John Baird has quit. Eve and Dimitri have bolted. But, for Stephen Harper, this winter of discontent is going to turn into a very rough spring. Mike Duffy's trial is a little more than six weeks away. Michael Harris writes:
True, the suspended senator’s health could falter. True, the charges could be stayed, the trial might be postponed, or key witnesses could fight a subpoena to appear. But Duffy will never agree to walk away from this mess semi-corrupt. He will either be guilty or innocent, not trapped in some kind of reputational purgatory arranged by lawyers.
Harper and his acolytes have done their best to convict Duffy out of court. But the courts function differently than Harper's PMO:
The one thing Harper hates more than Justin Trudeau is evidence. And that is exactly what will be on offer once Duffy’s criminal trial begins. Depending on what is contained in those 800 emails between Janice Payne, Duffy’s employment lawyer, and Benjamin Perrin, then the PM’s in-house legal counsel, Duffy’s critics may discover that they were going after the monkey when it was really the organ grinder who was to blame all along.
Donald Bayne, Duffy's attorney, has pointed to the central problem behind the whole imbroglio:
“I am sure that I am not the only Canadian who will now wonder openly, how what was not a crime or bribe when Nigel Wright paid it on his own initiative, became however mysteriously, a crime or bribe when received by Mr. Duffy."
That's the question the organ grinder will be forced to answer.