During the 2006 leaders debate, Stephen Harper asked Paul Martin, “Will you tell us, Mr. Martin, how many criminal investigations are going on in your government?” The answer was "two." Harper rode one of those investigations -- the Gomery Commission -- all the way to power.
In the next leaders debate, Michael Harris writes, it would be interesting to hear Harper answer the same question:
If someone were to ask Steve the same question during the 2015 debate, he wouldn’t have enough fingers on both hands to compute the response. By my count, the Harper team has been the subject of at least 15 investigations.
The public record keeps getting longer:
The Conservatives cheated in the 2006 election. Criminal charges of improper election spending were dropped in March 2012 as part of a plea deal. The CPC pleaded guilty to exceeding election spending limits and submitting fraudulent election records. They chequebooked their way out of the slime — paying a $52,000 fine and then repaying a further $230,198.
The PM’s former parliamentary secretary, Dean Del Mastro, has been convicted on three counts of election fraud arising out of the 2008 election. He is now facing the possibility of jail time. His cousin, David Del Mastro, is also facing charges related to the 2008 election.
What about the conviction of Guelph Conservative party worker Michael Sona? Although the robocall case has faded from view, it remains an unsolved crime — because although the existence of a conspiracy was acknowledged by two judges, the conspirators themselves remain unknown. Now that Elections Canada has been castrated by the ‘Fair Elections Act’, their identities probably will never be known.
Peter Penashue, former minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, had to step down after it was alleged that corporations had made illegal contributions to his 2011 campaign. He paid back $47,000 to Elections Canada.
Those investigations dealt with election fraud. But there are a host of other appointments which suggest Harper makes poor personnel choices:
And then there’s the little matter of Harper’s Senate appointments. Senator Mike Duffy has been charged with 31 offences related to Senate spending. If convicted he faces financial ruin, probably jail time. The prime minister is on record as saying he knew nothing about the secret $90,000 payment from his chief of staff to Duffy.
Is there anyone beyond his immediate family (and possibly Paul Calandra) who still believes that?
Suspended Senator Patrick Brazeau, who now manages a strip club, will be guest referee at a Great North Wrestling match in Ottawa scheduled for May 30, starring ‘Hannibal The Death Dealer’ and ‘Soa (Spirit of Allah) Amin’. Another personal choice of the PM.
Brazeau is facing two trials on personal matters: for assault and sexual assault, and for assault, threats and possession of cocaine. A framed photo of Brazeau, the PM and the alleged victim in this case has been entered into evidence at Brazeau’s ongoing sexual assault trial. The court has set aside 12 days in June for a preliminary trial on Brazeau’s Senate expense charges — the very day that Duffy’s trial is scheduled to resume. That trial could easily run into the fall election.
And then there are the cases of Arthur Porter and Bruce Carson, who face legal problems over the way they handled their affairs. Harris rightly observes that the man who road into Ottawa claiming he would clean up the place has turned it into a pigsty.