Friday, April 10, 2015

He Should Be Next


Stephen Harper claims that he didn't know what was going on behind the scenes in the Duffy Affair. That claim has always been hard to stomach. Michael Harris writes that, as evidence emerges, it's clear that Harper has been fabricating a narrative:

Duffy’s lawyer, Donald Bayne, read into the record a new wrinkle, yet to be laid down in testimony: Nigel Wright apparently told the RCMP that he advised the prime minister that Duffy’s housing allowance might be acceptable under the Senate’s rules.

“I was aware of the fact that I was pushing very hard to have a caucus member repay a significant amount of money to which he may have been legally entitled,” Wright told police. “I needed the PM to know this just in case it ever came up with someone else who wouldn’t repay, then you have to get kicked out of caucus, whatever, that we are basically forcing someone to repay money that they probably didn’t owe, and I wanted the prime minister to know that and be comfortable with that.”

Obviously, Wright kept Harper informed. And, if Harper didn't know something, it was because he didn't want to know -- or because he thought the information was of no consequence. Duffy's province of residence was of no consequence to Mr. Harper:

Sources say that at the time of his appointment to the Senate, Duffy had asked to be appointed from Ontario, where he had lived for decades. He was worried about blowback if he was appointed from Prince Edward Island, which was little more than the nostalgic homestead of his childhood days — though he did own a cottage and had family ties there. It was the prime minister who apparently insisted that Duffy be appointed from P.E.I., allegedly telling his appointee that his critics “would get over it.”

For the prime minister, the rules have never had any import. Christopher Waddell, Harris' colleague at ipolitcs, wrote this week:

When cornered, the Harper government’s practice is to threaten, intimidate and eliminate — or, if all else fails, to simply ignore the institutions and individuals that try to get in its way. The evidence is so familiar that it scarcely requires repeating: Prime Minister Harper’s bizarre attack on the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, his snide criticisms of President Obama over the Keystone XL project, the baffling decision to kill the long-form census, the serial omnibus bills that have helped turn parliamentary oversight into a bad joke, the serial justice bills that give the middle finger to the Constitution, the throttling of witness testimony at parliamentary committees (read the transcripts on Bill C-51, if you have a strong stomach).

Mike Duffy may be on trial in an Ottawa court room this week. But the prime minister should be next on the docket.


ron wilton said...

The docket may have Humpty Duffy's name on it but in the hearts and minds of most Canadians, harper is the one on trial and all the king's horses and all the king's men can't stop Duffy from extracting his pound of flesh.

Owen Gray said...

Harper miscalculated, Ron. Like others in the past, Harper expected Duffy to roll over and go quietly into the night.

He misjudged his man.

The Mound of Sound said...

It's amazing that anyone should accept anything that Harper says as truthful. We've seen it in the Cadman scandal, in the Bruce Carson scandal and, already, in the Duffy scandal. He's a master of substitution. When one narrative blows up in his face, he tries to come up with another that's a bit easier to swallow. When that doesn't work, he backpedals again.

Let's take Bruce Carson, Harper's Oil Patch fixer. Carson's home turf has always been Ottawa. It was in Ottawa that he committed his various crimes that led to two stays in the Greybar Hotel. Suddenly Carson is waltzed into the PMO.

You don't get into the PMO without a security check by the RCMP. With his criminal record, so well known in Ottawa of all places, there's no way Carson could have been vetted and cleared. Remember that, at that time, the RCMP was in the grip of another Tory operative, Bill "Bubbles" Elliott.

I know the PMO knew about Carson because I know some of the people, Tory insiders, who warned them. These were people who had personal experience of Carson in their professional lives.

When Carson predictably went bad, Harper went into his perverse, damage control mode. First he said he knew nothing about Carson's past. Then he decided to blame his own PMO staffers for letting him down. Apparently Harper didn't have the nerve to try to blame the RCMP (which he must have ordered to look the other way). Finally Harper admitted that he had known part of Carson's criminal past but thought he could rehabilitate the guy.

Three lies, all told with a straight face by the Prince of Darkness. No one ever asked why, if he knew about Carson's past, Harper initially lied by claiming he didn't or why, when that lie collapsed, he blamed incompetence within his PMO. Nobody asked. Harper wasn't just let off the hook, he was helped down.

It's these sorts of things, this past behaviour, that could have been used to discredit Harper if he'd ever been made to testify. What I wouldn't give for a couple of hours with Harper under oath.

Harper is an inveterate liar but he's not even good at it yet he consistently gets away with it.

Owen Gray said...

That's what's puzzling and frustrating about Harper's success, Mound.

With his record, not many folks would buy a used car from him. But we've given him the keys to 24 Sussex.

Dana said...

He'd lie under oath too. It's all he knows.

Owen Gray said...

But a lawyer like Bayne would make it harder for Harper to get away with it, Dana.

thwap said...

Add perjury to his list of crimes.

I'd be worth $5 bucks to watch him squirm on the stand.

Owen Gray said...

But he's been assured that he won't testify, thwap. Without the threat of the witness box, he believes that he's untouchable.

Steve said...

the sad part of this story is that it does not make a differance anymore. Harper has shaped the battlefield in his own image. People expect nothing more than what we got.

Owen Gray said...

That is -- unfortunately -- quite true, Steve. Harper corrupts everything he touches.

Anonymous said...

Well Owen he will use leadership privilege to get as far away from the Duf trial as possible.

When he gets unelected he no longer can make that claim a group stands poised to sue his little arse off take back the $5 million he stole from Canadians and have put in one of his own new prisons...

Owen Gray said...

He may avoid testifying in the Duffy trial, Anon, but it will be interesting to see how he does in the court of public opinion.