Friday, April 29, 2016

In Harperland, Stupidity Rules

Perhaps stupidity is a virus. Despite the verdict in the Duffy trial, Michael Harris writes, stupidity still rules in a lot of roosts:

A significant part of the Canadian Establishment is not only blaming a victim — it’s blaming an exonerated victim. Some want even more punishment for a man the courts decided deserved no punishment at all.

Consider RCMP Assistant Commission Gilles Michaud who

actually wrote congratulatory letters to the investigators who worked on the Duffy case and helped come up with the 31 charges against him.

Never mind the fact that the Mounties never “got their man” on anything, not even jaywalking. In the wake of the court’s verdict, the RCMP decided it was “inappropriate to comment”.
Small wonder. It’s hard to speak with a mouthful of crow, even if you’re the assistant commissioner who held the splashy press conference announcing all those bogus charges. Besides, it gets harder to congratulate the team for a 31-0 blowout when they’re on the doughnut-hole end of the score.

The there was the National Posts's Andrew Coyne:

When a judge issues a stunning rebuttal of a vicious and baseless criminal case that made salacious headlines at Duffy’s expense for years, it’s simply not normal to argue that ‘acquittal does not equal innocence’. That’s what Andrew Coyne wrote in the immediate aftermath of Justice Charles Vaillancourt’s decision. Some people have forgotten that, as an accused person, you answer only the charges as they are brought against you — not every aspersion cast against your character that comes along.

And also in the pages of the Post, there appeared an article by Richard Staley, Harper's lawyer, who claimed that Harper acted honourably:

As soon as the laughter dies down, I’d like to ask each and every reader to judge Staley’s claim based on what came out at Duffy’s trial — especially the part about the PMO’s “ruthless” behaviour.

Staley says he was instructed by Harper to cooperate with the RCMP and that doing so was politically inexpedient — which, he argues, offers some sort of evidence of good faith.

He talks about it as if Harper had a choice. He didn’t. If he hadn’t cooperated, it would have been seen immediately as a cover-up — and rightly so. Is Staley really suggesting that the former PM had the option of suppressing all the emails that put the lie to Harper’s claim that only Duffy and Nigel Wright were in on this deal? That it was somehow selfless of him to hand them over?

Besides, had Harper refused to cooperate, it could have led to him being subpoenaed. Everyone remembers how much he likes answering questions. Imagine the fun he would have had answering them under oath.

Staley also points out (correctly) that there is a constitutional principle that prosecutorial decisions must be free of partisan concerns. He forgets that Harper was the serving PM who congratulated the RCMP when they charged Duffy, through his spokesman Jason MacDonald. Harper was also the PM who directly involved the RCMP in the Helena Guergis affair when he had Ray Novak write on his behalf to the RCMP commissioner to pass on unfounded criminal allegations against her. (I might add that in the wake of her exoneration by the Mounties, she was kicked out of the Conservative caucus anyway. Harper rules.)

In Harperland, stupidity rules.



The Mound of Sound said...

It is disturbing how often rational consensus eludes us today, Owen. We can no longer agree even on the most obvious. Coyne, for example, had to grasp for a deep level of disingenuousness to suggest that Justice Vaillancourt's eloquent exoneration of Duffy was nothing more than a routine "not guilty." That requires some intellectual contortionism.

I don't see anything as benign as stupidity in this, Owen. It's more like truth laundering, trying to introduce a false narrative as factual. It's a dangerous practice, one that reinforces the divide in our society so carefully engineered in an unscrupulous quest for power during the Harper years. It serves to perpetuate the breakdown in social cohesion that, among other things, leaves society weakened, angry and incapable of moving forward. It is despicable.

Owen Gray said...

Perhaps you're right, Mound. If there's one thing worse than stupidity, it's willful ignorance. Stephen Harper thrived on wilful ignorance. And there were plenty of people who helped propagate it.

Steve said...

Being stupid pays more.

Owen Gray said...

In the short term that may be true, Steve. But, when you act stupidly, you always wind up paying the piper.

Steve said...

The whole cabal that cashed in on the Invasion of Iraq disagree Owen

Owen Gray said...

True. But having a large bank account is not a reliable sign of intelligence, Steve.