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The players in the Senate scandal

In Duffy, Wright and the new player, Montgomery, we have an equilateral triangle of mutual incomprehension


 

Jake Wright/CP

A huckster, an ideologue and a stickler walk into a world of trouble. It’s no joke. It’s one way to understand three of the characters involved in the uproar over Nigel Wright’s personal cheque to Sen. Mike Duffy.

Two of the characters will be familiar to most readers. Duffy is the huckster. He used to be on TV; during station breaks he would advertise his eagerness to be a senator for so many years that it was a standing Ottawa joke. Finally Stephen Harper put him in what we laughingly call the upper chamber of Parliament, where Duff was put to work shooting fundraising videos and pretending to interview the Prime Minister at Conservative party fundraising picnics. Duffy used to protest his non-partisanship, and when he fetched up in the Conservative Senate benches we all had a good laugh, but in the end it turned out to be true. Partisans have loyalty. In the crunch, Duffy had only interests.

Nigel Wright is the ideologue. Already we have strayed into unfamiliar territory because most popular depictions of Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff treated him as a Bay Street ascetic who understood only deals, management skills and long-distance running. When he went into Harper’s PMO in 2010, it was said he would bring a sense of rationality to the place. Cartesian rigour. Less partisanship. This is the kind of notion people in my line of work sometimes just make right up out of nothing, because Wright had been an ardent and active Conservative donor, organizer and volunteer in his spare time for many years. Some men stay above the fray. Wright had always been in it to ensure Conservatives won.

Chris Montgomery is the stickler. He is new to us. His name was not widely known until it appeared in an RCMP document laying out the police force’s evidence in the Wright-Duffy affair. Montgomery worked as director of parliamentary affairs in Sen. Marjory LeBreton’s office. In the police document, which is a rollicking read, he keeps spoiling the plans concocted by Wright and others to deal with Duffy’s disputed expenses. He accomplishes this by reminding the others of the rules. They do not like to be reminded of the rules.

“Chris simply does not believe in our goal of circling the wagons,” Wright complained in one email. “Because of this lack of buy in, it was impossible to discuss meaningfully the parliamentary strategy.”

Much of the RCMP’s case has to do with a Senate committee report that was going to say unflattering things about Duffy. The report was amended to say less unflattering things, in hopes Duffy would settle his affairs and stop making trouble. The author of the RCMP document, Cpl. Greg Horton, writes that Montgomery “gave advice to senators (Carolyn) Stewart Olsen and (David) Tkachuk not to amend the report, as they had an obligation to the Senate to give a rationale for having reclaimed the money from Duffy,” wrote Horton.

When he wasn’t reminding senators of their obligation to the Senate, Montgomery was reminding Harper’s office not to try to influence the Senate.

“He advised the PMO . . . that they should not be involved in the Senate audit and reports regarding Sen. Duffy,” Horton wrote.

Patrick Rogers, who was in charge of Senate wrangling in the PMO, wrote in effect, on many occasions: Would you get a load of this guy Montgomery? “I am in a meeting with Montgomery, LeBreton [and others]” Rogers wrote to Wright. “This is epic. Montgomery is the Problem.”

At some point Rogers persuaded Montgomery to pipe down. “We’re done, Patrick made it happen,” another PMO staffer, Chris Woodcock, wrote.

We are born to divide the world into heroes and villains, but let us resist the temptation. In Duffy, Wright and Montgomery we have an equilateral triangle of mutual incomprehension. Duffy was doing what he had watched senators do for most of his adult life. He had bills to pay. When he submitted his expenses, nobody told him “no.” Well, that’s not true. But when he submitted his expenses and was told “no,” nobody told him he couldn’t try again.

Wright found him incomprehensible. Wright is rich. He paid his own bills, even when he had legitimate expenses to claim. “He estimates he (is) out of pocket tens of thousands of dollars,” Cpl. Horton writes, “but it is his global view and contribution to public policy that taxpayers not bear the cost of his position if he can legitimately afford to fund it himself,” the RCMP officer wrote.

At one point Horton notes that Wright had paid his own legal bills, on an unrelated matter of government business, to the tune of $60,000 from his own pocket. When he started thinking of paying Duffy’s bill the same way, somebody suggested he simply file a claim for his own expense to cover most of Duffy’s. Wright dismissed the notion.

In this, Wright is different only in scale from the Prime Minister. Stephen Harper does not submit expenses for working lunches, at which he does not eat lavishly, because he would have eaten anyway.

All year long people have been asking why Wright would pay that kind of money to Duffy, of all people. It’s the wrong question. He meant no favour to Duffy, whom he found loathsome for a simple reason: Duffy expensed his meals. In his residence, which as everyone knows is in an Ottawa suburb. Charged them as a travel expense. “I am beyond furious,” Wright wrote. “This will all be repaid.” As grammarians know, you can hide a lot in a passive verb.

Wright wished only that Duffy would go away. “Chinese water torture,” he called the Duffy headlines in one email. He needed to “stop our public agony.” Even if it meant using private means.

Montgomery? He is a former Alberta Conservative who has gone home to work for oil companies. While in Ottawa, he urged everyone to follow Ottawa rules. His interest was form and propriety. Wright’s was the well-being of a political movement. Duffy’s was Mike Duffy. Three strangers, caught in a storm.


 

The players in the Senate scandal

  1. Wright’s philosophy that could pay his own bills, even when he had legitimate expenses to claim raises some questions. Although the line from Horton that: “it is his global view and contribution to public policy that taxpayers not bear the cost of his position if he can legitimately afford to fund it himself,” sounds quite noble an obvious advantage is that it screens all those expenses from public scrutiny. Of course, there is nothing wrong with a person wanting their privacy.

    That said, Wright clearly continued as an operative for the Conservative Party after he moved into the PMO. It might well be that expenses associated with certain activities should have be charged to the Conservative Party. Does Wright’s generosity then amount to a non-disclosed donation?

    • I think that’s a bit harsh. The PMO is by it’s nature fairly partisan. There are obvious lines where it’s a fundraising event vs. a policy meeting, but most of Wright’s business was to serve Canada within Conservative interests – or maybe with this bunch, Conservative interests within Canada, but definitely paid for by the citizens.

        • Agreed. We elect a government and they bring a culture and management style which we the electorate (and the party members) can approve of or not. Each style will have it’s strengths and weaknesses. As I alluded to previously, I’d rather have the party come a distant second to the country. The Conservatives are excessively partisan in all respects. With our current over-centralization of power, the PMO will be the clearest face of the party, and it’s showing.

        • StewartSmith “…. the PMO has been allowed to become excessively partisan….” Allowed to become partisan? Of course they are partisan! It’s the office of the head of the ruling party. by definition it will be, has been, and always will be PARTISAN. It’s called democracy. The party that gets elected gets to put their stripe on the Gov’t and the PMO. That’s why they are called Parties, They each represent a different spectrum of politics.

          • The Prime Minister is both the Leader of the Majority Party and the Prime Minister of Canada.

            As Prime Minister of Canada, he has an agenda and a budget (from taxpayers) to carry out that agenda. That some partisanship should leak into that agenda is of course natural, The Economic Action Plan ads are a good example, originally they were quite a reasonable way to inform the public about new programs although they have morphed into blatant Conservative advertising. Still even the Conservatives would not try to run an anti-Trudeau ad with government funds.

            The Prime Minister leads two offices, the PMO and the Head Office of the Conservative Party. They both have staff, the PMO’s are on the public payroll, the CPC Head Office from party funds. Because of that fiscal reality, the business of the party is expected to be run out of CPC Head office while the PMO office is expected to look after the business of the country. For example if Harper wanted to send two press releases 1) about details of the EU deal and 2) one about Mulcair’s poor posture, then 1) should come from the PMO 2) from CPC headquarters.

            Kady O’Malley has gone through the distinctions better than I can on many occasions.

    • That’s a really good point.

      • Oh, my, another scandal in the making:

        “Wright did not claim all of the expenses he could have claimed!”

        Start the presses! Now!

    • You did not know about Nigel Wright and his sub-zero expense claims?

      Here I thought you had read the ITO report.

      Interesting.

      • Interesting that Nigel Wright, Bay street wonderboy who made millions doing who knows what (anyone ever buy a Nigel Wright placemat?), would be so bad at keeping track of his own expenses, so inept at choosing his friends (like Mike Duffy and Stephen Harper) and so bloody naive about the difference between right and wrong.

        I have had two bosses named Wright. The boss is always right? They seldom were.

        • I think Wright has a good chance of having done nothing wrong. Wright seems to think that what he did was without corruption and he may very well be found right on that point. Time will tell.

          • But your beloved prime minister says Wright is the guilty party, he did unethical stuff that harper would have stopped him from doing!

          • Oh . . . seems like you’re going to Jason Kenney’s side, sounds like you’re abandoning Harper now.

          • Either Wright betrayed Harper or Harper’s lying. You can’t have it both ways, Francien.

          • You can actually have it both ways. Nigel Wright was not Betraying Harper in the actual sense that he was trying to bring him to harm, he simply didn’t tell Harper that he covered Duffy’s expenditures from his own pocket.
            He may have ended up harming Harper in any event, though I’m sure it was not intentional.
            mr. Wright was just trying to make the problem go away…..and he made an error with the route he chose.

          • Gosh Francien – maybe Nigel will take you on as his legal counsel. Let us know how that goes.

  2. What sticks in my craw with this whole mess, is we as taxpayers(I mean fee payers) are still footing for the salaries of 12 corrupt individuals in the PMO(at min of 150 to 200 grand a year, plus perks) that they get to suck more money everyday out of the taxpayers treasury. And nobody has still pegged down whether Nigel Wright received any kind of compensation after leaving the PMO. it would be nice to know whether Wright quit or was discharged of his duties. Harper says he resigned, but theirs no proof to that effect.

    • Could you please tell us what the corruption charges are against all those people you are accusing here?

      If you cannot give us proof of corruption, then YOU are the corrupted one for telling lies over and over again.

      • “Chris simply does not believe in our goal of circling the wagons,”
        Wright complained in one email. “Because of this lack of buy in, it was
        impossible to discuss meaningfully the parliamentary strategy.”

        They conspired to cover up the depth of Duffy’s malfeasance because they were worried about the black eye it would give them. Parliamentary rules and the law be damned.

        The irony is, they would have been much better off to have just cut Duffy loose; disowned him and let the chips fall where they may. But the CPC crowd just don’t see things that way, and believe rules are for others. This quote exemplifies that.

        • The thing is that you quote one man’s opinion as that being the truth. Chris had his opinions and others had their opinions.

          No one has been charged. And it could very well be that the only mistake Wright made was to NOT have informed Harper.

          He should have informed Harper. And Harper would never have approved of it. But I don’t think it is a criminal offense to not have informed Harper. I think Wright simply had too many things on his plate, so much going on in the PMO of an active government, that he wanted Duffy’s problem to go away. Duffy did not want to admit he had done anything wrong and Wright simply did what he thought was a solution. I don’t see criminal activity.

          • So, like Harper, the only code of ethics you demand of those drawing paycheques from us is the Criminal Code?

            Very interesting.

            BTW, the lawyers involved were in violation of professional ethics. The “gift” has strings attached, so it was a bribe. All participating knew or ought to have known that.

          • “And it could very well be that the only mistake Wright made was to NOT have informed Harper.”

            Ah, but he did inform Harper . . in “broad terms” that he personally assisted Duffy . . . whatever that means, and we all have *ahem* opinions as to what that can mean.

            “Harper would never have approved of it.”

            But apparently he did, Francien, he did. In broad terms.

          • “No one has been charged.”

            And when they are, you will argue “No one has been convicted”

            Were you not happy FV, stinking up the comment board at the National Post? Or did they suspend you?

            Your absence from here for that short while was greatly appreciated.

          • Pssst…Harper knows you know. He just didn’t tell you.

    • Gee…..it would appear root canal is going to bat for the taxpayer. Given that it is questionable that root canal is one himself, one would have to ask why the sudden concern.
      He doesn’t seem to be the least bit concerned about taxpayers when the Provincal Libs in ontario were pissing away BILLIONS of dollars. He doesn’t seem concerned that some very senior Libs in Ontario are making millions of dollars with their involvement with Wind Turbine and Solar companies.
      I guess it’s just a coincidence that Senior Libs are now making MILLIONS of dollars in the private sector part of their lives…under the guise of the GREEN ENERGY ACT.
      yeah…I’m sure enriching themselves has nothing to do with it. It’s all about the environment.
      Remember that the next time you pay your hydro bill. About 75% of the charges by the way, should be broken down as follows:
      65% – result of Bad decisions by Liberal Government
      10% – going directly into the pockets of members of the Liberal Government.
      My %’s may be off somewhat, but you get the idea.

  3. It’s our very own little ‘Game of Thrones’, really.
    Of course, that analogy doesn’t bode well for Chris – since I think it means he’s going to get his head cut off at some point. Either that, or he’s a Eunuch…

    • You have no proof of anything and yet you start throwing accusations around at will. And you call yourself an ethical person?

      Keep throwing stones.

      • Who is he accusing of what? Beyond stating the obvious: We have a nasty cutthroat political scene in Ottawa…

        • ” since I think it means he’s going to get his head cut off at some point”

          You don’t think Justin Trudeau will cut off that head, do you?

          • Time to call the removers van as the great WH Auden would have it.

            The bolt is sliding in it’s groove,
            Outside the window is the black removers’ van.
            And now with sudden swift emergence
            Come the women in dark glasses and the humpbacked surgeons
            And the scissors man.

          • I’m thinking you’re unfamiliar with the works of George R.R. Martin?

            I’m not sure who does the actual cutting in this analogy. Did Jean Chrétien ever have someone’s tongue ripped out with hot pincers?

          • No… at least.. not that we know of.

          • If he did, they’re not talking (ba-dum-dum *crash*)

  4. Thanks for reminding us that one person did try to do the (W)right thing – i.e. Chris Montgomery. Nigel Wright should have known how this would look but failed to realize his effort could easily be interpreted as a bribe. And Montgomery clearly held firm for some time until the intense pressure on him finally broke his resolve. That it took so much pressure should have been an indicator to those pressuring him that they are so far off base.

    And as for expensing meals that you’d normally eat, pigs at the trough. Am sure that certain people would expense the air they breath while”on duty” if they could.

    • It is difficult for you to acknowledge that Harper does NOT claim unnecessary expenses, eh.

      oh,my, PM Harper does the right thing and you cannot even acknowledge that.

      • I think that reference was aimed at Duffy. You really need to take off those blue filters from time to time…

        • But in the article above it does talk about Harper and his frugal expense account.

          Yet, not one mention out of you or Canucker to acknowledge such facts.

          Simply ignore. That has been the media’s game plan all along. Ignore the EU trade agreement. Ignore the cutting off of banked sick days for public employees. Forget about all the positive things this government has accomplished.

          I understand. If members of the media would be honest about this government, the LPC would be toast. And that the members of the media cannot take.

          • Really? He wastes millions and millions of tax dollars with his ideological pet projects, more millions on advertising the Conservative government of Canada, and we are supposed to care because he does not expense his lunches?

          • You mean projects like international trade deals, recognizing Israel as the only civilized country in the Middle East, cutting taxes, reducing crime rates, letting farmers sell their own wheat without going to jail, keeping Canada from tanking when the recession hit, purchasing military equipment for the military which has already resulted in hundreds of lives being saved in Haiti, sending aid to the Phillippines…etc..etc…
            yeah Gayle…..better put a stop to all this waste. What we really need, is huge pay increases for PSAC and CUPE. Bet that would satisfy you more eh?

          • He has not reduced crime rates. Crime rates have been dropping for at least a decade before he was elected. In fact, given that they have been dropping, one wonders why he sees the need to spend millions of dollars on a crime policy that no expert believes will actually reduce crime.

            Why? Because that is his ideology. And a tough on crime package is easy to sell to people too ignorant or lazy to bother finding out if they are effective.

            Not to mention all the millions spent advertising his party, but I see you just ignored that bit.

          • Gayle, the biggest reduction in the crime rate came when Harper Kicked the Liberal party out of power. I can assure you, MILLIONS of dollars which would have been stolen were saved from Liberal pockets at that turn of events.
            As for the other crime rates dropping…..they have dropped faster since harper has been in power. You can thank the more stringent mandatory minimum sentences. What you can be sure of is this…all the “experts” who said mandatory minimums don’t work..have been proven wrong.
            It is basic common sense. A mandatory minimu sentence may not make a criminal in jail more law-abiding in spirit, but it will certainly keep him from breaking into your house.

          • ” I can assure you, MILLIONS of dollars which would have been stolen were saved for Conservative gazebos at that turn of events.”

            There – fixed that for ya!

          • You do know that just making stuff up does not actually prove your point, right? I would ask you to source each and every assertion you made, but you and I both know you can’t do that.

          • You should work in PMO communications– you are much better than the kids in short pants currently holding the jobs. Makes me wonder why the likes of Calandra doesn’t answer like this now and then!

          • You sound like paul calandra. Never taking responsibility for their
            Actions but instead blaming everyone. As a senior I am horrified
            And ashamed of the Harper government and what he is doing to our beloved Canada.

  5. In my days in Ottawa the PMO was always fairly partisan but the Privy Council Office was not.
    Harper is clearly accountable for the performance of his appointees – PMO staff and Senators.
    Canucks will do to the Conservative party what they did to the Senators last night on the ice!
    2015 can’t come soon enough.

    • Yes, Harper is accountable and that’s why he did accept Wright’s resignation and that’s why Harper demanded the suspension of senators without pay.

      • That’s not being accountable; that’s called ducking and running.

        • HUH? Running from what? Harper DID demand that Duffy be suspended without pay. Harper DID accept Wright’s resignation.

          Harper DID provide FULL cooperation with the police investigation, setting precedent for being most open and accountable, having waived many privileges.

          If you call that running away, then I guess you have forgotten about another PM running after golf balls as fast as he could. :)))

          • And yet he will not answer the questions put to him by the citizens of this country through their representatives in Parliament.

          • Because the representative asking the questions aren’t looking for anything more than a sound bite.
            I wouldn’t waste my time with those idiots either.

          • I see. So your vision of democracy is that if you did not vote for them, then it matters not that a majority of the country did. The majority does not get to be heard? Harper does not have to answer to us?

            Good to know.

          • Why should Harper waste his time on every hysterical kook who still cannot get over the fact that he won in the first place.
            Gayle, no one expects a hyper-partisan to ask a legitimate question as whatever answer is given will not satisfy the foaming at the mouth nutcases who are always looking for an excuse to be outraged.
            Get over it.

          • It is his job. Maybe you are not aware, but an elected government has to be accountable to the people. In this case, the majority of the people.

            But hey – maybe Harper will just explain to people that they all voted for lunatics, and therefore they do not deserve to have their voices heard. That will most certainly secure him another majority.

          • If he would answer, even if people don’t like the answer, the question would stop. Seems to me if you want to be prime minister, you ought to realize that comes with following the basic procedures of Parliament — like answering questions in QP. Why do you think anyone ever started QP in the first place? No need to give anyone absolute power, because you know, that corrupts.

          • Nobody’s expecting you to. It’s not your job.

            However, it is his.

          • I agree…he should be there to answer questions, however, after answer the same question 30 times…I think he can afford to ignore the question after recognizing that an actual anwer is not the purpose of the question in the first place.

          • You do know if he actually answered it, he would not have to be asked another 29 times…

          • Harper DID accept Wright’s resignation

            Whoa – did Harper change his story again? I have such a hard time keeping these ‘facts’ straight.

          • Harper has long claimed that the Minister in charge is accountable for the actions of those under him. Except, it seems, when it suits him for it to be otherwise – and especially if that Minister is him.

            Opposition Steve would have been demanding PM Steve’s head at least as loudly as the current opposition parties. But PM Steve dissembles, changes his story, and points his finger everywhere except at himself. He doesn’t lead from the front; he uses those around him as shields to take the bullets.

      • I get it. In the Conservative language, accountable means blaming everyone else.

        Good to know.

        • So, if Wright wrote the cheque, Harper should have blamed,……let’s see………………Calandra???

          So, if Duffy accepted that cheque, Harper should have blamed……………….eh, let’s see……………………….senator Colin Kenny?

          So confusing how it must work these days.

          • Name me one single time that Prime Minister Harper has acknowledged responsibility for anything that may have gone wrong, no matter how trivial. One single time.

          • I think he apologized for the leafs meltdown against Boston last playoff – but then immediately retracted and blamed the liberal reffing.

          • Ha ha!

          • I do believe there was a very important apology delivered to our First Nations people, delivered by the PM on behalf of the entire country.
            or is that too trivial for you as well?

          • Pathetic.

            I see by your response that you know what I say is true.

          • What you should see by the question, is the realization that it wouldn’t matter what HARPER said, it would never be enough for someone as hystrionic as yourself.
            Gayle, you wouldn’t know the truth if it hit you in the face….which is why I’m sure you think Justin Trudeau is ready to be the Prime Minister. He’s pretty…….but he’s also vaccous and shallow, but you only pay attention to the first point.

          • Oh, and here comes the sexist argument again. Women cannot possibly consider Trudeau for anything beyond his looks. We are just too silly for more complicated stuff.

            In any event, the aggressive tone in your comment does not actually mask the fact that you cannot answer the question.

          • I think she asked a pretty fair question, James. When has harper accepted accountability for his OWN actions, or even those of his government? I cannot think of one time.

          • I see that demanding resignations, or kicking senators out of caucus doesn’t really resonate as accountability.
            Face it, the only ACCOUNTABILITY acceptable to this crowd would be his resignation. And that isn’t going to happen.
            Harper has made poor decisions on occassion, but he himself has never been connected to anything that could be considered dishonest. Even his worst enemies know that Harper cannot be corrupted.
            And frankly….I think that’s why most of them hate him with a passion. In their heart of hearts they know…….
            He’s better than they are.
            Live with it.

      • Did Harper accept Wright’s resignation or fired him like he claimed? Which is the truth FV since you know so much of what happens in Harper’s Govt. Harper wanted the truth to stay under rap hence he pushed for the suspension of the Senators but Duffy and Co. had already thrown bombs during the Senate hearings that revealed alot about the plot in the PMO with Harper as the supreme leader directing the play. You are found of playing with the truth and deflection, it is starting to make you look like a joke, CPC plant, unapologetic partisan, and less reliable in the eyes of rational people who post here and other places.

    • After being amazed in the recent by-elections I’m not sure that you are right.

  6. I agree with StewartSmith! And this article by Paul Wells marks one of the first mentions of Wright’s deep pockets that I’ve read since the RCMP docs were released. Wright, we learn, does not accept any pay or expense anything as Chief of Staff; Wright, we learn, has paid more than $60,000 of his own money for some unidentified legal processes. Wright pays of Duffy. Maybe this is exactly why Wright was appointed as CoS — and perhaps in future, we shouldn’t pick public servants who are so freakin’ rich, they don’t have to follow rules but can instead make transgressions disappear simply by signing a Big Cheque.

    And now learning that PMO has hired THREE law firms to handle this, preceded by the RCMP investigation, preceded by the Deloitte audit — so the PM and his staff can overlook ethics and legalities, and when caught, taxpayers foot the bill? No thanks!

    • Perhaps from Wrights point of view, it was invest now, benefits later.

      • For such rich people, it isn’t about the money — it’s about the power. When Harper got Wright in, he got power. And so did Wright gain power, at a much higher level than he could otherwise enjoy. And I just keep wondering what Doug Findley was up to in the Senate — a dirty actor, that one, sorry to speak ill of the dead, but a truly corrupt person. One wonders if stacking the Senate for absolute power was always a goal — they surely never tried to reform anything until the poop was hitting the provervial fan.

        • Agreed.

        • We are learning so much today!

          Perhaps it is better to be rich, become an MP, receive a salary of $160,000 a year plus expenses, and then just skip the House to go give speeches for a fee.

          Rich people taking the money from libraries and charitable foundations. THAT is the ticket to doing politics fairly!

          Such a brave new world this is becoming.

          • How many RPMs you up to now, FV?

          • Does it bother you when I post?

            What are you afraid of?

          • Hey you two stop your petty bickering and stick to the topic not your personal peeves!

          • She got you guys fooled. She’s actually running backwards concurrently. I think she might have finally perfected the concept of an object in perpetual motion. Pity she’s still standing still for all that.

          • She sure isn’t getting anywhere with her rhetoric!

          • I feel a bit guilty for teasing her, but then she just keeps coming on with the crap.

          • You’ll get over that, I’m sure. I skip her stuff — I hate being shrieked at (I can’t watch Gordon Ramsay either). She’s become a punchline yet seems to relish the infamy. Anyway, I find if I ignore that persona, at least I don’t end up insulting her (and feeling guilty) or raising my own blood pressure. And I actually don’t think it’s a real person, if you know what I mean, just an online persona. Or could real people be that incoherent and refuse to believe reality?

          • As our dear PM says repeatedly -‘ when you’re throwing mud, you’re losing ground’.

          • Or you could become a party approved MP, receive a salary of $160k and then just turn up to the house to vote the way the unelected PMO tell you to, regardless of your own views or that of your constituency.
            I believe one opposition MP and two Con MPs earned speaking fees, quite a few made money in other jobs, but the entire Con back bench does what I described. Yet you seem to think it’s only the one opposition MP who is short changing the electorate.

          • Ah, yes, dear leaders Justin and Tom will let their members vote freely on abortion issues and such.

            Heck, Justin Trudeau instructed his Liberal senators the other day to abstain from voting. You need to get out more and read about the real world. Find out what’s actually going on for real

          • Just like Question Period, you Tories can’t answer to the point made, you just ramble on and on and on… hoping everyone will forget what the original point was.
            I dealt with what you said, how about you respond in kind?

          • I think it’s starting to be accepted that turning these issues into slurs against Trudeau and Mulcair isn’t playing so well anymore, with anybody.

          • It wasn’t a whipped vote, it was merely a suggestion by Trudeau.

        • And what was Doug Findley up to?
          I”ve never heard any stories.

        • Patchouli…you have it backwards.
          Wright didn’t accept money because he didn’t need it. I know that’s hard for a Liberal supporter to comprehend, but it happens to be the case.
          He also didn’t work for Government to get POWER. He already had that. Money is power…and he has a lot of it. He was in Government because he believes in Conservatives values, and he wanted to be sure that Canada stayed on the correct path as laid out by Harper….because he believed in it.
          I know that is far to simple for some cynics to believe, but that is the case, I can assure you.
          Now just keep ignoring the REAL scandals of the Liberals, and keep focussing on the self-made billionaire who works for free.

    • Hey…better idea. Let’s make sure we ONLY hire stinking rich people who insist on paying from their own pockets; and we can reduce our taxes.

      • This talking point that anything goes if it reduces our taxes seems really silly, James, and I like to think you’re a little more than that. Are you part of the Ford Nation too?

  7. What did Nigel Wright do that incurred legal bills of $60,000?

    • Nobody knows that yet, although Kady O’Malley pointed it out in a blog last week. Indeed, what — and who — was it for? It seems that Nigel himself told this to the RCMP.

      • You obviously have not read the ITO report.

        • You obviously have not read pages 12 and 17 of the ITO report.

          • Yes, I have. What about it?

          • English is her second or possibly twelfth language; she doesn’t comprehend it well, and really gets lost in her writing too. I mean, what other excuse could there be for jamming blogs and offending other commenters with the same thing, over and over, day after day after year?

        • Then enlighten us, Oh Omniscient One!

          • Read page 61 of the ITO report and find out that members of the media and opposition members have been lying.

            Gerstein only CONSIDERED paying party funds for Duffy’s expenses, but Gerstein had never approved it.

            Wright may have assumed that the party would pay but such assumption was not a correct one. The media simply believes Wright’s version of events when it suits the media.

            Gerstein had never ever approved of paying for the $32,000 out of party funds, and yet the opposition parties and the members of the media just keep repeating their lies that Gerstein HAD approved paying for the $32,000

            I know how the opposition parties operate. And we all know how opposition parties operate. Nothing new there, really.

          • How much time passed between consideration and refusal?

          • Crickets

          • “What about it?”

            Ballsy. Stupid, but ballsy. Of course you read my comments from yesterday.

            Page 17 says as follows:
            On Feb 22, 2013, Mr. Wright called Gerstein, updated him on the situation and asked if the fund would pay the $32,000 plus interest. Gerstein confirmed it would. Mr. Wright in turn informed some of his staff of this decision. Mr. Wright stressed, they would cover the costs of housing claim errors only, nothing else.”
            Gerstein approved the payment when the amount in question was $32,000.
            You lie.

          • FV doesn’t lie so much as have brain cramps when she gets to bits of info she can’t take in – like that one. You might be right though, perhaps she is Byrne’s online doppleganger?

          • That would be you doing the lying.

          • Now go and read what Matlock said about that yesterday.

          • I believe others have suggested you read this in context and pointed you to other pages that counter your assertion… yet you persist. All that spinning, you’re gonna strip the head off that screw.

      • Kady O’malley’s “Journalism” is about as complex as a 14 year of girls’ facebook page.

        • Now now, Kady O’Malley is an expert on Canada’s parliamentary procedures and committee work, and frankly she’s worth her own weight in gold. That she conveys it in clear simple language is actually a feather in her cap, James. And say — you might want to read your own sentence aloud — it makes no sense as it’s written.

        • No. Just because you can’t understand what she writes about …

    • If you are Nigel Wright…….you are hiring Lawyers who can charge about $1500 per hour.
      Clayton Ruby….that lawyer for the little man charges $1000 per. Wracking up $60K isn’t a big deal for some.

  8. Maybe Wright should hold a press conference where he unequivocally declares that the PM was out of the loop and that he, Nigel Wright, was solely responsible for the impropriety of conceiving of and orchestrating the payment of Duffy’s 90K in improper expenses. He could face the scandal head on and by answering reporter questions he’d clear up any lingering doubts about Harper’s involvement.

    Surely such transparency would end the witch hunt and “stop our public agony.”

    • Now that he’s been left to twist in the wind, why should Wright clear up anything for steve harper? He should sing like a little Nigel-Bird — and I read he has retained Faskin martin, is it, the law office where Guy Giorno works. We may have to wait for court to hear Nigel’s version of events — but there’s a reason he told RCMP that he didn’t accept pay, expenses, and paid lawsuits out of pocket. He wanted us to know that.

      • Also, hasn’t he steadfastly maintained that he did nothing wrong?

        • I thought the only time we’ve heard from Nigel Wright is when the CTV reporter ran him down at 4 am! For the longest time, the PM said he did nothing wrong — and that was even after he had fired him. Tangled web: woven.

          • Somebody correct me if I’m wrong about this, but I’m pretty sure his lawyer has once or twice publicly reiterated Wright’s position (no wrong was done, or something to that effect).

    • Patience, patience.

      Some media outlets will be sued for libel, no doubt about that. Better sit back and wait what all comes out of the media’s mouth and so the damages could add up to significant amounts.

      CBC and the Greg Weston story about a ‘secret fund’ Nigel had access to, supposedly, will be taken to court at one point. I am convinced of that.

      • So that’s the big, overarching plan? Feed the media all kinds of falsehoods, sue their asses, and bring an end to freedom of the press in Canada? Thanks for the heads-up, FV!

        • That’s not a plan. It’s simply defending the truth. Everyone, including CPC and Wright, has a right to defending the truth.

          • “Truth” has a distinctly partisan slant in your mouth lady.

      • And if it does not come to pass I am sure you will diligently post advising of your erroneous prognostication. You know, like some columnists do in their end of year columns.

        Should be easy for you as you basically made two or three distinct posts all year.

    • Telling that he hasn’t. It could be just on the advise of my lawyer kinda thing. Not much of a fig leaf for Harper to be hiding behind though. Personally i think PW has it right, NW’s ideological convictions are protecting the PM…for now.
      I wonder if Jason has his home number?

  9. You still hear Conservatives say, one on TV recently, that the great mystery is why save Duffy? Better still, why save Duffy and let Pamela go?
    If they had ditched Duffy right off the bat, he’s long gone and totally ignored by his former media and political friends by now if not by mid June.

    • Wallin made immediate overtures to repay at least some of the expenses, and while blaming “staff errors”, she at least acknowledged ultimate responsiblity for any inappropriate claims (who knew that a boss owning the mistakes of staff would prove to be such a novel approach?). She might have emerged as an exemplar of bloated Senate entitlements, but nevertheless fell on her own sword.

      Duffy, by comparison, was – well – Duffy. Applying for a PEI health card after questions about residence made it impossible for the Conservatives to claim the rules were vague, and the emails show he was not going to follow Wallin’s lead. Not that it excuses the actions of Wright et al, but Duffy also played a bait and switch game (had the PMO known the extent of his questionable claims up front, they may well have forged a strategy that didn’t involve paying him off to shut up.)

      • But the fact they did pay[ through Nigel] says a lot about both them and Duffy. They were made for each other.

        • Indeed. Just because I understand why they gave special treatment to Duffy, doesn’t mean I see them as hapless victims in all of this. To paraphrase Obi-Wan: “Who is the bigger corrupt self-interested fool; the corrupt self-interested fool or the man who follows him?”

          • To paraphrase somebody else: He who pays the Duffster must wish he didn’t call the tune anymore.

    • That’s always been the big question mark for me as well. I get why they treated Brazeau differently, but why bend over for Duffy and leave Wallin to swing?

      • Bend over for Duffy…please don’t. just don’t.

        • Agreed: Brazeau is much better looking.

          • True, and he’s a minority. That’s a twofer and extremely naughty of you. Report to Nigel for punishment. He’s tied up in SH’s basement.

          • Now THAT sounds kinky. And I’M naughty? Anyway, I guess if you’re bent over…it doesn’t really matter what he looks like. And yes, that was truly naughty, sorry.

  10. What on earth was the PM thinking when he appointed Duffy in the first place? Seems that the PM ignored some obvious warning signs from even before the appointment. That makes me question the PM’s decision making skills.

    • I always suspected he was trying to poison the well. I guess the lesson here is to avoid doing so to the same one you drink from.

      • How much tongue-in-cheekness should I read into this comment?

        • Unlike his generally applauded judgement in choosing a Governor General, Harper’s senate appointments have often appeared (to me) to be skewed toward politically useful buffoons. I’m not being disingenuous when I wonder if his long game was to generate even greater public antipathy toward the chamber (while benefitting from greater PMO control in the meantime).

          • Well if that is so, it is working. I’ve been a fairly consistent supporter of the Senate in general, and in particular I don’t really buy into the Triple E ideas. Mostly the Senate needs a better selection process, and a more rigorous process to remove Senators who are not living up to the expectations.

            That being said I have found myself mumbling to myself “Screw it, just get rid of the whole thing then” on a few occasions over the last few months.

    • Hindsight is 20/20. You knew that, right? If not, then you should look into it.

      • What are the credentials that made Duffy the best choice for the position?

        • Knowing something really stinky about the PM and his staff?

          • Not really, but being perfectly willing to completely prostitute himself and any professional ethics and credibility he had for a seat at the trough and a trophy for his ego were all it took.

            1. He was all too happy to travel on an expense account to tell stories and raise funds for the CPC
            2. He was all to happy to violate broadcast standards, risk censure from the CBSC and the loss of his job to do a hit piece on Dion, in exchange for the coveted Senate seat.

            In Harper CPC land, those are eminent qualifications.

          • I’m at least 67% confident that you are jesting…

            I actually would be interested in reforming the Senator selection process…develop some criteria, let people apply, and then post the results of the assessment….can’t be that hard.

          • Yes, I want to keep the Senate, but there could be sime simple modificatons made to the appointment process that would not require opening the Const — but, you know, the pm would have to be willing to give up that power, and so I think we will have to wait for another prime minister. So maybe circa 2015? I think either PM Trudeau or PM Chong would be willing to entertain such a change in process.

          • Wilco.Roger.

        • Its actually quite interesting, Duffy was constantly campaigning for a seat in the Senate for years, he would have joined any party to get one.

          Chretien, to his credit, did not appoint him.

          I think you have to give him credit for that . . knew enough about Duffy to recognize Duffy was only interested in Duffy, and also to recognize that there were things even he as PM could not control.

          Makes Harper look like a piker . . . Harper seems to have thought he was omnipotent and that no others would dare to act freely if he thought they were beholden to him . . . well he got that wrong. I suspect he will soon learn the same lessons from Jason Kenney.

    • Well that is the question. I think they deserve each other. Duffy sold out what little journalistic integrity he had left when he did that unethical hatchet job on Dion during the election. Harper appointed him to the Senate shortly after. Harper should have known Duffy was in it for himself, and Duffy should have known Harper would turn on him on a dime.

      In hindsight, we should have seen this coming…

      • As best I can tell, more than a few did see it coming…

        Two of the characters will be familiar to most readers. Duffy is the huckster. He used to be on TV; during station breaks he would advertise his eagerness to be a senator for so many years that it was a standing Ottawa joke. ….. Duffy used to protest his non-partisanship, and when he fetched up in the Conservative Senate benches we all had a good laugh, but in the end it turned out to be true. Partisans have loyalty. In the crunch, Duffy had only interests.

  11. Interesting write-up.

    I’m still trying to come to terms how a payback of tax dollars money can be a wrong thing to do, but I guess such are the times we live in:

    When people steal, they must get the benefit of the doubt.

    When people donate their own money, they are the scandal of the decade in the making!

    Over time I will get used to this new understanding of how the world works. I;m sure. I’m sure.

    • It’s not the payback that’s the issue; this goes way beyond that. If you genuinely don’t get that conspiracy and flagrant skirting – if not downright breaking of – the law is the real issue here, then your ethics are as twisted as your masters’.

      I guess I’m more Montgomery. While I’m sure you see yourself as a Wright, the rest of us picture you in full Duffster attire.

    • For Francien, if Harper shot Duffy and Wright in the back in cold blood, for her it would be considered self-defence because he would get them off his back.

      • Cut her some slack. She is watching her PMO gig going down in flames. I suspect that she is motivated as much by the desire to keep her cushy taxpayer funded ‘online commentator’ slot as she is by her undying love for Jesus and Harper (Not neccesarily in that order). Actually, I have seen ‘her’ slip up before on gender in ‘her’ many vitriolic posts. I think Francien is actually male.

    • Appoint a bunch of rich ideologues to cover our asses and our bills for the tax payer [ but conveniently forget that 30 tho from the party was fine with Nigel at one point] and we’re good to go, right. What could possibly go wrong with that?

      Duffy, that’s what. But when personal immovable venal interests named Mike met Party/ideological interests that were going somewhere, personal had to be appeased, lest the ideological goal get any finger prints on it….or the movement suffer.
      Just ask yourself, who in all this was looking out for the public’s interest? The guy named Montgomery came closest to, imo.

  12. She’s here…..

    • Almost done the first pass…

      • First pass complete….put away your umbrellas!

        • You are performing a public service — could you make the announcements on Twitter too? I always say: by the pricking of my thumbs, something freakin’ crazy this way comes…

  13. “Chris simply does not believe in our goal of circling the wagons,”

    I can’t believe no one in the media has parsed this sentence.

    Who is attacking the wagons? Who has fallen off the wagon? Who called “shotgun”? Who’s firing blanks?

    • It is interesting that Wells has not included Harper and expanded his group to four disparates.
      I guess he is saying between the lines that he does not believe that Harper knew anything about all of this. And of course that’s what the PM has claimed all along.
      So the circling the wagons does not include circling around Harper?
      At least according to Wells who, with his inside knowledge of the Harper Government, must know.

      • I think the Wells train left that station a while back now. Like most of us he’s probably stuck somewhere between check stop skeptical, point of departure denial and destination: this is all a f**king pointless circus that’s gonna end badly for Harper, eventually.
        But there’s no cover charge or conductor checking tickets, so enjoy the ride and show.

        • The Ottawa media obviously know a heck of a lot more about inside PMO and Harper than they ever tell us.
          They KNOW!

          • You mean they’re just toying with us? :)

            I guess there’s a world of difference between “knowing” and knowing?

          • So do I, but like the media, when the truth is what happens in the dark, when ‘rats’ who speak the truth aloud are the enemy, to be ruined or destroyed as quickly as possible, it makes you think twice about fingering the crooks doesn’t it? It is kind of like knowing exactly where the local Hells Angels grow-op is. Do you call the Police and tell them about it? Of course not! They are no different thatn the PMO thugs, they will track you down and destroy you, and the Police are in their pockets, at least enough to find the ‘fink’.

    • It does feed the narrative that “those” guys are all the cowboys in white hats, and the rest of us are presumably the blood thirsty savages on the rampage…or more specifically the media. Easy to see how one could develop a siege mentality in this particular govt. Hard to see the Duffster as the maiden tied to the railroad tracks though…maybe that’s Harper’s walk on part?

      • Duffy’s the slovish hired supply wagon driver in Dances with Wolves who, after delivering the goods for Lt. John Dunbar (Costner), gives away his location by cooking bacon with a large open fire in the middle of nowhere – leading to his ultimate demise after taking a few arrows, and finally loss of follicles.

        • And i guess that makes Chris the indian who’s off the reserve.
          I don’t think i like looking inside the minds of the rich and powerful really, do you?

  14. Wright wanted Duffy off his back. Paul Wells is right on that.

    The real scandal is mostly about rules not properly adhered to. Senators COULD claim for primary houses but SHOULD not have claimed them if they did not USE those houses! They did and that is the real scandal. Duffy kept insisting and Wright wanted him off his back. Who can blame Wright? I don’t.

    But since most members of the media are out to get Harper and since Mulcair and Trudeau will not score points with the Canadian public on policy issues, they are more than happy to keep feeding this so-called scandal to no end. And most members of the media are more than happy to oblige.

    We know how it works. At least, most Canadians know how it works.

    • “Who can blame Wright?” Here’s the thing – the illegality of bribing a public official is not subject to clauses of extenuating circumstances (no matter how large a headache that official is causing, no matter how monumental an a-hole that official may be, and no matter how such a payment might achieve a good outome). Full stop.

      If Wright had instead chosen to punch Duffy in the nose “to get him off his back”, the same logic would apply.

    • That’s where it all started – inappropriate expensing. But that was just the tip of the iceberg and all this would have long since gone away if that’s all it were. But of course, you know that… you just refuse to admit it.

  15. Well, we now know who votes Conservative. From Ford to Flaherty to Harper to the Senate the same element appears: the toughies. But, all the the pork barrelers have to do is promise to cut taxes and they are on board. Perform badly, really badly? Doesn’t matter.

  16. Paul writes ” Stephen Harper does not submit expenses for working lunches, at which he does not eat lavishly, because he would have eaten anyway.” Was this supposed to suggest that Harper, like Wright, is usually frugal in charging taxpayers?
    If it was, then Paul seems to have forgotten that Harper used the challenger jet to fly himself, his family and friends to hockey games in the U.S. and reportedly only reimbursed taxpayers at the price of economy tickets that, apparently, would have been booked well before the flight, in other words, at only a small fraction of what it cost taxpayers to fly the challenger. And apparently, the reimbursement occurred shortly before a pesky journalist would have reported it (presumably called the PMO for comments before the story came out). Paul Martin, by comparison, reportedly flew commercial flights.
    And then there was the matter of five haircuts before the G8/G20 meeting in Toronto for which Harper reportedly charged taxpayers about $9460, or about $2000 per haircut. Just what comes with a $2000 haircut?
    One wonders how many lunches the above two items alone would have paid for? And those are the ones the pesky journalists manage to ferret out … were there others unreported?

    • 25 million dollars for 3 months of advertising the Canada Action Plan, complete with Conservative blue signage.

      • That is starting to sound like Adscam . . . I hope some investigative journalist is looking into where all that money is being channeled and whether the taxpayer is getting value for money spent. Of course, they would have learned the lessons of the previous regime, so it would not be a duplicate, whoever is investigating needs to find where the current crew has been innovative . . .

  17. Bang on!

    Glad you highlighted the circle-the-wagons quote which belies the notion that Wright was acting purely out of some ethereal sense of ethics. Wright was acting out of devotion to the party.

    The CPC spinmeisters also appear to have gotten to Montgomery’s role early too, trying to cast his actions as fighting a turf war rather than protecting principles.

    Thanks for giving us the clearest analysis of the dramatis personae yet with contextual support from the RCMP documents.

  18. “Nigel Wright is the ideologue…”

    We shouldn’t hold our collective breaths waiting for Nigel to out the PM any time soon then? Unless of course he sees the writing on the wall and concludes Harper IS the problem. Now that must be a nagging fear in the back of the PM’s head!
    I wonder how hard it was to dig this up, and what it says about the state of our media? Are most of them simply too lazy and set in their ways to dig deeper, or is it simply the constraints of the 24/7 cycle and no time for hard stuff like actual context? It just can’t have been that hard to get this right. I’m inclined to go with the lazy speculative journalism, cuz that’s what humans do[ their first instinct anyway] follow the herd. Maybe we’re all in too much of a hurry altogether these days?

  19. Montgomery for PM. Yes..a Conservative with morals and Cpl Horton at his side.

    This is not funny, but hopefully the party is looking and getting someone like Montgomery/Horton to take over from Harper..before he brings the entire Party down with him…again.

    • I’m excited to see Harper bring down his own party! And I think that next time, Canada should choose a different party altogether.

  20. I see the Calandra of the comment boards Francien is in full cry today.

    • I think they get a big bonus when they get more than 100 comments out in the first hours of a breaking scandal. Thank GOD the taxpayers are being saved from themselves by these PMO keyboard warriors, ‘educating and informing Canadians’ at the taxpayers expense.

  21. Paul, why aren’t you writing about Colin Kenney? You should be able to get access to the ITO. You guys are good at getting ITOs related to Cons. released. Come on, we should be able to get some juicy details on Kenney.

    • Blech, if true what is alleged, I don’t want to read that kind of salacious stuff — but I want him gone. Also, you realize the RCMP released the ITO to the public, right?

    • There are two simple reasons. Firstly, the Liberals are NOT the Government, so there is no particular public interest beyond the fact that he has accusations levelled against him. Nobody is rushing to throw him out of the Senate without a hearing. He was booted from caucus instantly, and the proper investigion can now proceed. Secondly, nobody attempted to bribe anybody to hush it up. Surely you can tell the difference between the two cases?

      You know something? If the Harper PMO had come out with a straight story, instead of going through a million contortions to hide every single tiniest truth about the Duffy affair, then nobody would have cared much. But that is not what happened is it? They actually formed a conspiracy, and according to the Mounties it was a criminal conspiracy, and why? Because they are prepared to go to any length to hide what they are doing from US, the Citizens they work for.

      • Kenny didn’t get kicked out of caucus, he resigned. Trudeau didn’t feel that booting him out was necessary, apparently. Which says a lot about Trudeau.

        And no, nobody bribed Trudeau to cover it up, he did that through his own gross negligence.

      • Except the target isn’t “the government” now is it? It is Harper. The man who wants to remain PM. The other is the leader of the opposition, the man who seeks to become the leader of our country. The rest of your explanation is equally ridiculous. Trudeau was never asked what he knew and when, with any serious scrutiny. He had nothing to “cover up”. Having serial sexual predator in the mix was unworthy of scrutiny – one of the benefits of being the one who brings hope to those who seek a “progressive” government.

  22. Quick question: which is more morally reprehensible, being a serial sexual predator, or being someone who paid for over claimed expenses of another?
    Harper is accused of turning a blind eye regarding an over-expense payor in his office.
    Trudeau is accused of turning a blind eye to a serial sexual predator in his caucus.
    In a world where the media took seriously its role of impartial purveyors of news rather than the mouth-pieces and propagandists of the liberal saviour de jour, the potential cover- up of a sexual predator in one’s midst would obviously be the headline-grabbing one. One which would garner rightful universal condemnation. Alas, the truly newsworthy event is against the liberal intelligencia’s person of the hour and so it must be supressed.

    • Your question isn’t quick enough, or even at all.

  23. Another quick question: which is more morally repugnant, a PM potentially knowing about a staffer paying for the over-claimed expenses of another, or being a sitting MP while enriching oneself in millions of dollars for “public speaking” which is essentially the job of a parliamentarian, and where the taking involves the taking from non-profit organizations?
    In a non-Alice in Wonderland/liberal la la land, the latter is obviously more reprehensible, both in terms of scope and moral repugnance. But when the outrage goes to the wrong (ie preferred “correct” progressive) person, it must be swept away, so say our “progressive” betters in the media.

    • I don’t think “quick” means what you think it means.

      • I apologize for not complying with the objective of quickly and quietly dispensing with such frivolous matters as covering up serial sexual assaults and gross misuse of public office for material personal gain. Perhaps one day I will learn to conform to such “progressive” thinking.

        • You’re the one who started both posts saying “quick question.” I merely pointed out they were actually long and convaluted. Next time, just start with: “Long rambling partisan and rather stupid comment…” and then make your point, if you have one.

    • Interesting – both of your scenarios are obvious attempts to reflect what is happening, but neither is accurate. Let me help you:

      It is worse for a PM to mislead Canadians about the source of the money to repay the unlawfully claimed expenses of one of his appointees, or to operate his PMO in a “don’t ask, don’t tell” fashion….

      Than is it for a sitting MP to continue his initial employment outside the House, so long as it does not interfere with his job as an MP, and so long as that employment does not involve misleading either the people paying for the service or the people of Canada.

      Hope that helps.

      • Thank you for clearing that up for me. I was under the impression that turning a blind eye to one who is a serial sexual predator is a bad thing. A very, very bad thing. I was under the impression that, among other things, the immeasurable continuing harm such a tacit/complicit “OK’ing” of such crimes would have on the numerous female victims would be worthy of scorn. I will be sure to amend my “progressive” rule book to read that defending women’s rights shall be suspended and, to the contrary, victims of sexual abuse are to be muted to advance a “progressive” agenda.
        Yes Gayle that helps a lot. Thank you for showing me that “deflecting” towards that issue is wrong. I have a lot to learn from my “progressive” friends here.

        • Interesting

          Your question involved an MP getting money for speaking engagements. Your response involves sexual predators. Cute way to move the goal posts.

          In any event, yet again your scenario is false. Maybe you can show some evidence that Justin Trudeau turned a blind eye to a sexual predator. Yes yes, I know you will refer to the email titled “Senate reform” that was not actually about senate reform as your evidence, but I what I am asking for is actual evidence.

          i will wait.

          • Actually, I’ve been mentioning the sexual predations aspect in all of my comments here. The goal posts have always been in the same place, you’ve just chosen to ignore where they are. I can see why you would ignore them, why with their being so inconveniently located.
            Now that we’ve established the firmly planted goal posts, why is sexual predations on young powerless women no big deal as compared to…say…paying for another’s over expense account? I’m sure there is some “progressive” explanation for such depravity that I just don’t appreciate.

          • If the guy is a creep, as alleged, he should be gone. What he did has nothing to do with Trudeau, and this thread is about the PMO Senate scandal, so try to focus. There, is that progressive enough for you?

          • Nice try, but here is the question you posed:

            “Another quick question: which is more morally repugnant, a PM
            potentially knowing about a staffer paying for the over-claimed expenses of another, or being a sitting MP while enriching oneself in millions of dollars for “public speaking” which is essentially the job of a parliamentarian, and where the taking involves the taking from non-profit organizations?”

            Now maybe I am supposed to read sexual predator into “sitting MP”, but that would be a pretty big stretch.

            In any event, I can see how it is not convenient for you to be honest about this, so we will move on to your new question. Only, wait! You are not being honest about that one either. Because no one ever said a sexual predator on young powerless women is no big deal.

            When did you stop beating your wife?

    • I think from a strictly tactical or strategic point of view it has been decided that firing allegations of corruption back at Trudeau and Mulcair and members of their parties is just not working anymore.
      Sorry but everybody is just laughing at you and that is the worst thing. I think Monty Python did a skit about this!
      You can’t help but feel sorry for Calandra whose image is now frozen in time for his entire political career in some crazy exaggerated comedy sketch, an absurd caricature, inspired by misplaced, blind loyalty..
      Don’t go there Charles and Francien.

  24. Placing a magnifying glass, while wearing one’s puritan outfit, will nearly always yield tut tutting from the glass holder. Where the holder chooses to aim the magnifying glass usually tells you everything you need to know about their motives for the purported search for “truth”.
    Turning a blind eye to a sexual predator: nothing to see here.
    Grossly enriching oneself privately while holding the mantle of the people’s representative: no problem.
    Let us keep the magnifying glass on the real evils of those who may know something about one who would pay for the over-claimed expenses of another. All day, every day. Mind boggling indeed.

    • Quick question: where’d you source your “puritan outfit”? Another quick question: Is it for American Thanksgiving?

  25. So what I take from this is the only person sticking it to taxpayers was Mike Duffy. And then he decided to stab Nigel Wright in the back, simply because Nigel was trying to protect taxpayers.

    That Nigel Wright is being investigated for the terrible crime of protecting the public purse at all is a travesty of justice. That the Liberals and NDP would even suggest that Nigel Wright has done anything wrong says more about their motives than anything else.

    • You do understand that Nigel Wright is named by the RCMP in that document, along with the Criminal Code provisions his acts would have violated if ever proven in a court of law?

      • An impartial, fair observer would recognize that “if” is a biggie. More to my points prior, imagine if that “if” were applied (or even mentioned by the likes of yourself), to Mr. Trudeau’s caucusmate, in relation to the sexual assault potential crimes.
        And further, what do you think society deplores more (and is correspondingly worthy of attention/scorn/coverage), the improper paying of over-expenses, or serial sexual assaults committed by one in power against those who are powerless? And which do you think the turning a blind eye to is worse?
        Now, let’s proceed with the magnifying glass on the expense repayment matter, we shouldn’t worry ourselves about a little sexual assault cover up here and there “if” commited by Trudeau.

        • If you make the “if” big enough you can almost get it to cover up the “RCMP.”

          • The RCMP isn’t investigating the Trudeau’s caucusmate??? Or is investigating sexual assault one of those “lesser crimes” that aren’t really crimes if the allegations are against those in the company of young Justin?

        • It’s not expense repayment, you dipsh*t. It’s bribery that’s being alleged here.

  26. Give me characters like Wright and Harper anytime over the disgusting parasites of the ‘House of Common Thievery’. If the other party leaders fit into similar character molds then there might be hope for this forlorn place called Canada, also known as: ‘Utopia for the entitled, and screw the rest’.

  27. There is nothing new here. Politics has always been a mug’s game where survival depends on expediency in an amoral environment, not lofty personal ethics.

    Politics is achieving what is possible by compromise, expediency, and a back room deal. Good people enter ‘the game,’ convinced that they can make a meaningful contribution to public life and government only to discover that, unless they suppress their values, they cannot function so they leave. It happens every day, but Montgomery stands out because of the high profile of the scandal.

    Nobody should be surprised, yet so many of us imagine that politics is an ethical activity. It isn’t. Machiavellian manipulators, like Harper, survive but anyone unable to play the game won’t last long. It is time the rest of us awakened to the facts. This is politics Canadian style played for power and the raw pursuit of it, not to deal with issues and problems that face the country.

    We are the problem, not the politicians who know what they are doing. We have not grasped the most fundamental understanding of politics. It’s about winning and losing, nothing more.

  28. 3 desperate players? Last count I saw it was well over a dozen and getting closer to 20.

  29. ROBERT STALEY, legal representative FOR THE PMO assisted RCMP computer forensic investigators in the search of government computer servers. These Legal Services are exempted from public disclosure or scrutiny on grounds of national security. Taxpayers are covering the bill. Staley’s son works now as Harper’s executive assistant.

    • Just like Arthur Hamilton assisted Elections Canada?

  30. I think that there are three fundamental problems here. The first is the Senate itself. It should be sent down the tubes no matter how. The second is the PMO. When Trudeau set it up it was a think tank, i.e a policy body to aid the PM in decision making. Chrtetien, however, was not a thinker but a pol. He started the change of the PMO to a CYA organization heavily populated by ex media types and fewer policy wonks. Since then it is my perception that it is entirely a CYA organization full of youngish types without integrity or morality. It is concerned with mainly how the PM looks. It does a lousy job of that and I think Harper (who is not blameless but not the devil many would make him out to be) should scrap or reorganize. The third thing is the general decrease in morality and integrity in our politicians and their advisers. Both are too concerned with power for its own sake and not what you do with it.

  31. Still waiting for the media to do their jobs, start staking out Nigel Wright’s house, and write up a defining biography of this outstanding citizen, Nigel Wright. What ethical means did he use to gain his millions? I know our post-democracy barely has any investigative journalists left, but how about it Paul?

    • This dome of privacy over such an important political figure seems astounding. Think of the scrums around Rob Ford.

  32. Looks like Pierre Calandria Is writing under the name of Francien Verhoven

  33. ROAD TO HONEST GOVERNMENT:

    With diligence we observe the despot in the Commons and Senate. The consequence is a duplicitous ‘in-camera’ pestilence eroding the essence of our democracy. Daily we observe ‘obstruction-of-justice’ techniques contrived to cover-up. There is no point to further enquire from this particular brand.

    As of January 2014 the [House of Commons] Board of Internal Economy has successfully altered employment contacts to ensure parliamentary staff will be under a
    LIFETIME GAG ORDER whereby any breach can result in immediate termination
    without pay or notice and whereby integrity has no safe domain.

    A coalition between NDP and LIBERAL parties is now essential in order to stem the tragedy from democracy to dictatorship by the most reviled conservative government in history – those who prefer ‘judgement over DUE-PROCESS’ and ensure MPs are emasculated via the vehicle of Nomination Certificates. With regret, the (conservative) senate must also be abolished in order to ‘keep us whole’.

    NOTE: The British political parties (Conservatives and Liberal Democrats) have managed a coalition, and so might the NDP and Liberal parties of Canada.

    Remember: the F35 fiasco (Lockheed Martin un-tendered contract), with the potential to extract $billions from the taxpayer and lesser, the $450000 Deloitte Audit jobs-for-the-boys fiasco designed by the PMO and Senate conservatives to mislead the Queen’s official opposition and worse, the Nation?

    Apologies to Senator Duffy: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/duffy-speechmp3/article15006064/

    QUOTE: ‘My fellow Canadians. We have all just witnessed a sad spectacle, a prime minister so burdened with corruption in his own party that he is unable to do his job and
    lead the country, a party leader playing for time, begging for another chance. This is not how a prime minister should act.’ – Harper April 21, 2005.

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