims.

Besides which, Harper reeks of corruption. Harper is a fascist sociopath, dictator. Harper has no scruples, honor, decency, ethics nor morals, what-so-ever.

Harper is absolute evil. Why do people think, Duffy will take Harper down? Are people blind or what? Harper can't afford for, any of his people to go down.

Harper had to send his favorite henchman, ex BC Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell to England too. It wasn't safe for Campbell, he is that loathed. Now Wright is sent to England too. Seems that is where, Harper's dumping ground is, for all of his criminals.

All of Harper's liars and thieves are sent overseas. Harper also had to thwart the robo-call crime investigation too. That witness was sent overseas too.

The Mound of Sound said...

I disagree with CK, again. Wright is anything but ruined. The cabal of top-drawer Conservatives who feted him before his departure from Ottawa evidences the esteem in which he is still held.

Owen Gray said...

Then it appears that Harper's attempt to scandalize Wright's name hasn't worked, Mound. He's had the same problem with Justin Trudeau.

Is the man losing his touch?

Owen Gray said...

It really is depressing, Anon, to contemplate Harper getting away with this.

Kim said...

I hope you'll all read this.

It has been done before and Harper had to promote a judge to help. Premier Campbell was later rescued by Harper and parachuted out of the country. I'm sure he was told to make up a position for Wright.

Owen Gray said...

Thanks for the link, Kim. It appears that this sleight of hand has been used before. It would also appear that they take us for fools.

the salamander said...

.. the entire exercise.. has been about Canada and Canadians thoroughly played for fools.

Despite the obvious facts, the reason for Duffy's appointment, the entitlement.. and despite being caught with their pants down... The Harper Government Party is using obstruction, evasion, denial, deceit, paramountcy, litigation, appeal and the kitchen sink to do whatever they want, and make it stick.. ie.. that they have some sort of political immunity and royal authority of impunity

Does the term, too big to jail, resonate? That's basically what I see floating there.. on a cloudy parliamentary bench staffed by thousands of salaried Justice lawyers & outside law firms

The Harper Hypocracy Hive is busy attacking anything in its way.. like the environment, nature, democracy, values, accountability... or resistance

There will be nothing whatsover suggesting courage or resiliance oranything remotely noble from Harper Inc.. it will be poison pen, spokeswank, law firm, PMO type tawdry typical Harpercant bloviation.. drone & Late Friday declamations for the nation.. the wooly, mealy pimpoganda from the Harper Evangelical MotherSmotherShip

Cabinet Secrecy Uber Alles .. eh ! ! Suckers .. ! !

Owen Gray said...

There mission is twofold, salamander -- to obstruct and destroy.

And they will fight bitterly to make sure that they can continue to do both.

Anonymous said...

Owen, would it be stating the obvious to say that Harper gave his appointees- the 'money-makers for the Party- the go-ahead to charge ALL expenses to the public, because why not? And when questions and charges arose Steve cut bait and turned tail leaving his appointees in shreds along with his own reputation and his party's.
The man AND the Conservative party are criminally culpable for that whole debacle, I'm talking to you too-Irving Gerstein, and so much more. Then there are the ethical and moral questions. HAHAHA!!

Owen Gray said...

Your suggestion isn't far fetched at all, Loving It. After all, there has been all that advertising -- huge amounts spent on advertising -- and it's all on the public dime.

Harper has made his career by shifting blame to others.