Why the PM is no match for Mike Duffy

Paul Wells sets the scene for the Conservative convention


Ben Stansall / Reuters

By late October the mess in the Senate had become so appalling that Stephen Harper had to try something new to get his message out. He called three talk radio hosts, selected with his usual care: John Gormley, a former Conservative MP in Saskatchewan; John Tory, a former Ontario Conservative party leader in Toronto; and Jordi Morgan, a former Conservative candidate in Halifax. It’s time to cut off the salaries of Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau, Harper told the hosts. “That’s what Canadians expect,” he told Tory. “When people abuse a position of trust at this level and over this time period—and this clearly—that there will be appropriate action taken that, frankly, removes them from the public payroll.”

Yeah! You tell ’em, big guy. Where did Duffy get the idea he could get away with his outrageous behaviour, after all? It was meant to be a rhetorical question, but on Oct. 28 Duffy rose in the Senate to explain precisely where he got that idea: from everyone who worked for Harper, for months on end.

Related stories from Paul Wells: 

“I am told that you complied with all the applicable rules,” Nigel Wright, the PM’s then-chief of staff, wrote to Duffy last Dec. 4, “and that there would be several senators with similar arrangements.”

By “similar arrangements,” Wright meant a situation where senators lived in Ottawa while claiming a housing allowance as if they were visitors to Ottawa from some other place. Such a scheme seems hard to defend, yet in a 2009 memo, Christopher McCreery, the Conservatives’ house expert on the Canadian honours system, managed the feat with little difficulty. “So long as a senator owns property in his or her province of appointment,” McCreery wrote, “then they are allowed to sit as a senator from that province, even if they live in Ottawa 99 per cent of the time.”

McCreery sent that memo to Duffy and Wallin three weeks after they became senators. How well did Harper like that advice? This well: After writing the memo, McCreery was appointed to a panel advising Harper on the choice of the next Governor General.

Wright was, for months, at pains to soothe Duffy’s nerves. When Marjory LeBreton, then the government leader in the Senate, announced in February that wrongfully claimed housing allowances should be repaid “with interest,” Wright hurried to reassure Duffy. “I had no foreknowledge” of LeBreton’s statement, he wrote. “When I learned of it I asked for all unilateral action from that office to cease,” which is a fancy way of saying he had told LeBreton to put a sock in it. “I was not pleased.”

The message from Harper’s office for months on end was that anyone who tried to mess with Mike Duffy would face the wrath of the Harper government. As late as April, the Conservative party’s own lawyer, Arthur Hamilton, covered Duffy’s legal expenses to the tune of $13,560. When Wright finally wrote his own personal cheque for $90,000 to cover Duffy’s excess housing expenses, it seemed at the time an aberration. In context, it was the last step before one of those 180-degree turns that sometimes characterize the Harper manner: Back Duffy, back Duffy, back Duffy, pay Duffy’s lawyers, pay Duffy, get caught, cut Duffy off.

To be sure, Duffy is an unreliable witness. With his back to the wall, under police investigation and accused by his former caucus colleagues of a concerted and extended program of expense account falsification, he could be expected to come up with any explanation that might make him look a little less culpable. And in his brief exchanges with selected radio hosts, Harper made the whole business sound like an annoying game of he-said, she-said. But that’s why Duffy’s decision to table all the memos I just quoted is so devastating to the PMO’s side of things. Harper is now in his sixth month of saying as little as possible about what happened in his office. The game is not he-said, she-said; it’s they-won’t-talk, he’s-got-email-transcripts.

For a guy with so little to say about what transpired between Duffy and Wright, the Prime Minister has some trouble keeping his lines straight. “The reality is Mr. Duffy has not paid a cent back to the taxpayers of Canada,” Harper said in question period on Tuesday. “The fact that he hasn’t and the fact that he shows absolutely no regret for his actions—and the fact that he has told untruths about his actions—means he should be removed from the public payroll.”

Not a cent. Got it. Except here’s this news release the Prime Minister’s Office sent out in May, on the day the Wright-Duffy deal was revealed: “Mr. Duffy has reimbursed taxpayers for his impugned claims,” the release said, after acknowledging that the source for Duffy’s money was Wright’s personal account. In a fit of cheek, the release sent out by Harper’s accredited spokesmen suggested that two other foundering senators, the Liberal Mac Harb and the Conservative Patrick Brazeau, should live up to Duffy’s moral example.

Related stories on the Senate scandal:

So Duffy reimbursed taxpayers, until the Prime Minister needed to say he hadn’t. Wright resigned, until the Prime Minister needed to say he had been dismissed. Memos and emails from the PM’s top men said Duffy was doing nothing wrong, until Duffy became too much of a drag on the Conservative brand. Situational ethics is normally a sin Conservatives reproach in Liberals, not one they try to excel in.

This mess has now been going on for a truly impressive amount of time. The PMO’s attempts to orchestrate an end to the crisis through harsh sanctions for Duffy, Brazeau and Wallin in the Senate were quaint, because they recalled so many previous efforts to turn the page. On May 21 Harper delivered a tough speech to his caucus in front of television cameras, promising a new era of accountability in the Senate. In July he shuffled his cabinet to put a fresh face on his team. In mid-October he delivered a new Throne Speech to give the team an agenda. Later that week he flew to Brussels to sign the outline of a trade deal with Europe.

The notion that Duffy and Wallin will tone down their efforts to bring Harper down with them if he manages to cut off their only means of earning a living is a wistful fantasy. If anything, desperation will make them double down. And because Harper remains intent on offering no complete, coherent and consistent explanation for what the hell was going on in his office under his name, the voluble ex-broadcasters who until recently adorned his Senate caucus remain free to fill in the blanks.

There is nothing quite so sad as a containment strategy that no longer works. Harper is a past master at strategic leaking, but all year he has had to play catch-up while Duffy leaked against him. He hopes the Conservative convention in Calgary, postponed from springtime, will play like a larger version of his carefully calibrated talk-radio interviews a week earlier: convention events run three days, but no reporter will be permitted to witness any of the business of this national political party until Harper delivers his keynote speech on the evening of the second day. Surely by now Harper would have learned that idle repertorial hands don’t produce friendlier coverage.

In an on-camera breakfast with reporters during the 2008 election campaign, Harper chatted about the elaborate post-game analysis he orders after every election. The goal is to fix everything that can be fixed, he explained. That includes his own performance. Other leaders might keep making the same mistake, he said, but he would try at least to make different mistakes every time.

He was being too optimistic. Human nature is stubborn. Character can’t be amended to satisfy the diktats of a campaign analysis. Harper got where he is today, for good and ill, by refusing to explain or apologize if he could at all avoid it. He has spent most of 2013 using that attitude to dig his way out of a mess that is a direct product of that attitude. The same stubborn streak that earned him his spot in the history books will be on full display on the day, however distant, when his career ends.


Why the PM is no match for Mike Duffy

  1. It’ll be interesting to see what Harper has to say during his public speech on the 2nd night of convention. Normally, I wouldn’t care too much about these party conventions, but now I’m taking a keen interest.

    • he is smart enough to turn it around and blame everyone but himself – come out looking like a hero.

      Problem is – are voters smart enough to see through it

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if Nigel Wright will be having a coming out party soon.

  2. Given the grievous harm that Wright has done to Harper’s reputation, one wonders what Ray Novak’s marching orders are? It would be nice to ask, if Harper has directed his new chief of staff to keep him fully informed on all issues especially those that are essential to the integrity of the PMO.

    • Given the grievous harm that Bodie did to Harper’s reputation, one wonders what Nigel Wright’s marching orders were? It would be nice to ask, if Harper had directed his former chief of staff to keep him fully informed on all issues especially those that are essential to the integrity of the PMO.

      • Tee-hee!

      • You missed Guy Giorno . . .

        • Guy had integrity – he would never have allowed this.

          • Guy Giorno and Stephen Harper are cut from the same cloth.

    • And to ensure that Novak does keep the boss fully informed, 24-7, he will shortly be moving back into the room over the garage at 24 Sussex.

      • This comment was deleted.

    • Ray Novak: Steve
      Harper’s Closet Confidant

      He used to live above Steve Harper’s garage. Now he may be the second most powerful man in

      “Ray is effectively the Prime Minister’s closest confidant,”
      enthuses one government official. “Not only as a member of his staff, but as a
      personal and intimate member of the Prime Minister’s life.”



    • Shine your shoes Mister Harper?

  3. Hi, I’ve been working whole day today, no time for Internet. Can somebody please update me what’s Harper’s story today?

    • Unlike Duffy, same as yesterday.

      • same as in constantly changing to see what sticks

      • :)))) You wished!

    • Harper showed that it is OK for Tom Mulcair to have dipped into Party Funds for covering legal costs. But wait, there is more:

      Not only did Mulcair dip into the Party Fund to have his legal fees covered; he also dipped into that very same Party Fund to have his penalty, asigned to him by the courts, paid of by the Party Funds! $95,000

      Tom Mulcair did not want you or anyone else to know about that, Why, even the media felt no need to report on what Tom Mulcair is really like.

      And so when Tom and the media don’t want to give us all the news, the PM does it for them!

      It was a good QP for telling ALL sides of a story!

      • Ah but Mulcair wasn’t part of a cover up or an attempt to control a Senator. He had his fees paid because of a comment he made while being a party mouthpiece.
        Duffy on the other hand was being pressured to lie to the Canadian people and was also being pressured into doing something he disagreedd with.
        Francien you are a shill with a Harper crush, try and compare like with like if you are trying to make a point.

        • Sadly Harebell you have no proof that Harper was part of a cover up to control a senator either. Just a whole lot of supposition.

          • In a government that touts the concept of ministerial responsibility one would expect a minister to take responsibility when those who they appointed to their ministry commit such egregious transgressions. The PM in PMO stand for Prime Minister and as such he is part of the actions and the cover up solely by being department head.
            Unless all that blather a few years back about Ministerial responsibility was purely to prevent the truth coming out in committee and yet another example of the underhanded and democracy destroying behaviour that passes as acceptable in right wing circles today.
            If he knew about what was happening he should have stopped it, if he didn’t know then how can we expect him to run a country when he can’t even run his own office? Either way he is responsible and as such is culpable. I believe he said something like this about Paul Martin…. so shouldn’t one remain consistent on this?

          • ,,,,and I will repeat….you have NO proof that Harper was part of a cover up to control a senator. Just a whole lot of supposition…and anger over Harper’s apparent inability to control the PMO.

          • It’s a big minus when a supposed “control freak” like Harper can’t control his own office. It’s also a big minus when his appointees are regularly found out to be crooks, spies or liars.

            The anger is also over his unwillingness to answer a question honestly. Sacked or resigned? It’s not hard, but the fact that he is dithering means he was lying and probably still is. If he won’t answer that simple question then if he was a suspect in a criminal inquiry and behaved like that police would have grounds to detain him and go searching through his possessions.

            Walks like a duck etc. He is part of a cover up, whether it was the original one or the one he is embarking on now, he is part of a cover up.

          • “Walks like a duck…” While your purely circumstantial case is certainly compelling to myself as a citizen, I still have to conclude that you have no proof that Harper was part of the cover up to control a senator. As for quibbling over whether Wright resigned vs. was dismissed….there is a such thing as “you will be fired if you don’t resign immediately”…..so is that a firing dressed up nicely as a resignation or a forced resignation or a firing? You can spin this crap until next Tuesday and this PM will do just that.
            Further, there will likely be people who feel like you do that the PM can’t control his office of 100+ administrative types but there will be others who knowing that office is full of lawyers, etc. that think the PM has better things to do and has had abominable luck in finding a good office manager, capable of controlling all of those “egos”. In short unless you present the “smoking gun”, many won’t care because they are quite happy with how the country is faring economically and they don’t give a crap about the Mike Duffy’s and the Pamela Wallin’s except to make sure they get their comeuppance….apparently 76% feel they deserve it. To their minds these people have stolen money from them and they want them gone NOW…and ta da…Harper is trying to facilitate that. Sorry harebell but many don’t care about another scandal in the senate. They just want it gone.

          • Plenty of talking points and deflection there.
            You will be fired if you don’t resign – PMO latest spin to negate accusations of lieing to the house and is being regurgitated ad nauseum by some of the biggest reform shills on the web. A real manager would have fired him, I notice he has no compunction about plain speaking over Duffy being fired. Sorry but his inconsistent responses are the smoking gun and are signs of a guy trying to slime out of trouble.

            We are not talking about the 100+ administrative types, we are talking about his chief of Staff, the Party Lawyer, the Party Fund manager, The PMO lawyer. These aren’t general admin types, these are senior members of his staff. His appointments aren’t “abominable luck” he has appointed people without checking them carefully for all the wrong reasons – Duffy et al were his appointments after all. Porter, Carson, Penashue, Oda etc. That’s not abominable luck that is a pattern of incompetence. Ministerial responsibility means he is culpable.

            As for people being happy, people were happy with internment camps during the last war, that didn’t mean they were right or decent or even legal. Residential schools were fine with the population but that didn’t mean that they weren’t abusive.

            Give yourself a shake.

          • The problem harebell is that no political party either provincially or federally has shown themselves to have a stellar reputation when it comes to ethics and therefore, most voters are given to choose between what is the best of a bad lot when it comes to elections. The reason the decision is so clear to you has everything to do with partisanship….that willingness to defend your own party while verbally annihilating another party for sins that amount to basically the same bad behavior. That is why you demand “hard evidence” of any bad behavior anyone suggests relating to your party and then get angry and offensive when someone asks you for any real proof….an email….anything that is real proof of your claims.

          • Please do not associate me with any party, for exactly the reason you give I have never been, nor will I ever be a member of a party. The party system is inherently undemocratic, unrepresentative of the voter and as a result is a criminal endeavour.
            When you have an organisation that stands between the voter and the exercise of power on their behalf you have corruption because the party’s first duty is to the party.

            The reason I am quite happy to go for Harper as hard as I do and his supporters is because when in opposition they vigorously went for corruption in the then government. Then when an election was called they promised to be completely different to those they opposed and increase government transparency and accountability. Not only have they failed to deliver on those promises but they have been much worse than those they attacked back then.
            In short it is the abject hypocrisy and dirtier deals that makes me go for this smug little mail-room clerk. He has lied and deceived from the word go, beginning with income trusts.

            I’ll take any proof against any party because they are all corrupt, but I’ll hammer against our hypocrite in chief until he is banished from government

      • So if you say both sides do it, are you saying it is okay for both? Wrong for both? Or only okay when your side does it?

        • Party Funds are not under ministerial responsibility.

          If Mulcair accuses thee CPC for having used the party fund to pay Duffy’s legal fees BEFORE they had the auditor’s report, then Mulcair should accuse himself of the same wrong doing.

          If the media thinks it was a BOMBshell when Duffy revealed party fund had been used for paying his legal fees, why then was it not a bombshell in the news when it came to light that Tom Mulcair had used his party fund!

          You see a pattern?

          • Yes I do; you’re as incoherent and as ultra-partisan as always.

        • Keith…you must realize that those in glass houses should not throw stones. If it is wrong for one it is wrong for both but it is hypocrisy for Mulclair to make accusations of wrong doing when he has done the same thing is it not?

          • Harper is right that parties often cover legal fees, etc. if the person is acting on behalf of the party and made a mistake (as opposed to deliberately breaking the law). It is a sign of support.

            The difference here is that the CPC paid the fees but are now saying Duffy was wrong. And they tried to keep those fees quiet. There’s a lot of blatent hypocrisy here – and clearly, a lot of lying. It’s not the payment itself; rather that it indicates Harper is being less than honest about what went down.

            At least, that’s how I see it. Others may have a different view (see FV).

          • “tried to keep those fees quiet.” Well….obviously the NDP didn’t announce that they paid Pat Martin’s legal fees either so it is kind of a matter of semantics. Do you make an announcement and if you don’t are you “trying to keep it quiet” when the media releases the information for you? I don’t think the NDP thought Pat Martin was right either in what he did in making defamatory statements but they still paid his legal fees. Mulclair took a chance in raising the issue of the legal fees because he probably knew he some of his own issues that could be thrown back at him. It is the game of politics in the HOC. Sit back and enjoy the ride.

          • Oh I’m enjoying the ride – it’s Francien who is blowing a gasket :-)

          • Good to hear, Keith!

      • And then stevie told mulclair that also he’s a p@@pyhead………

    • I don’t know… I was busy trying to find a media story about little Justine’s plan for a new NEP (carbon tax)… cause as we know, nothing helps the “middle class” more than a new tax on everything.

      • Nice try at a deflection but it missed the net and went over the glass

        • Nice attempt at metaphor, but ultimately, useless.

  4. “Surely by now Harper would have learned that idle repertorial hands don’t produce friendlier coverage.” This is like Lucy saying to Charlie Brown, “C’mon try and kick it, I *promise* I’ll give you friendlier coverage”

    • How’d you know if you never even tried it even once?

    • Except this Charlie Brown keeps a tight grip on the ball and tries mightily to hide it from Lucy. While trying to make up his own rules.

  5. So the last paragraph is an update to the account of the reporter breakfast in chapter 4 of The Longer I’m Prime Minister (available at finer bookstores everywhere)?

    • And libraries soon, i hope.

  6. Please somebody make a video Harper 2005/2006 vs Harper 2013 in House of Commons in a fictional Question Period… Or no, that would be very painfull, for all…

    • Yeah, and then have Paul Wells and Tom Mulcair edit it all! Can’t wait to see that video.

      • Very entertaining – in a sad way.

        • Yeah; I often liked what Opposition Harper had to say. They say power corrupts, and I tend to agree – but it isn’t usually as fast-acting as it was in Harper’s case.

  7. Harper has not been open or transparent about the actions of the PMO. “The fact that he hasn’t and the fact that he shows absolutely no regret
    for his actions—and the fact that he has told untruths about his
    actions—means he should be removed from the public payroll.” (Stephen Harper)

  8. Hey, I don’t like harper but I don’t let the propganda and hatered blind me. Harpers name wasn’t on the checks, he didn’t make the deposits, not one ounce of proof of culpable behavior….

    The reality is Duffy is a narcissistic self important idiot that thinks the world is wrong and he is justified him thieving from taxpayers. It sin’t uncommon for people like Duffy and other politicians with this type of personality to lash out, slander, vilify and everyone else’s fault but theirs.

    Fact is no mater what Harper did or did not do, Duffy (and others) needs to be FIRED. Just like you and I if we stole from our employers.

    But hey, Duffy and others show the utter arrogance, the corruption, the narcissistic self worshop of idiots in high places.

    • But his accounts of the matter have changed over time, which is very suspcious.

      And while I am willing to listen to plausible evidence to the contrary, by far the most likely scenario is that harper either knew of the cheque or had given strict instructions that if something like this came up, he absolutely not be told so that he could deny it.

      neither are acceptable for a Prime Minister.

      • Oh I will agree that every leader of every political party in every country tells their minions, “If you are ever in a situation when you do something illegal or unethical, I don’t want anything to do with and I don’t even want to know about it.” Face it, when Paul Martin admitted that the Liberals had done something horrible with Adscam, he sunk the hopes of his party and it still hasn’t recovered. After that, no leaders are asking anybody to confess their sins so that the leader can impale themselves on that sword.

    • “The reality is Duffy is a narcissistic self important idiot that thinks
      the world is wrong and he is justified him thieving from taxpayers. It
      sin’t uncommon for people like Duffy and other politicians with this
      type of personality to lash out, slander, vilify and everyone else’s
      fault but theirs.”

      …and it seems he was told it’s perfectly ok to be that way, until it wasn’t anymore. There, fixed gratis for you Dave.

      • Wait now….that doesn’t fit with Duffy’s claim that he was a well-meaning, kindly dupe who just wanted to follow the rules but was somehow mislead so egregiously that he thought he was following the rules until many years later when he learned to his horror that he wasn’t.

        • You don’t have to buy into the Duffy: i meant to do the right thing all along, but i guess i was just weak, theory to ask yourself questions about what the pmo was up to.

          • I have no idea what the PMO was up to but it would seem Mr. Wright made a back room deal with Mr. Duffy to their mutual pleasure and that this agreement saw Mr. Duffy $90K plumper in the pocket. Mr. Duffy did not announce the source of the money as from a friend or even unknown when he gave it to the senate auditors, suggesting he had an inkling he could not continue to be a senator after having accepted a gift of $90K. If Mr. Duffy were really being intimidated and bullied, wouldn’t it be more believable that he would also be the victim of financial extortion rather than the recipient of a large cash gift? Further if Duffy has some big bomb shell to drop, where is it? If it is the cheque to his lawyer, hasn’t Pat Martin’s case shown that parties do pay legal expenses. If there really is a big bombshell coming that could sink Harper so irrecoverably, why would Harper go for Duffy’s juggler? I guess we will just have to continue to watch this saga play out.

          • Yep, we wont know who the bigger liars are until it gets to court – if it ever does. It’s a pretty good bet no one is telling the whole story. Which is a good part of what is hurting the PM. If it is a just a case of mistakes were made – sh*t happens in every govt or pmo, all PMs sometimes sleep at the switch – then Harper has done an uncommonly good job of not promoting his innocence in the opinion of many.

    • Hey, I don’t like harper … but my posting history might not always back that up…

  9. A dead-eyed, soul-dead man.

    • So, Tom is your hero. Or is Duffy your hero. Or perhaps Justin when he collected a total of $277,000 in speaking fees while he skipped the House in session!

      • How is this in any way relevant… shill?

      • lol perhaps if you had a valid point Frenchie you MIGHT get a valid response.

  10. Why would Duffy have almost $14K in legal fees in the first place ?

    • Because an audit was going on about his false expenses, and he needed to defend himself.

      How much did the Liberal Party Fund pay Mac Harb to help him out on his audit legal advice! Oops! We are not allowed to talk about that.

      • If you have any hard evidence.. Present it otherwise stop deflecting

        • “Hard evidence?” Say what??? This entire thread is full of suppositions, predictions and circumstantial evidence. WHO has any hard evidence to present?

          • Deloitte, Duffy, Wright, the RCMP..
            All of these have evidence backed up by documentation to back up what they are claiming. The PM has nothing but his word..

          • Has one of them provided documentation proving that the PM knew about Wright’s cheque or counselled Duffy to lie?

          • You’re deflecting, I never mentioned Harper.

            I asked Francien if she any hard evidence for her question about the Liberal Party Fund paying for Harb’s legal advice.
            We do have evidence that the CPC Fund did pay Duffy’s legal advice for him.
            Or are you denying that?

          • Why would I deny anything? It isn’t like I was there or I am an avid fan like Francie. However, I wouldn’t be jumping down Francie’s throat for suggesting the Liberals paid for Harb’s expenses either because apparently the practice is common among all parties (ie: Pat Martin). Now there is no deflection, there is an honest question of why you need hard evidence against the Libs but you are willing to deal in suppositions and link the dots when it comes to the Cons.

          • I’m not dealing in suppositions when it comes to the Cons. They paid Duffy from Con Party funds and have admitted it. they also say Wright paid him too. That’s hard evidence.

            Please enlighten me to similar evidence that you have that the Libs did like wise with Harb.

          • Did I ever claim to have hard evidence of Harb’s legal bills getting paid by the Libs? No, I did not. When I said you were willing to make suppositions about the Cons, I meant in relation to Harper’s involvement and/or knowledge of the Wright-Duffy deal.
            Would I find it egregious if the Libs paid Harb’s bill? No. Apparently, it is standard party practice. I think it is a bit silly for one party that has the same practice to rail on another one about it in the case of Mr. Mulclair but I guess that is how the political game is played.

          • But it is not standard practice is it?
            Mulcair had his paid when he was an MP as a result of fall out from something he did as a Party MP and was found liable for. Duffy to this day insists he did nothing wrong and the audit puts his over claiming at around $1k I believe. But the optics were too much for the Tory hierarchy and they wanted to tidy up this mess. So they concocted this idea to reimburse the $90k to tidy the whole thing up. What this amounted to was paying a Senator money to tell a lie.
            If you can find an equivalence between the two cases, you are a better person than me because they are two completely different situations.

            Also you may not have made that claim, but Francien did at the top of the thread, so this thread was addressing that. It was on another thread that I stated my belief that it was impossible for anyone to believe that Harper was not involved in this.

      • Nigel Wright is the real disappointment here.
        I’m glad Harper fired his ass – he is nothing but a damned traitor to the people of Canada

      • “Oops! We are not allowed to talk about that.”
        No we no longer care about that, Harpo was right our memories are short.

        Justin in 2015

        • Put the bong down.

          • Ha ha thats funny you made a he he!
            Did your mom lay that retort out with your panties this morning?

            Stephen Harper is a lair and a megalomaniac ‘ruler’. You see thick old boy we Canucks live in a democracy and therefore deserve a ‘leader’


          • Congratulations… you have written the gayest reply evah”… good for you dummy. LOL!

          • Oh a little homophobic are we? Surprise surprise.

          • Not at all… I’m not afraid of queers in the slightest, even illiterate self righteous ones, like you.

          • Titilating my young angry Kanadian. Perhaps you should shave your head and live with men in the CF.

            Don’t forget to press your brownshirt before the convention.

          • You arouse so easily… however, I’m not interested in your homoerotic dreams of shave heads and living with men. Don’t forget to clean mummy’s keyboard before you go to bed.

      • Seeing as the majority of Senators caught up in the “Senate scandal” were Liberals, I wonder how much money the Liberal Party has used out of their Liberal Party Fund to pay off the media to stay quiet on that fact.

      • I’m Francien Verhoeven a paid Harper shill.

        Blah blah points finger, blah blah, its those people not my dear omnipotent ruler blah blah blah.

        Frenchie is the painting of dear leader in your office smiling or frowning?

  11. Its real simple, They tried to rehabilitate (then valuable) Wallin/Duffy and got caught.

    That’s all this is, and I don’t believe it is unusual for a PMO to do that. I’d expect any PMO would do that.

    The situation incremented day by day…and the PMO incremented its actions to match, apparently going so far as to actually cross a legal boundary. Dumba$$es.

    My worry isn’t this scandal, the authorities will sort that out in due time with real evidence – I still have good faith in that.

    But I do worry that this stupidity could result in the election of an incompetent left wing government that destroys Canada’s potential at a critical time in our history. That is truly scary, particularly since no-one, no media, nothing is putting any pressure on any politicians to actually talk about their specific direction for the future.

    IMO all party leaders, to have gotten to the positions they are in, have already compromised their morals, stepped upon their opponents and generally done all the ugly things that politics always involves…and so there really is a valid ‘so what?’ question when they get caught, given the IMO silly presumption that the ones accused are essentially any different to their fakely-altruistic opponents.

    • No.

      Likely, they found out they’d broken campaign finance laws, then cooked up a deal to hide it which then fell apart.

      • ?? What’s the link between Duff cover up and campaign finance law?

        • Look at the documents Pam tabled – might be some clues there?

        • At least a portion of Duffy’s expenses are for dates during the 2011 election when he was campaigning for the CPC. That raises the possibility they were not only claimed on non-senate business, but were not properly claimed as election expenditures OR were partially reimbursed TWICE when they filed their rebate papers.

          It hasn’t been in the news lately but it was a thing a few months ago.

          • Gotcha…again if true I expect RCMP will find that (in Duff’s/Wallin’s cases).

            Will AG’s current scope and actions find such things for all Senators, and if not who would?

          • It is speculation but can anyone offer something that would explain why the CPC would pay the money back and have Duff take the responsibility for it.

          • YOu have to admit already, though, it explains the focus on duffy’s expenses, it fits, and it’s a reason CPC supporters would start saying “Really Pamela Wallin is the one we should be mad at…”

          • How is the RCMP going to find out anything if they keep making polite requests for documents instead of seeking a warrant to seize them from the PMO? If it was any other office they would have long ago seized every scrap of information from old yearbooks to digital conversations and carted it all off to sift through in order to find whether there was a conspiracy, and who participated.

            It’s a scandal that the RCMP has dicked around for several months letting this fester instead of using their powers of investigation on our behalf.

          • I don’t see any evidence that the RCMP is doing anything less than a full investigation.

            If the RCMP is repressing it, then that is a far far bigger problem than anything else here.

            I personally think you are simply innuendo/fear-mongering.

          • So all Canadians can now expect polite requests for documents when they are under investigation? No need for warrants?

          • You don’t know what the Police are and are not doing, so you are making conclusions from ignorance.

          • yeah the RCMP is in Harper’s pocket. That is the only explanation of why they would give Harper’s document shredders the heads up that an investigation might someday come looking for said documents. Stolen election through robofraud, and an illegitimate government. These crooks should be in jail, and all legislation fraudulently passed by an illegal government should be repealed!

        • What if Duff used Senate $ to campaign for the CPC. The CPC then pays the money back. Duff says it was his mistake and all is good.

    • Based on that logic or moral calculus we ought never to bother changing govts again, it’s far too risky and pointless. Jus make Harper and company do seven hail Mary’s, 50 push ups and promise never to be so silly as to get caught again.

      • I’ve become cynical. Should likely just keep it to myself I guess.

        If the suspicions survive deepest scrutiny they surely will get kicked from office. You only need believed innuendo for that, proof is far from necessary.

        But it won’t help to elect one gov’t for the sole reason of deposing another at the total ignorance of policy direction, and that’s the attitude I see most in here.

        Maybe it gets better closer to 2015, but I doubt it. And we’ll have a big spending gov’t in any case, so maybe I shouldn’t even care anymore?

        • If you think Canadians who want Harper gone are blind to policy, you are a good deal worse than cynical…

          • That’s just it though…blind or not there’s zero policy to see nor pressure to produce same.

          • …as compared to throne speech? Lets look at what is happening in Calgary. See today’s CPC supporting Calgary Harold for more information. (there is a new man in town)

          • I want mai cheap tee vee he done promised!

          • Yes. That’s because it’s 2013 in a majority government.
            If you’ve got the same complaint half way through 2015, you’ll then have a valid complaint.

        • Fair enough, if you’re a true Conservative there wont likely be much for you to like in either a new LPC or NDP govt. If guys like you stay home on E day Harper will have effectively shot himself in the head.
          Either way we can’t look the other way on this anymore then we could on adscam, even if the scale is way off.

          • I decided to stay home on E day about 10 months ago. Not because of scandals, but instead because of spending.

          • You could have destroyed your ballot. That voices displeasure more than staying home.

          • For someone who’s supposedly cynical, that’s simply a lazy decision.

            Our electoral system is predicated on the idea that parties will attempt to move their policies to get as many people as possible to vote for them.

            If you don’t vote, you don’t count.

            So go out and vote. Vote for a party that has policies that match your views. Whether that’s a no-hoper party with no chance of winning or even an independent. Because one thing you can be sure of, after the election, the losing parties are going to be looking at where they can pick up more votes.

            Staying at home tells them nothing. You might be perfectly satisfied with how things are. You might be an anarchist that thinks the entire system should be dissolved. They don’t know, and so they can’t adjust their policies to meet what you want.

            Go and vote, and they can look at candidates and parties that they might be able to steal policies — and hence voters — from.

            I mean, getting involved directly in the party is always better, because then you can make your specific views heard, but if you don’t have the time or inclination to do that, then at least vote. If you want there to ever be a party that holds the same views you do, it’s the absolute least you can do.

          • I won’t stay home, will destroy ballot, at least then my voice is recorded. No Party matches what I want, I am too far right economically I guess.

            Harper was my big majority hope, he just spent even more.

          • Do appreciate your honesty, Peter. I find it difficult to understand why some seemingly intelligent people have supported Harper, for I’ve considered him entirely untrustworthy almost from the first time I was exposed to the man. The fallacy of clear distinctions between “left” and “right”, “liberal” and “conservative” no doubt cloud the vision of some of us, and I’m of the opinion that if we do not acknowledge that our current system of party politics and governance does not adequately serve the interests of this nation and its citizens, and do not actively work to change this, we are ourselves a part of the larger problem.

          • Gail, two things…

            1) I supported Harper because I saw him as the only hope, frustrated by the lack of a majority gov’t, to begin the tough journey of massive government taxation and spending reductions. He said all the right things. He even did some of them…GST cut to ‘starve the beast’ was IMO a good (if sneaky) tactic. So was the cap on health-related xfer payments. TFSA was absolutely brilliant, a gigantically good step in the right direction. The good things continue to this day, with Euro agreement…I love it. BUT his spending. His massive increase in gov’t size. With a majority!

            2) Been watching politics since ’60’s. I expect sneaky behavior from politicians, and while distasteful they are of secondary concern to me to results. In fact, a benevolent, focussed and street-wise PM is probably the most effective possible. I can see why many don’t think Harper meets all three of those criteria.

            What’s coming scares the crap outta me. Harper didn’t scare the crap outta me. But I can’t vote for a PM who hasn’t delivered on spending.

          • Secondly, your question of how the system of governance must change/what it should look like has been on my mind for quite a while now – we can so far agree that this is the right question.

            What I don’t want is the new thing to result in a system of governance where the peanut-butter-smeared consensus of lowest common denominator policy turns our government into an indecisive, ineffective and un-visioned loser.

            Pardon my strong words, but they reflect a strong opinion.

          • We might hope that question is on the minds of many, Peter. I don’t believe any of us has THE answer, but many have constructive suggestions with potential for improvements, if not the ever elusive perfect resolve. My own cynicism is revealed in the perspective that ‘indecisive, ineffective and un-visioned’ is effectively what we have now (and have had for some time), not just in the current majority government but also across the political spectrum. Electoral reforms, including constraints on donations (e.g., individual only) and campaign parameters seem a logical place (though not an exclusive place) to start re-visioning the systems, but that’s merely my opinion. :-)

          • The comparison is preposterously ignorant and dishonest… Adscam was the theft of countless millions of taxpayer money by the Liberals to fund their own campaigns laundered through various organized crime figures… Stolen money that still hasn’t been payed back… Duffygate” is a hysterical over the top “progressive” media led circus of the absurd over Senate expenses that the Conservatives paid back, a “scandal” in which the majority of Senators caught up in it are Liberals… Liberals who like during adscam refuse to pay the taxpayer back.

          • So ethics are situational and carry a price tag for you do they?
            It’s simple – they’re both wrong despite your exaggerations in regards to adscam. The Gomery inquiry order the return of what? 1 mil or 2, i forget. Paid back too.

          • Nice try Liberal… try 41 million, although most likely much more than that… and NO the Liberals still haven’t paid it back.

          • You slept through Gomery, specially the bit at the end, didn’t you?

          • You wish that was the case. just consider yourself and fellow Liberals lucky that adscam was never subject to a criminal investigation by the RCMP, as I’m afraid a lot of your heros would be in jail! Quit while you’re behind.

          • There were criminal investigations. Quit before you fall further behind.

        • Harper’s is the biggest spending government EVER so fearmongering about the “left” sounds pretty silly.

          • Thats exactly what I said in my last sentence.

          • This is what is completely irritating about you people. That is exactly what the guy said yet you can’t help but try to misread his comments.

        • Most changes in government come not because people have such high expectations of the winner as they were finally fed up with the ones they gave the boot. The change is almost always a vote against. If the new government proves to be reasonably competent they usually get to stay come next election.

          • Certainly Keith however not enough people might believe as you do that: 1) this government has not been reasonably competent….The economy is fairly good and better the devil you know.
            2) the scandals are sufficient to vote against them…many people don’t care about the senate scandal except that they want the thieves out and Harper is showing himself as trying to facilitate that.

          • You mean, now that the PMO’s facilitating the misappropriation of funds has had to come to an end?
            The CPC has been – at best – amoral from day one. They have no respect for the precepts or the institutions of democracy, and do everything they can to bend and subvert the processes. They mishandle (missing: $3.1 billion) and misappropriate (Muskoka gazebos) funds. They reward crooked partisans with Senate seats (yeah, yeah – so did their predecessors; but Harper was quite explicit about NOT doing so when running for office).. the list goes on and on.
            We would likely disagree over whether many of the things they have accomplished are good for the country. The ones we likely would agree on, I’m guessing just about any party would have achieved.
            So while there is still a significant minority of the population that likes what they see, I wager there are probably no longer enough to garner another majority. Not sure why it has taken so long for the shift, but I’m grateful it finally has – and I hope the momentum continues to grow.

          • Keith, you don’t have to convince me of your feelings. It is not a question of what you want to happen but rather what will happen. You see the 3.1 billion “mishandling of funds” as a Conservative issue. Others choose to note that the Liberals were in power for some of that mishandling. Many will not see the distinction between dirty Liberal and Conservative senators as you do because you hate Harper and are angered by his broken promise to do better. Harper broke promises and so did Chretien as has every politician including all the premiers. People have become jaded by all the scandals of politics both federally and provincially. It seems most are numb to it unless it involves the theft of money and then they want the thieves dealt with quickly and decisively. I have seen the evidence of this in my own province. Why else would people continue to vote for a government besieged by by all kinds of media reports of bad behavior. Apathy is rampant. As for a “shift” taking place, how can you tell. The polls seem to say different things. Not to mention they are very unreliable when it comes to actually predicting the outcome of an election as proven in many recent cases.

    • “But I do worry that this stupidity could result in the election of an incompetent left wing government that destroys Canada’s potential at a critical time in our history.”

      Funny I worry about the incompetent right wing government currently in power that is destroying “Canada’s potential at a critical time in our history.”

      • Governments are like diapers. And they should be changed regularly and for the same reason.

        As for an incompetent government… that would mean a government unable to govern because of a complete lack of understanding of how to govern. Which is exactly what we have.

        The reality is that past governments used to let the public servants advise them and used science, research and facts to make their decisions. This government uses ideology and mythology to guide its decisions. and has replaced all the senior staff with their own incompetent partisan lackeys.

        I’d much rather have some wet behind the ears MPs who at least are willing to make decisions based on facts and listen to the advice of senior public servants than this current lot. To be honest, at this rate I’d be happy if the local scout troop took over.

      • I look forward to Justin’s mistakes.

        Justin in 2015

    • Peter, project much? Just because your Dear Leader lied and back-stabbed his way to the top, there is no reason to assume Trudeau and Mulcair did the same. At present, I’m satisfied that the only projection for the future doesn’t include a CRAP government. We’ll be a generation fixing the domestic and international damage this gang of incompetent ideologues has inflicted on the country. Tell you what, you go and have another glass of Kool-Aid, and I’ll pass the popcorn.

      • Riiiight Just for fun, name one piece of ‘major damage’ done by Harper with evidence the damage is actually there and major.

        You’re just a partisan hack – like so many others in here. NOTHING I have said in this thread in any way supports Harper in even the slightest way, (nor slight Trudeau/Mulcair in the slightest way) yet you respond with knee-jerk partisan stupidity and ‘Dear Leader” , “CRAP” insults.

        Project Much Selena?

        • The issue with Selena and so many of her ilk is that they just want to talk to people who think like themselves. They mistaken what they would like to see come true for what in fact will likely come true. Rather than solicit people’s votes for their parties by being friendly and persuasive, they are rude and condescending. Do they not understand that if they don’t attract voters and in this case those voters are people who voted Conservative last time, their party is not going to run the government? As someone on here said, you can’t make changes if you don’t win.

    • Here’s the difference.
      The ones that get caught aren’t even smart enough to avoid getting caught.

  12. Coyne was wondering last night if the new strategy, to not just throw Wright under the bus, but to actually back up over him as many times as possible, was a signal that Wright might well come out agin the party at some point; so they’re gonna make good and sure he’s really really dead. Aha i thought, one of Andy’s better ones. After reading this i’m not so sure it’s that. How could Wright possibly look any worse by coming forward and contradicting the PM? He’d be hurting the larger Conservative cause for one thing, and unlike the senators he isn’t, apparently, venal or particularly self serving or desperate.

    OTOH Coyne might know something about human nature Harper clearly doesn’t. Even the most dubious of characters have a point at which their pride overrides any mere abstract or political considerations. No one like having the finger put on them, no one likes being publicly burned. There will be other leaders, other CPC governments. Perhaps not as Conservative as Mr W would like to see, but Mr H is surely putting that nasty little worm of doubt into Nigel’s mind about now.
    In this sense Harper simply never learns.

    • “He’d be hurting the larger Conservative cause”

      Would he?

      I think Harper is the one doing that now.

      If Wright were to come out & tell his story, truthfully, that might in fact be something that helps the Conservative cause, though perhaps not in the short term.

      He would however be definitely hurting the Stephen Harper cause; but that should not be conflated with the Conservative cause.

        • True, but if you consider Kenney as a front runner to replace him, that’s probably even more conservative

          • Possible i suppose. I haven’t really been following his story. Seems to be making sure none of this sticks to him.
            I’ve always thought of him as the born 2nd lieutenant, like all the other political eunuchs Harper non doubt intentionally surrounds himself with. Do you see him having national appeal? Maybe i under estimate him?
            If it is anyone it’s likely him. If they’re wise and they want to win again they’ll pick a guy like Prentice, maybe even Wall. But if i were a con i wouldn’t take advise from a liberal either.

    • You mean Liberal voter Coyne. Then it must be true… LOL!

      • So journalist who have the guts to publicly give their reasons for voting are automatically too biased to have an opinion? What an interesting little world you must inhabit.

        • LOL!! It doesn’t take any “guts” to have a paid opinion, even an obviously biased one. However, it does take a certain amount of obtuseness and self importance to believe that said bias opinion is of any relevance when delivered by such an obvious shill. What an interesting Liberal world you inhabit… don’t you people ever get tired of drinking each others bath water, or is it bath salts.

          • I hear you lord! Only a self appointed diety could be so sure he knows the biases and values, not to say motives of another human being.
            Got any evidence Coyne is a liberal shill, beyond the fact he doesn’t reflexively bow the knee to your partisan little god?

          • Coyne’s favourite “God” is the same as you, Pierre Trudeau… if that doesn’t tell you something then clearly there is no hope for you… Coyne actively campaigned for the Liberals in the last election by giving them his endorsement. Not that it helped or anything, I mean who the heck listens to lefty “progressive” media shills other than other “progressive” shills. Maybe you can ask Coynes cousin and failed Liberal leadership candidate Deborah Coyne if her cousin Andrew is a Liberal shill, for anyone else the answer is obvious.

          • zzzzzzzzzzzzz Wake me up when you’re done.

          • Sorry I hurt your feelings.

          • We both know you’re not.

          • We both know you’re probably right.

    • Oh for gawd sake…..what a load of malarkey! “How could Wright possibly look any worse…” Wake up and smell the coffee! The guy is a hero among many taxpayers who are grateful he saved them $90K or more. If the Ipso Reid poll is right and the Conservatives are neck and neck with the Libs, very few average Canadians care about this so-called scandal. Nigel Wright’s future career in business will not be hurt by this apparent self-less act of giving the ungrateful Mr. Duffy $90K to get himself out of hawk in the senate. Meanwhile he is doing his penance as a whipping boy for the Conservatives and garnering pity from all of his buddies for it. Do you really think he is getting hate mail and death threats? Not likely! He didn’t steal our money. Rather, he paid back what Duffy apparently mistakenly took.

      • Other polls have the CPC pushing third place, bit selective aren’t we?
        Selfless giving my ass! Boy you actually swallowed that bunf? If you bother to read all of Paul’s quotes and links i think you’ll find Wright looks very bad indeed. Which is what i was referring to.
        Jason Kenney seems not to shares your view, but not in quite the way you’d like i’d guess.

        • “bit selective”….gee was I? It was the lead story in yesterday’s Globe and Mail…how selective is that??? What hole in the wall websites were the other polls from?
          Kindly spell Wright’s name correctly or it isn’t easy to discern in your comment (English language issue). I didn’t say whether Wright looked guilty or not…I said PEOPLE DON’T CARE! This senate scandal is of no consequence to most taxpayers because it cost them no money and you didn’t answer me…do you think Mr. Wright is getting death threats? Hmm…I thought not.

          • Yes there are others, although i’m sure we both agree that polls are a dime a dozen right now. I couldn’t track it down on macleans[probably on AW’s blog] but this is interesting – not my usual go to for all the news that’s fit to wipe my arse with, but it will do.
            People do care you will note. People who vote Tory.

            Kindly what? I’ll do what i please on my comments thanks. Nothing wrong with Mr W or H for that matter.
            As for death threats, what’s the point of the question? Do the Tory base usually send out death threats when they’re ticked off?
            edit: ok found the typo now. Getting a bit snippy aren’t we?

          • Hahaha! You berate me for a G&M poll and back it up with one from the Sun! You actually read the Sun so you could be correct on this issue. WOW!
            Of course you can “do what you please” on your comments but it is hard to understand what you are saying if you write the man’s name as ‘right’ with no capitalization, etc. It might be witty but it isn’t easy to discern that you are referring to a person. Otherwise you can call him anything you want and if I came off as snippy, I did not intend to.
            Hey many unhappy types send out death threats and nasty stuff regardless of the political party they belong to. There are zealots everywhere.

          • Not berate, but I shouldn’t have said selective. My bad.

            The poll was ekos I believe, not the suns. I don’t make it a habit of reading them – it depresses me, especially the comments.

  13. My Devil’s advocate argument:

    Duffy took a pay cut (so he claims) when resigning from CTV to become a Senator. Based upon discussions with McCreedy and the memo, he was led to believe the PEI resident claims were legit. So, he agreed to take the position, the questionable expenses he deemed to be part of his compensation package bringing him closer to his CTV stipend.

    OK, lawyers. Have a go at it.

    • The quote from McCreery does not mention being able to claim the questionable housing expenses. It merely says that Duffy can sit as a senator from PEI without actually living there. With a leap one might infer the housing expenses, but it would take a leap IMO.

      Having said that, it does seem that Duffy was told by the powers-that-be that he was OK to claim the expenses. And in the absence of specific rules to the contrary, perhaps he has a (legal) case?

      • Thx. Intent figures in there also, no, when raising it from improperly claiming expenses (either through ignorance or bad advice), to fraud?

        • Yes, there’s a big difference between the wilful commission of fraud vs falling victim to non-wilful ignorance and/or bad-advice.

          • To parse it strictly, I think you can only claim reliance on advice for fairly trivial crimes and the person telling you its OK has to be someone in actual authority (my supervisor said it was okey-dokey doesn’t usually cut it).

            As for how it looks, if its a part of your job to know whether you can expense taxpayer $, I realize one could make a mistake but it beehoves someone to inform themselves of the rules and even if the rules are unclear to err on the side of caution.

          • I will now borrow your Devil’s Advocate hat: The rules were either unclear or non-existent, so Duffy did what any reasonable person would do and asked several people, *who should know*, if it was OK to claim the housing expenses. They told him it was OK and at least one said that there were several other Senators who were in the same boat (aside: who are these other Senators?). Now, if the above is actually what happened, could a reasonable person not conclude that it was OK to claim the housing expenses? Is there anyone else he should have asked? If not, then Duffy was given definitive answers from the people that mattered, and they said he was good to go. As such (again, assuming the above is what actually happened), there would be no need to err on the side of caution – he did everything he could to get an answer, and everything pointed to it being OK.

          • Which really calls into question the fairness of the process from start to finish ( time for an inquiry I think )

          • No argument from me.

          • Surely he could ask for a ruling from the actual body that reimburses the expense (public treasury? I admit I am not certain what body it would be).

          • If there is indeed such a body, and its role includes making these kinds of rulings (as opposed to just cutting cheques), then yes he probably should have done that.

            My impression is that the Senate itself is the body that makes up the rules and does the self-policing. So, I would be interested in knowing whether there is some higher authority.

          • It wouldn’t even have to be higher, just the body that pays out legitimate expenses.

    • My feeling is that he felt he needed to maintain a residence on PEI to be a PEI senator, and once that residence was established, then why wouldn’t he be compensated for the need to maintain a second residence in Ottawa? Does it really matter that the Ottawa residence existed prior to the PEI residence?

      In my opinion, of the four senators that included Harb, Wallin, Duffy and Brazeau, Duffy has the most legitimate expenses, yet is taking all of the heat.

      • Does he really need to maintain a residence or only own property in PEI? To be a Senator for a province one must own property in that province (antiquated rule that it is). *But* does the Senator also have to reside in that province?

        • Well, certainly I would expect a senator is expected to spend time in that province. So he might choose to expense the hotels or to expense a home, and if the time exceeds a few weeks the home may be cheaper than the hotels. Combine that with the property rules and it seems legitimate to me.

          Now, on the other hand, it’s quite reasonable to question the rules. But if Duffy is following the rules that exist, then I don’t see the need to target Duffy specifically.
          To me, Wallin’s expenses are for more grievous. Yet for some reason, Duffy gets all the heat.

          • I think Duffy gets all the heat because of all the controversy surrounding the repayment. Wallin repaid all her questionable expenses (unless I’m mistaken) and didn’t involve any questionable deals with the PMO to do so. Duffy and Wallin’s situations seem very different, and Duffy IMO deserves all the heat that he’s getting.

          • And he got the special treatment because the Duffy expenses were also likely illegal campaign expenses from the 2011 election.

          • That explains the cheque to the Senate from CPC funds. Is that reported to elections Canada?

          • That’s looking at it backwards. Duffy was repaid because his expenses were less questionable.

            I also don’t care a whit that Wallin paid back the money herself, that doesn’t make it OK. That just means she got caught. To me the real issue is whether the expenses were questionable or not.

          • I would have had no problem with him expensing trips home to PEI, and a residence in Ottawa, if the fiction of his PEI residency were based on some sort of reality. Alternate universe Mike Duffy, who wasn’t a 40+ year Ottawa resident and didn’t campaign for the CPC on the Senate dime, is ok in my books.

      • Yes. It matters because it goes to the legitimacy of his appointment.

        Duffy should be fired not because of the housing expense claims, which at this point it seems he may have acted reasonably toward, but because he never should have been appointed as a member from PEI in the first place.

        Add oddly, paying back the housing expenses actually confirms that. He would have personally been in a better position if he hadn’t, which is probably why he wanted a bunch of legal assurances around the payout

      • Duffy’s problem is that he accepted a gift of $90K which is against the rules and on its own merit should get him suspended.

    • That might take care of the housing expenses. Now who told him that he could make travel expense claims to the campaigns he visited AND the Senate?

  14. I’m at a loss to think why Harper thought he needed to appoint what many already suspected were out and out tory bagmen or shills[ and gals] in the first place. Sure Well’s has already pointed out he felt he needed to react at the time of the Dion abortive coup[ Harper’s pov. And doesn’t that say much about his mindset at the time? He thought he was going to lose] but for a guy with principled view on the senate, that’s like saying a confirmed vegan should be excused for eating his mum because he was worried the super markets might not carry his favourite tofu anymore or for a good while at least.
    It seems to be another character trait of the PM to overplay his hand or over egg the pud. His party was streets ahead of the other parties in fundraising, no need to call in the bag people really, and he was in a position to nix the party subsidy.

    Winning by a length or two is never enough with this guy. If he can get away with it he will try and make sure his nag is the only one to get a head start, or afford a good saddle. Anything to lengthen the odds to very long shot for the other donkeys in the race.
    Harper should have been a bookie, not a politician.

  15. Forget Duffy the scorned idiot, just abolish the entire utterly useless senate at once.

    • The Irish government tried that – wasted taxes in the process only to find out earlier this month that the citizenry were not so easily swayed. ( The media consider this a major blow – the opposition are elated )

    • What does that have to do with our lying Prime Minister who is responsible for all this? Without a senate, the PM just has more power to act like a dictator. No, we need to empower the senate to be independent of the other house, so it can do its job. We need senators to be elected so they WILL do their job. What we don’t need is Harper blaming anyone else for the corruption that he created.

    • I’d rather remember Duffy and also abolish the Senate.

    • You get rid of the senate and you get rid of the last bastion of hope and reason against any PM who may decide to sell the country to the highest bidder or decide he/she is the president of Canada. What does need to happen is for us to vote for senators. No more appointments.

  16. To me, Wallin’s expenses were worse. Yet Duffy gets all the heat.

    I think this is because most journalists have more respect for Wallin. So when they write an article, they target Duffy.

    Wright would never have reimbursed Wallin. Why? Because there is literally no reasonable excuse for her questionable expenses.

    • Did you look at the documents Senator Wallin tabled ? Or listen to Senator Hugh Segal ?
      This is no black and white issue.

    • Imagine Duffy, Wallin, Brazeau all getting off free after a court deems the rules too ambiguous to enforce and the intent impossible to prove – yet a majority gov’t falls.

      • Why should senators lose their jobs if the workplace rules are ambiguous?

      • Majority governments don’t fall, by virtue of being majority. Governments don’t vote themselves out. Now, of course, it’s possible that this has an effect on the next election.

  17. Do you mean rut or rot Mr Wells? ( headline typo perhaps ? )

    • Ruh-roh!

    • Pun, I’m thinking.

  18. Another opinion I found intriguing was senator Bakers,[ i think Wallin may have made the same point] who wondered if the whole purpose of culling the 3 was to ensure nothing came to trial. IOWs , as cynical as it seems , an intentional choice to ensure any legal case against these 3 ultimately failed, or was thrown out, thus ensuring no member of the pmo and especially the big guy ever saw the inside of a court room. What better way to kick them out of the senate, score brownie points with the base and make sure it forever remains a he said she said dialogue of the venally impaired?

  19. The good Republican cloth coat is in tatters. Calandra has already played the desperate “patriotism” gambit (and failed). What next? Checkers? And “I am not a crook!”?

  20. Stephen Harper’s priority has always been, in my opinion, to attain power, remain in power by whatever means possible, whether manipulation, deceit, betrayal or prevarication.

  21. I’m waiting for the tell all memoirs, which are sure to be written as revenge and as a means to make money once they’re unemployed. Among other things, I’d like to see them fess up to speaking complete partisan talking points nonsense that they knew was such and that insults the intelligence of anyone paying attention (e.g., Wallin claiming Gilles Duceppe could be Defence Minister). Utterly shameless. That would be the only way they’d go some way to redeeming themselves in my mind.

  22. My understanding is that Christopher McCreery is one of Canada’s foremost experts on matters related to the Canadian Honours system. His work experience, education, and authorship of several books on related matters should make that clear.

    The quote you take from his memo to the new senators explains how they qualify to sit as a senator from a particular province, not that they qualify to claim housing allowances, as you suggest.

    To then insinuate that his appointment to a panel advising Harper on the choice of the next Governor General is anything more than an obvious choice because of Dr. McCreery’s incredible qualifications for such a task, is also inappropriate.

    The Prime Minister, several members of his senior staff, several senators, and others, are involved in a large scheme that is now being uncovered. Please be careful not to drag respected names like Christopher McCreery’s into this muck.

      • I’m willing to consider that I’m being naive, but your quote from his memo clearly says “…then they are allowed to sit as a senator from that province,” which says nothing about those wacky housing allowance rules.

        So where am I wrong?

        Is McCreery a Conservative flack? Is sitting on that panel way over his head?

        I met him once at the Lieutenant Governor’s Home in Nova Scotia and he seemed pretty straight up and qualified to me.

        • Well, if you met him and he acted fine, then he must be fine.

          Regardless, you are presenting a false choice. He may very well be qualified for the job, yet at the same time received the job due to favourable interactions with Conservatives, and in fact some would call this networking and nothing untoward.

          • Obviously I’m not saying my one meeting is proof that Dr. McCreery is neutral, but I think it’s fair to ask for more evidence from Mr. Wells, don’t you? I’m asking for more evidence, not saying that such evidence doesn’t exist.

            The memo Mr. Wells quotes doesn’t refer to the housing allowance and he offers no link between the memo and the appointment. That’s not enough to tarnish a reputation, IMO.

          • Nobody has tarnished a reputation.

      • “Muffin”…? Isn’t that your pet name for Justine? Or perhaps Scott Brison.

  23. Paul Wells stands on his soapbox once again to deliver a premeditated eulogy on PM Harper! Let us now all bow our heads and pray to the Lord! “What a fine man the media has put to rest!”

    Here is the rest of Paul Well’s eulogy, the one he’d rather keep out of sight until his act to do the PM in, has been completed. It is, after all, less important to understand what comes first; the $13,000 cheque or the $90,000 cheque.

    When Harper managed to become Prime Minister of Canada, the media elites were aghast! How could such a man from such humble beginnings, largely unknown to most Canadians, become the PM of Canada! Simply unheard of! Simply untoward! How could a man from the hinterlands come to stand on top of the Canadian political landscape?

    But above all, how could a man like Harper manage to have defeated not one, not two, but three Liberal leaders within a time span of merely 8 years! THAT was unheard of. THAT was so un-Canadian!

    And yet, Harper managed to do just that! Oh, how evil the man was! Oh, how mean the man was! Oh, how duped we must have felt. Just ask Paul Martin, Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff! And no doubt, that one particular weekend, when the CPC held its convention in Calgary, even Joe Clark was be able to express his pain! Joe Clark, who to the Liberal’s delight lasted a whole 9 months as PM!

    And so, dear readers gathered here today: this could not continue! There was no way that the media elites would stand for having yet another Liberal leader be defeated in the election polls for a fourth time! Such would not be tolerated. Such would not be permitted. And so, we kept up the pressure, and we created as many fake scandals as we could. We even went so far as to want an investigation as to what the difference is between accepting a resignation or being dismissed. And so the scandals continued.

    Until suddenly the scandal stopped and we had thought Harper, as PM, was laid to rest!

    Footnote: Harper isn’t mean. Harper isn’t a control freak. Harper simply understands the role the media is trying to play. But Harper knows full well, that if Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau cannot win over Canadians by what those two leaders and parties stand for, then the media certainly cannot do it for them! Harper can rest assured; he ain’t defeated yet. Not by other party leaders and not by the media.

    Harper is a smart man. That is what most members of the media don’t want to acknowledge. And that’s fine with me!

    • I’ve always gotten the impression from Wells’s writings that Harper is not mean, nor a control freak, nor an idiot, and that people who underestimate him do so at their peril; and that this tempest in a teapot will likely not be the end of him, either.

      EDIT/UPDATE: And we’ll see a barnburner of a speech in Calgary, and a good positioning for 2015 on economics issues.

      • The constant nagging at the media for their leftist spin is pretty darn hilarious at times.

        • Oh, I agree with the general critique: the Parliamentary Press Gallery tends to be a Liberal-leaning hacktrap, as does much of the bureaucracy. The “Media Party” is a real thing.

          But as a longtime reader of Paul Wells’s work, I’m pretty darned sure that his stuff isn’t that.

        • I think you meant to say… “The constant nagging at the leftist media for their leftist spin is pretty darn hilarious at times”… there, fixed it for you.

    • Poor ole Francien her man is struggling to maintain his posture in the face of his many lies being revealed and instead of stopping digging he has hired a back hoe. It is truly sad to see someone so heavily invested in an idol that they cannot separate their own future from that of a player who has so obviously screwed up.
      Poor, poor Francien, such a sad sight to behold.

    • Harper is a lying megalomaniac ruler, Canadians deserve a leader.

      Justin in 2015

      • Ok, dole out a verdict before a conviction.

        YOU, who supposedly likes to promote the assumption of innocence before proven guilty!

        • Isn’t that what the Conservative Senate is trying to do with Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau? What about their due process?
          Now you’ll probably do your typical mud sling and tell me that I’m supporting cheating Senators, because that is the general nature of your specious arguments, but you can’t have it both ways, can you?
          What of Harper having appointed these cheating Senators?
          What about Harper’s hiring of that duplicitous double dealing Nigel Wright?
          When will you denounce Wright, a man whose secret deal covered up Duffy’s tracks and allowed him to continue collecting his ill gotten gains?
          What about Dean Del Mastro? Should his salary and medical benefits be cut off before his court ruling?

          I won’t hold my breath waiting for honest answers because you seem incapable of balanced reason. Your arguments suit whatever soapbox you are standing on and your ethics twist like pinwheels at a fall fair

        • So tell me Frenchie if Blob Ford is convicted can the Harperor still ‘hand pick’ him for the Senate?

        • PRESUMPTION of innocence, you illiterate idiot.

    • Pssst! Go do some research FV. Most media Op-Ed types backed Harper as the best choice last election, despite the way he treated them (and through them, us).

      The Media Is Out To Get Us nonsense doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny. Yes, they report on what the government does (or fails to do) – that’s their job. Deal with it.

    • Fran, have you ever considered trying medicinal crack? I think you could really benefit from this therapy.

  24. What a waste! Why is the HOC precious time spent on this issue? Why is the future direction of our Canada being robbed by the past mistakes of three Senators? He said she said Who cares? The Senators issue does not deserve HOC time. Canadians deserve better wages and a piece of prosperity pie now and in the future. We must move forward in Parliament to end the inequality that’s the real story!

  25. “Friendlier coverage”? Since when did the left leaning Ottawa press corp ever give Cons friendly coverage? LOL

    • Well, most backed him as best choice for PM last time we went to the polls…

  26. The original sin is using Senate appointments as a partisan election tool. That isn’t new; it has practically been the raison d’etre for the Senate under previous Liberal and Progressive Conservative governments. The problem for Stephen Harper is that he rode into government promising to be the ethics and accountability sheriff of Ottawa, but not only did he fail to clean up the corruption he had so disparaged, he took it to a previously inconceivable new low.

    • Well thats certainly the leftist spin… however, PM Harper has tried to reform the Senate without much help from the Provinces or the little boy that “leads” the Trudeau Party who doesn’t want any reform and who doesn’t have to answer for the 10 Liberal Senators also caught up in this so called “Senate scandal”.

      • I don’t see competent governance as left or right. PM Harper has taken almost 8 years in office to make this feeble Supreme Court referral. There have been successive Ministers of Democratic Reform who proposed exactly nothing. You make it sound like he’s been staying up late working on this, when all he has ever done is wonder aloud as if he as still in Opposition. Which leads me to ask, do you think your guys are ever going to figure out they are the Government and do government stuff, like propose legislation?

  27. The question I have is, what is really at the root of this fiasco? This is a scandal that has grown itself by positive feedback… I’m not clear on why the PMO felt it had to go to bat for Duffy in the first place. The whole business could have been taken care of by admitting Duffy was given the wrong impression of what he could expense, that this is a reflection of the “rules” of the Senate and a problem with its wider culture, and hey, we’re trying to fix it!

    It does look unbecoming of everyone involved at this point, with the lying, secrecy, and on Duffy’s part, greed. But how the heck did we get here?

    • How? “Progressive” media spin… and the Conservatives walked right into it.

  28. There was a crooked man, and
    he walked a crooked mile,

    He found a crooked sixpence
    against a crooked stile;

    He bought a crooked cat which
    caught a crooked mouse,

    And they all lived together in
    a little crooked house.

  29. “There is nothing quite so sad as a containment strategy that no longer works.”
    Great line. Perfectly describes the situation.

  30. Lets cut the crap. We live in a country where provincially and federally we have its most important of decisions made by not learned minds who have made their career about understanding the subject. But a bunch of Miss Teen pageant participants that keep moving up a food chain first to miss Canada, then miss universe to make pronouncements on subjects they couldn’t file their nails over. If we are being ruled by popularity contests. Get the Idol production group to at least make it good entertainment.

  31. Ontario has ORNG, windmills, billion dollar phantom gas plants, gov employees making six figures as a buy off for voting for the liberals… And virtually nothing in the media…Because whether Wright resigned or was fired is The Biggest Story In Canada

  32. I love that photo of Justine groupies, Paul Wells, and that HuffPo hack Raj. A picture speaks a thousand words, as they say. I wonder what the Liberal media’s plan for selling Justine’s new NEP carbon tax is, maybe next time Wells and Justine are blazin on a bong Justine could let Wells know the sales pitch. Good times.

    • Paul Wells is not a Liberal. Furthermore, when you use silly terms like “Justine” you lose credibility as a serious political analyst. Finally, Justin is more fiscally conservative than his father if you haven’t noticed, and will not be imposing any carbon tax or NEP. He was in Calgary this week actually, reaching out to the oil industry.

  33. That day cannot come soon enough.

  34. that is a chilling image of harper…he looks possessed!

  35. Regarding the integrity of the current caucus, the majority of people really don’t care! They are politicians and are doing what politicians are supposed to do (and have always done). The matter of potentially having stolen money from the public should make any person, politician or otherwise, subject to criminal justice. Regarding Senator Duffy’s plea as to who will pay for his medical needs, should he convicted of some felony, and go to jail, his heart medications would be paid for. In any case, I’m not a political scientist. This is merely my interpretation of the situation.

  36. Didn’t Harper say, in opposition that PM is responsible for actions by his PMO. What ever happened to that Harper? Has he morphed into the Liberal Harper he despises & vilifies all the time?

  37. Like Peter Mansbridge, Macleans, always is down on Harper. He never gets credit for all the good he has done. Thanks to him, our country has economic stability. How about telling Canadians that terrorist, Omar Khadr, who killed the American soldier, is suing
    Canadians for 10 million dollars. It’s already cost millions, Harper trying to stop him. We treat criminals, and terrorists better than our PM. I think Canada needs to get tough
    on these kind of people. Go back where you came from Omar!!!

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