Harper Conservatives used to suffer from galloping certitude. They believed that they were paragons of virtue. Michael Harris writes:
Conservatives like to think they occupy the moral high-ground. There is the greenhorn Trudeau, the ideologically obsessed Mulcair, and somewhere on Mount Olympus, taking it all in with august superiority, are the transcendent Harper Conservatives.
But now, thanks in large part to the Duffy trial, the Conservatives now reside in the basement apartment of Canadian politics, exposed for their lying, cheating, and stunning abuses of power. And in any legitimate political system, that will have consequences.
It's getting really difficult to believe that the Harperites are the Party of Virtue. Nigel Wright may quote St. Mathew. But somehow it doesn't ring true:
My personal favourite was his claim to retroactive altruism, including a biblical reference to how one goes about playing the Good Samaritan. He gave the money to Duffy because he walked straight out of the Book of Matthew as a man living his faith. Yes, Nigel, the expurgated edition of Matthew 6 that goes something like this: “Let not the Left know what the Wright is doing, so that your giving will be in secret.”
A key part of the Cons’ narrative has always been that Wright forked over $90,000 to Duffy to spare Canadian taxpayers the expense. Where was that public-spirited concern when Wright was ready to use taxpayer-subsidized funds, $32,000 plus legal expenses, from the Conservative Party Fund, to make his Duffy problem go away?
Gifts -- real ones -- don't come with strings attached:
Wright’s depiction of that $90,000 cheque as a “gift” is patently absurd. Gifts don’t come with the advice to take it or face the consequences. The ‘or else’ in this case was frying Duffy in a Senate report, as opposed to going easy on him if he played ball with the PMO. The trouble is, Duffy didn’t think that he owed the money and still doesn’t. What’s more, neither Stephen Harper or Nigel Wright apparently did either. But judge for yourself: does this sound like a man grateful for the “gift” Wright kept insisting he accept?
Mr. Harper keeps repeating he knew nothing about what was going on -- although lots of other people did. His "media line" that Wright and Duffy kept everyone else out of the loop has been sunk. He and his followers may continue to insist they they are the Party of Virtue. But their world is changing.