It's clear from yesterday's testimony that Nigel Wright is a good soldier. He will do his best to ensure that, during the course of Mike Duffy's trial, Stephen Harper will remain -- literally and legally -- hidden away at the North Pole. Michael Harris writes:
Wright will defend both his class and his party. His class is Bay Street, his party is the boys in blue. He will do nothing heroic on behalf of the Canadian people, and he will do nothing to damage the prime minister for whom he once worked as a “wheel dog” — a coinage Stephen King fans will recognize.
That’s why on Day One of what could turn into a marathon stint on the stand, Wright revealed little more than his reflexive generosity as a public servant. The rich and well-connected have a way of turning everything they do into a virtue. Even their philanthropy is strategic. It remains to be seen how Wright’s philanthropy can be Duffy’s criminal act.
And that's the rub. Duffy has been charged with accepting a bribe. Wright calls his $90,000 cheque an act of charity. What is clear is that cheque was meant to buy Duffy's silence. However, when Stephen Harper appointed Mike Duffy to the Senate, he bought his mouth. It was a travelling mouth that journeyed from coast to coast to coast, whipping up support for individual Conservative MP's and the party in general.
But, when Duffy leaked emails to colleagues, it became clear that his silence couldn't be bought. It will be up to Donald Bayne to prove that Duffy is not guilty of criminal wrong doing. Or that someone else is. And, if that someone else is Wright, the trail leads directly back to the prime minister.
Regardless of the outcome, it's clear that the PMO was thoroughly infected by a culture of deceit. And one man is responsible for that.