Mr. Justice Charles Vaillancourt understood how Stephen Harper's PMO worked. And he didn't mince words:
“Damage control at its finest,” administered with “ruthless efficiency,” he called it. “The political, covert, relentless unfolding of events is mindboggling and shocking. The precision and planning of the exercise would make any military commander proud.”
They ran up quite a score -- 0 to 31. No runs, no hits, and one error after another. But, in pronouncing judgement on Harper's PMO, Vaillancourt was also passing judgement on Stephen Harper. Michael Harris writes:
Up until yesterday, Stephen Harper and PMO had escaped scot-free from Duffygate — though their role in the affair was obvious, disgraceful, and (with the exception of the 2015 election results) completely unpunished. Consider the actions of the former PM.
Donald Trump might have called Harper ‘Lyin’ Steve’ for the multiple versions of the facts he gave about Duffygate — none of them true. The former PM insisted that the whole affair had unfolded between Wright and Duffy. In fact, more than a dozen people in his office worked on the file, pressuring Duffy to do the deal or risk losing his Senate seat.
Harper’s PMO staff also sought and obtained changes to Senate reports and breached the confidentiality of an independent audit commissioned by the Senate.
Harper claimed Wright resigned. Then he said he was fired.
Stephen Harper denied knowing about the details of Wright’s scheme to repay Duffy’s housing expenses — as incredible a statement as any Canadian politician has ever uttered.
Harper's prime directive has always been to get even. That's what the Duffy trial was all about. Mr. Justice Vaillancourt understood that. And Stephen Harper, like the emperor in the fable, stands naked before Canadians.