Why Mike Duffy and the Senate are the least of our concerns - Macleans.ca

Why Mike Duffy and the Senate are the least of our concerns

Colby Cosh on election fraud, voter suppression and robocalls

Why the senate is the least of our concerns

Patrick Doyle/CP

I’m starting to half-believe the theory that the Senate expense scandal was cooked up to cover other problems for the Conservative Party of Canada. The broad main effect of the Senate fracas so far has been to exasperate the hell out of everybody. Mike Duffy’s bad behaviour presents the public with the frustrating conundrum that only the Senate can make rules for or punish errant senators, and that the major features of the Constitution (including that one) are probably immune from formal amendment for the next hundred years or so. Stephen Harper’s statutory end-run proposals for permitting Senate elections and tightening term limits are currently awaiting scrutiny by the Supreme Court; if the court rejects his measures, he can argue that they represented at least a fillip of attainable accountability, which they do, and that it is not his fault they were bounced.

In modern history, providing convenient excuses for inaction by elected politicians is about 45 per cent of the court’s function. And, at that, maybe it is okay to notice that the court, now crowded with Harper appointees, is as much an audience for Duffy’s antics as the rest of us. On top of all this, the whole mess invited Justin Trudeau, following cues like a good drama teacher, to plunge headlong into the trap of not only defending the Senate, but defending it on the specific grounds that Quebec is beneficially overrepresented therein.

If people are pulling faces at the Senate, that’s a win for the Conservative party. But perhaps more importantly, it’s a boost for the New Democrats, who have a clear “dynamite it” position on the Senate that they have advocated pretty consistently for half a century. Keeping the seat counts of the NDP and the Liberals roughly level with each other is the paramount strategic axiom for the Tories from now until (at least) 2015.

And what did it cost the Prime Minister? The services of chief of staff Nigel Wright, legendary Kato to Harper’s Green Hornet? Let’s accept the narrative that prevails within a five-kilometre radius of Parliament Hill, and stipulate that Wright is a world-historical genius in jogging pants: just how sure are we that he wasn’t ready to return to private life anyway? Assuming he was going to stop babysitting the Prime Minister’s Office at some point, you cannot say the PM did not squeeze the maximum political benefit out of his exit. Meanwhile, his replacement is Ray Novak, who is practically a son to Harper, who doesn’t have Wright’s non-political options, and who gets to take on one of the five or six most important jobs in Ottawa at the tender age of 35. It’s an emergency, folks! There was no other choice!

By all means, though, let’s keep talking about a “scandal” involving senatorial expenses, even though Duffy and the other impugned senators, leaving aside procedural rights and wrongs, do not really spend any more than their colleagues overall. (Conservative senators do not cost any more or less than Liberal ones in general, either.) The Senate costs about what it costs, and we’re stuck with it: as a wise old maxim holds, “If there’s no solution, there’s no problem.” But while we are relishing all this Duffstuff, the Federal Court’s ruling on Conservative “robocalls” in the 2011 election is an open sore, weeping steadily into the political environment.

The Federal Court refused to overturn any election results from 2011 because the onus of proof was on the plaintiffs to prove that an actual outcome was altered. And the plaintiffs, quite honestly, did a sorry job of this. But the court did affirm that election fraud had taken place, fraud almost certainly perpetrated by someone having access to the Conservative CIMS (Constituent Information Management System) database. Moreover, Justice Richard Mosley castigated the Conservative MPs defending the suit for attempting to “block these proceedings by any means” and making “transparent attempts to derail this case.” He actually used the phrase “trench warfare” to characterize their attitude.

The Tories don’t seem too worried that CIMS has been compromised, which would be their single worst election-readiness nightmare not involving an alien attack or dirty bombs. They are not even pretending to tell us how they intend to guarantee that this sort of election fraud will never happen again. The general attitude of their defenders outside caucus seems to be, “Ha ha, we introduced a horrifying dirty-tricks virus into Canadian politics and got away with it.” But, sure: ain’t that Senate terrible?

On the web: For more Colby Cosh, visit his blog at macleans.ca/colbycosh


Why Mike Duffy and the Senate are the least of our concerns

  1. This article is a figment of the writers imagination or a dream in technicolour. Strange but amusing.

    • Try reading it again while pretending you’re somebody who understands witty writing.

      • He first needs to provide witty writing! All we see in this magazine is shitty writing!

      • I understand what I consider witty writing, but then I’m not ignorant and I certainly do NOT insult people for their sense of humor. Took your nasty pills, did you ?

      • Oh, how journalists get offended so easily! That ego! Wells, everybody is entitled to their opinion, including you, but no need for insults.

    • nothing puzzling about it ( and you just proved it by showing up to post )

  2. I totally agree with you, and I am looking forward to the trial of Michael Sona which will continue tomorrow. Maybe there is more proof in that pudding than we now know. I hope news organizations are using their resources to report in detail the proceedings of this important case.

    I understand from Marc Mayrand’s comments that EC doesn’t have the power to compel persons to cooperate in an EC investigation, but I am puzzled that judge Mosley could not compel persons to cooperate before the federal court . I hope no one thinks it’s OK to refuse to testify in a criminal case cause they’re in for a bad surprise – unless they’re willing to go to jail ‘for the cause’. This old woman is sad to see that old operatives are using these young folks in their trench war. Mr. Sona doesn’t seem to be more than twenty-something. Really sad.

    • I believe that is now put off until 2014. His lawyer wants more time. You can be guaranteed that Harper, in 2015, will do the exact same thing, election fraud, because the Sona case will be delayed yet again and again. Harper has little men out everywhere to destroy democracy.

  3. It is, unfortunately, a measure of the audience and the delivery method of the information. The media manipulates the population based on saturation and sensation. If you yell it loud enough, often enough and long enough, people believe it is the most important thing. We are falling into the US model of politics and political reporting. Apparently, gone are the days of fact based journalism as we become firmly entrenched in a whirlpool of slanted, opinionated, biased news-bites designed to incite irrational, illogical, emotional response. We are outraged and focused on a non-story while larger issues go unnoticed.

  4. I wish everyone would stop calling the ConseREFORMatives “Tories.” There is absolutely nothing “Tory” about them. Gawd he’p us all.

    • I agree totally. The Tories are an historical institution at the federal level. These guys are Cons.

    • I’ll call them Tories because ConseREFORMatives is damn stupid.

    • When you insist on using your own cutesy nickname for your political enemies, a) you can only preach to the choir, b) it just creeps out non-partisans and the unaffiliated, and c) you sound like a six-year-old who thinks he’s funny. Remember how tedious “Libranos” and “LIEberals” from Ezra Levant and his gang got?

      • yea no kidding…six-year-olds (living in their own echo chamber) abound on these comment pages
        what about the “Fiberals” of Ontario?

  5. What was going on at the time of the 2006 election fraud to cover up that crime? I seem to remember being very concerned that the court case was being pretty much ignored as the illegitimate Harper government went on to prorogue our government, get caught in war crimes in Afghanistan regarding torture, appoint illegitimate senators, and hold another election all the while in court charged with cheating in the 2006 election? Shouldn’t a real news media have been asking how a party in court, charged with election crimes could keep governing until proven innocent? And, they were proven guilty and are still the illegitimate government of Canada and two of the people charged in that case got off with a plea bargain and were immediately appointed to the freaking mess of a Senate Harper has created.

    • You need to quit smoking whatever you are smoking. Whether you like it or not the people of Canada have spoken. You and your leftie friends will get another crack at Harper in 2015. Good luck with that. If you think pretty boy is going to win 100+ seats to form the government well there are palm trees in Sask. for sale. If you think the vast majority of Canadians are going to vote for a big spending socialist government with a kiddie caucus with many of them Separatists who have no life experience good luck with that. I can just see it. The Vegas chick being appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. The media Is having a great time with the Duffy scandal but lets remember the public didn’t buy into a fake contempt of parliament last time out. It is Duffy who is responsible for his problems. He’s a big boy.

      • Yes Duffy is responsible for his own actions and when does the illegitimate PM take some responsibility for his?

        “The Prime Minister personally ordered adscam done and chose the people who executed the plan. At the very least he fostered an attitude within the party, chose the managers who committed these crimes and completely and utterly failed to exercise any oversight, supervision or leadership. In the end it does not really matter. He is the leader and a leader is responsible for the actions of the people he leads.’ ”

        Stephen Joseph Harper on adscam 2005

        Even Harper knows he’s corrupt, not a leader, and not taking accountability for the office he wanted so badly he had to have his party cheat for him to get it.

        • Sorry, but I do not see how the PM should shoulder the blame for careless financial management in the Senate. I don’t even think Duffy should be pilloried for his expense claims, unless he was double-dipping somewhere and that has not been verified.

          • Considering the quote I just posted that Harper made back in 2005 he thinks Paul Martin should shoulder up – so what does that say about Harper? He is looking like a person that has one standard for people he doesn’t like and another for himself.

      • It took two years with an unfettered majority for the Cons to implode. You can gloat all you want between now and 2015 but your crowd has blown its political capital to bits. They may remain strong enough in Fortress Alberta and rural Ontario to keep an enfeebled minority but their remaining days with a majority are in all probability counted in the mid-hundreds.

        • I will not predict a minority or majority but I tell you they will be the government in 2015. However, if there is a minority will the Libs fold and go with the NDP to create a coalition. That is the question. Mulcair could become PM under that scenario which will make the Liberal party irrelevant playing second fiddle to the Dippers. I doubt whether the Libs have the guts. In that case like under Ignatieff they would be forced to support the Conservative agenda.

          • That was then. I’m not sure any other party would want to be tainted by association with any Con minority now. If it takes a coalition to finally expel them from office, and the numbers to create one are there, the Cons are finished in 2015.

            And, yes, that’s a prediction.

      • Lefties live in their echo chamber…they can not hear you…
        besides they are convinced PrettyBoy will win on the platform that
        Quebecers are BETTER than all other Canadians because well they are Quebecers…yea we need that attitude to permeate the whole of the Canadian government.

    • “they were proven guilty” Are you talking about “in and out” — they were not “proven guilty” They agreed to admit guilt based on a plea agreement with Elections Canada. This was a very murky case related to legislation that had changed. The “in and out” practice used to be common place, and when the law changed, the rule book was not clear and it was not being applied consistently, which is why the Conservatives pursued the case. This type of thing does not invalidate an election. As we have recently found out, you have to actually have evidence that election results have been altered in some way to call for by-elections. We have recently seen Parties charged with inappropriate robo-calling (provincially), even the Guelph guy who won got dinged for something — and no one is demanding re-doing elections. Let’s retain some perspective, please.

      • When you admit guilt that says you’re guilty. And again you are going to use the we are too stupid to know the rules and hence too ignorant to be the government. One way to prove if overspending in an election can win you an election is to now give the same amount the Harper party overspent to “win” and keep the Harper party to the legal amount in the 2015 election.

        And why does the Harper party and it’s supporters think that telling us they don’t know what they are doing is in some way more comforting to the rest of us than admitting they are corrupt?

  6. Not much here. The Duffy fiasco is being hyped for all it’s worth, but remains, small potatoes (relatively speaking). It is also extremely unfair to be targetting Duffy. Cosh provides nothing we do not already know re the robocall scandal. The close-to-final sentence “Ha ha we introduced a horrifying dirty-tricks . . . . ” is an unwarranted presumption of guilt along the lines of a drive-by smear. It is backed up by absolutely nothing in the article. This is just another journalist who can’t think of anything informative to write about. This type of commentary lowers the tone of both journalism and politics.

    • It is backed up by a judge’s ruling.

      • The judge’s comments indicated that someone had breached the law, but did no finger-pointing. It is the media that has decided “guilty” until proven innocent.

        • The judge did in as lawful a way as he could point the finger at the Harper party for not co-operating with the investigation and basically obstructing justice. If they were and are not guilty why do that?

          • I disagree with the Judges comments regarding the Conservative attempt to get the case dismissed. First of all, the judge would have no way of knowing what was motivating the Council through their court presentations. I am sure they put on their a best “just concerned about Canadians” show for the judge. It was really inappropriate for him to comment on this at all. Also, you cannot guarantee the outcome of a case, even when you are an innocent party. It is reasonable for lawyers to use all of the tools in their arsenal to fight for their client. Given that the Council of Canadians did not have a single witness claiming they did not vote because of a robo-call, and given that they were way out of the time-frame for challenging an election, the Council’s case looked a lot like a nuance case to me, motivated solely on their anti-Conservative politics. Challenging the legitimacy of a case is in no way an indicator of guilt.

          • You call it “challenging the legitimacy of a case”, I call it obstruction of justice and trying to get away with yet another case of election fraud. Carry on Rose215, you are never going to take off those peril sensitive glasses you’re wearing even if it means putting the country in danger.

          • Do you think that your logical, factual, reasonable account carries any weight with fanatics like Maude Barlow. Barlow? Dream on, but thank you for stating the facts.

          • You know what, if you can be honest with yourself, we’re all fanatics here.

          • Why are you defending the indefensible? Don’t you have any pride?

          • Didn’t the Liberals and Chretien fight Gomery at every turn in the AdScam investigation? When you’re being sued, specially by nutcases like the Council of Canadians, is it not normal to try to level the playing field?

          • and the Liberals paid the price in the next election.

          • I watched the entire Gomrey inquiry on CPAC. I’m waiting for the Harper inquiry now.
            And why is it that the Harper supporters seem to think that one of these actions is in some way better than the other. Adscamers and the Liberals got what they deserved and now it’s time for the next bunch of political corruption to be gutted from our government. You will never be able to nail me down as a partisan person. I dislike any political parties and if I could be the dictator for a day they would all be gone and replaced with Independent representatives. Believe it or not there are some people that can be political junkies without being attached to some asinine political religion.

          • Re: “nail(ing you) down as a partisan person”

            I beg to differ – you appear to be a enthusiastic member of the “court party”, given your solemn deference for anything emanating from the hallowed halls of justice. This is not misguided, however, you should understand that the Federal Court whose rulings you hold so sacrosanct is festooned with political appointees (on one memorable occasion, the federal justice minister held a press conference to announce he’d appointed himself to it), whose selection is devoid of provincial oversight. For e.g., the “trench warfare” judge was an Ottawa insider during the Trudeau/Turner years that Chretien appointed to the bench.

          • The “court party”? I rather doubt it as I have no idea what you are referring to when you talk about “trench warfare”. But if you’d like me as a member of the court party please do explain as I’d like to be an informed member. Thanks.

          • “I have no idea what you are referring to when you talk about “trench warfare””

            I recommend reading a blog post before commenting upon it in the future.

          • Zing!

          • I did read the article but did not connect your comment to the article because it was not clear what you were talking about at all.

            Never mind you got in your “gottcha” and I can take it. Got anything further you’d like to get me with?

          • Perhaps this is clearer – judges are not above politics themselves. When a judge takes the highly unusual step of being critical – even mildly so – of senior counsel’s trial strategy and when the client of senior counsel is a political party, the old adage about smoke and fire inevitably comes to mind. You’d do well to bear that in mind the next time you offer up court rulings in support of your assertions about how inherently evil is politico “A” and the party that spawned him or her.

          • Another good example is when a judge tried to save the Canadian Wheat Board with a ruling that the government’s legislation was blocked by legislation created by a previous government. The actual intent of the previous legislation was also misconstrued so that the judge could achieve his objectives. It was a truly frivolous and shameful behaviour for a judge and the shameful ruling did not last a long time, but it’s a good example.

          • Oh, please don’t mess up anyone’s pet narrative by pointing out inconvenient facts. It’s not nice.

          • The Liberals initiated that investigation! See the difference?

      • According to the illegitimate Harper government and all it’s followers that approve of corruption and ignoring our laws will say that any judge upholding laws that restrict or could find the party or this government guilty is a leftie and a hater of Harper. While they could be right about that it still does not negate the fact that Harper and his party are corrupt and think there are above the laws of Canada.

        • The “Court Party” is a term invented by political scientist Ted Morton to stigmatize gay marriage with disingenuous canards the same way Ezra Levant tries to stigmatize human rights commissions.

          • Yes, anybody who is the slightest bit critical of judicial activism or judicial overreach hates gay people. If you have any problem whatsoever with an activist judiciary, you are ipso facto a homophobe.

          • Well, it was the reason the concept was invented in Canada. And 99% of people who use the term judicial activism have not a frickin’ clue what they’re talking about. It is to public policy what creationism is to science.

          • I’m going to assume you never went to law school. Or if you did, you were sleeping through the lectures and didn’t read any material. Because the issue of judicial activism and overreach has been with us long before the gay rights movement came along.

          • you won’t hear about it much in law, although yes some reputable journals did carry early versions of Morton’s earlier work. It’s a political science concept and has very little legal application. Far more misused than used.

    • The dirty tricks comment is evidence of one thing. Many in the media constantly hype their partisan propaganda in the hope it will catch on. One such example is the longstanding but entirely unsubstantiated claim that the Conservatives are cheaters that use dirty tricks in elections (this is the same country that had Jean Chretien as PM). It is based on nothing but accusations. They’ve managed to find one unscrupulous Conservative somewhere named Sona and that has formed the basis for the propaganda campaign.

      So this is evidence that such unsubstantiated hype does catch on. Cosh would never have peddled such propaganda, he has slowly and perhaps unconsciously bought into the “cheaters” narrative, to the point now that he is throwing out such unsubstantiated propaganda himself.
      These media campaigns do catch on, and this is proof.
      Another such campaign is the one against Rob Ford. They tried to get him by going after his charitable solicitations. That almost worked. They tried to get him by going after his purchase of an adjacent property at his home. That didn’t work. They’ve tried to label him a drunk, a womanizer, by peddling false accusations and planting fake stories. That didn’t work. Now they’re trying to paint him as a crackhead. That appears to be making headway. The invention of the unseen video seems to be their most successful campaign so far, and they appear to be getting lots of otherwise fair and impartial people to buy into it.


    • And then he passed out.

  8. But the conservatives didn’t get a majority. They only got 24% of the eligible vote. That’s because we have such a terrible electoral system.

    • Based on your criteria, the opposition parties have even less legitimacy as they received an even smaller fraction of the vote.

      • shhhh! Don’t burst her little hyperpartisan bubble with a shot of truth.

    • you do not really have an electoral system…don’t you understand how a CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY works?

  9. But if you care so little about your country Duff’s improper election expenses are just another “heh heh heh real red-blooded Canadians just don’t care!-pay-no-attention-to-teh-man-behind-the-curtain” bit, why would election fraud suddenly be important?

  10. I don’t know. It would be nice to think Tory party wizards are this clever at covering problems, as C.C. is “starting to half-believe,” but I have doubts. I fear it’s more a case of the government sliding into a sweet-smelling ditch. Sad, really, because this does have the makings of a totally useful ‘scandal’, one the PM could exploit in a variety of ways (not least, in an oblique funding counter-attack on the federal bureaucracy, many of whose fellow-traveling members can smell the funeral incense should Harper win in 2015). Time will tell, but there’s no question this could be worked to the Tories’ advantage by competent players.

    • Getting rid of housing allowance reimbursement for everyone would be a good start for the Tories. That should be doable.

      • A good start on a long journey that includes eliminating sundry other perquisites these privileged loadies enjoy, given that erasing the sinkhole is beyond our capabilities (as constitutional experts never tire of reminding us).

  11. The great hope is that the Duffy scandal will empower, enable, give a wake up jolt to our sleepy, complacent Parl. Press Gallery.

    • I think they have done a darn good job on this: we would know NOTHING about any of this if it were not for journalists — Bob Fife et al. And that young woman Danielle Hamamdjian on CTV — literally running Wright down at 4 am, that’s pretty tenacious stuff. Drives me nuts that it keeps being focused on Duffy and the Senate when the real scandal is in PMO, but hey, whatcha gonna do?

      • I meant until this issue, they’ve been under the thumb for 6 years.

    • Thanks to Bob Fife – a man of principle and determination!

      • Can you imagine the conversations, through phone and in person, not email, that flow from high in the CPC and PMO to the big wigs at Bell Canada?

        • . . . not to mention the fact that the PMO asked the Rob Ford mafia to whack Bob Fife.

          Unnamed sources have confirmed this to the Toronto Star. I’m not making this up.

          • yes you are.

  12. Simplest way to curb the senate is to reduce the pay to $10,000 a year, no expenses, no perks.

  13. I thought it was a good article, and people have to stop making every piece someone writes an issue of such importance they have to start troll writing responses about it. One man’s view, go write your own column if you don’t like it.

    • And the comment section is for what exactly? Praises only?

  14. ” Mike Duffy’s bad behaviour presents the public with the frustrating conundrum that only the Senate can make rules for or punish errant senators, and that the major features of the Constitution (including that one) are probably immune from formal amendment for the next hundred years or so.”

    Is that the narrative? Because this isn’t about the Senate for me (and a great many Canadians) though the Tories – and some media outlets – are doing everything to shift the focus to the Upper Chamber. This is about the PMO purchasing the silence of a Senator who was under investigation.

    • Yes, a thousand times yes.

    • And the appointment by Harper of a person that was constitutionally no eligible for appointment.

      • Actually, Duffy is totally eligible and also a good representative for PEI. His roots are there and he has property there. He spent extra dollars to rent an apartment there for the winter. His heart problem is the main reason for specifying Ottawa on his tax forms. Most other Senators get reimbursed for two properties and Duffy should too.

        • His heart problem is a lot less serious than his brain-fart problem and lack of conscience. He hasn’t the brains to resign…

    • Come back when you have some proof of that.

  15. Thanks Colby – please keep reporting on this. I just finished reading PM Harper’s Facebook page and the hatred his supporters have for the rest of us is absolutely terrifying.

    • Whereas people who hate Harper and the Conservatives have nothing but love in their hearts.

      • Grow a sense of decency, Bubba. You are a disgrace as a Canadian.

        • Umm, is there a specific, expressed view that I have on a specific issue that you have a problem with? If so, I’d like to hear it.

          Or is it that your spiritual paranormal powers have detected my inherently dark aura?

    • . . . whereas people who hate Harper and conservatives have nothing but love in their hearts.

      • No love or fear in my heart for the rulers ( just a boatload of fear). Read the Facebook comments folks.. The references to removing our vote are particularly chilling ..

        • You better go hide under your bed. Evil Lord Harper and his Imperial Stormtroopers are coming to get you.

          • No love / no hate / no hiding under bed ( zero voter apathy.. Too bad, eh …)

  16. I think the senate scandal is a front to take our eyes off of the F 35 bomber planes . How much do they cost again ?

    • Lots.. ( The apparent reluctance to impose electoral reforms before next election is also most disturbing .. )

    • The Harper Government has now started advertising the F-35 on buses apparently. This man sure has bxxxs.

      • Not bxxxs just a salesman with no advertising budget ( no budget at all it seems ) How did we sink so low…

      • Lockheed Martin has started advertising the F-35 on buses.

        • Well that’s funny, I read that the Government was doing it. It is just like the Oil Companies advertising, Harper is paying for those you know…sorry, WE ARE paying for those. He has no scruples whatsoever.

  17. Call them Regressive Conservatives.

    • Not much use at conserving things that’s for sure!

  18. I don’t always agree with you Colby, but tonight I’m standing on my chair, applauding.

    I’m as pissed off as anybody about Duffy’s abuses and the apparent coverup. But this pales in comparison to a nationwide pattern of fraud targeting our right to vote (for any party but the Conservatives).

    I’ve always said that we would only see better leadership when Canadians informed themselves, advocated for what matters to them, and make their votes count. Under our Conservative government, we have less information than ever. Parliamentarians don’t have the information they need to assess government spending, and federal employees are muzzled.

    We can advocate, sure, but we risk Cabinet ministers calling us sinister tools of shadowy global forces. And we risk a DELIBERATE targeting by Revenue Canada for audits based on political positions. (How outraged are we about IRS’ focus on Tea Parties? How is that different?)

    And we can vote… well, unless we fall prey to the dirty tricks of a Conservative party that places Party before Country and considers votes for the other parties as somehow wrong, different and unworthy of protection.

    Adscam proved that the Liberal Party had to be thrown out. Isn’t nationwide electoral fraud worse?

    • What I especially like about your post is how utterly free it is of hyperbole or exaggeration of any sort. It’s so scrupulously balanced and fair, and you’ve taken pains to use the rhetorical technique of concession, which only adds to your scrupulous, non-partisan objectivity and credibility. Well done!

      • You are such a good ( but lacking in both ethics and morals) Stepford sheep. Must make your mammy and pappy terribly proud of you – LOL

        • It’s truly amazing that you know all about me. Why don’t you use those amazing clairvoyant powers of yours and tell us all what my views are on some of the big hot-button issues of the day, you know, like abortion, gay marriage, prostitution, drug policy, the long-form census, Israel and so on?

          • Your previous posts revealed much…but why not expand on those issues ….for a laugh.

      • Gosh Bean, if I didn’t know better I’d think you were using lunkheaded sarcasm. But you’d never do that.

        Just for giggles – what seems like hyperbole in my comment?

        • I said your comment was utterly free of hyperbole. Do you disagree?

  19. You are right – this is the very LEAST of our concerns. Stephen Harper’s lack of good judgement is obvious and frighteneing. I cannot believe that a Canadian PM would appoint such an incredible money-hungy slimeball to our Senate.
    This government is 100% corrupt and must go. We MUST have an election now and clean up the country from this despiccable vermin.

    • The worst thing about Harper and those horrible Cons is how they call their opponents and anyone they disagree with such nasty names. Whereas Harper’s opponents never ever ever do that. Ever.
      Your scrupulously fair and reasonable post is ample proof of this.

      • So glad you agree. Those who support and encourage this type of behavious by this disreputable government must have the ethics and morals of the lowest of our species.

        • I agree. Those people who call their opponents maggots are despicable. Those people who call their opponents vermin are progressive paragons of virtue.

  20. Getting older and have missed following Cosh, who I diligently supported a couple of years ago. Count me back on board — great writer … good grasp of what’s going on. Tories are so deep in self-created doo-doo that its not funny. Taxpayer along for the ride whether he needs to be or not. Harper’s judgement has become wonky (probably always has been) … fear however that the devil will soon say, “OK break’s over, back on your heads!”

  21. The Bay Street “Wonder Boy” Nigel Wright DOES NOT
    GIVE AWAY HIS OWN MONEY! Not a single
    dime came out of Wright’s pocket!

    It would be a simple matter of Nigel INVOICING the Conservative
    fundraising account (the money raising arm of The Conservative Party) multiple
    times for some type of phony “Financial Consultant Fees” to accrue back
    the $90K. CPC treates that Fund’s coffer
    as their private “Honey Pot.”

    Are there any conversations between Conservative Senator
    Irving Gerstein (Harper’s bagman) and the PMO about Nigel getting paid back
    from the Conservative Fund of Canada — the federal party’s war chest Gerstein
    once chaired.

    Or, the money came out of Alberta, where there is no
    shortage of it.


  22. I have thought long and hard was this whole Duffy thing a set up from Harper himself and I have concluded no, it was not. Harper acted too crazy, ran away with no plan, had a sh!tstorm of bad P.R., no way would Harper ever want that to happen. So someone else is leaking those emails. Michael Sona suggested Jenni Byrne as apparently her and Nigel never got along…

    • Keep thinking.

  23. The end result of this story will be the disclosure of some personal relationships that will blow the roof off Canadian politics and destroy a lot of politicians in all parties. This is the end of a non elected senate ,Any Prime Minister will have to allow the provinces to call the shot for future senators and the age will be reduced for retirement.

  24. Regardless of any rhetoric, I believe if there has been any illegal conduct on the part of any senator their pensions should be abolished. Hit them where it hurts and perhaps they’ll respect our tax money with more reverence.

  25. I think everyone here should ease up a bit!
    Duffy was caught, is paying back the $$$ and should be severely fined along with strict limitations on his right as a senator.
    Might be a good time for a little senate reform such as the official audits(yearly) that came out as mandatory last week.
    Canada we have bigger fish to fry! The economy is not bad at all and most people are living well under our economic conditions and we are improving–so please page 10 of your local newspaper is plenty of coverage for Duffy, Wallen, Brazeau.

  26. “At worst, he personally ordered it done and chose the people who
    executed the plan. At the very least, he fostered an attitude within
    the party […], chose the managers of the people who committed
    these crimes and completely and utterly failed to exercise any
    oversight, supervision or leadership.

    In the end, it doesn’t really matter where [his] actions or lack of
    them fall on that scale. He is the leader and a leader is
    responsible for the actions of the people he leads.

    If he had a right or honourable bone in his body, he’d admit that
    and resign immediately.”

    – Stephen Harper, during the Gomery investigation”

  27. I love the title.


  29. I still want to know where the 3.1 Billion went to.

    • It probably didn’t go anywhere – didn’t get spent although previous budgets had allocated for that spending but the fact that it wasn’t spent isn’t clearly accounted. A similar thing happened to the Libs with I think 100 million that was eventually found to be tens of thousands of dollars which were spent, the rest simply never was b/c it wasn’t needed. It would be nice to know though.

  30. “I’m starting to half-believe the theory that the Senate expense scandal was cooked up to cover other problems for the Conservative Party of Canada.”

    According to the Auditor General there is 3 Billion dollars that simply vanished from the Terrorism fund. Power in Politics was going on about it for a couple of days then the Duffy story broke or was leaked??

    What happened to the 3 Billion dollars?

  31. So I’m sure the Liberal supporters would love anything written by McLeans true or not. Big time left wing publication.

  32. I also worry about the Conservatives undermining democracy and the rule of law through machinations that are harder to understand than Duffy’s shenanigans. The party’s spin in the wake of the in-an-out scandal was another example. The Federal Court of Appeal had concluded that the Conservative party’s interpretation of the relevant section of Canada Election Act “would weaken compliance with the limits set by Parliament on the amount of money that candidates may spend on their election and can recover by way of reimbursement from public funds. Abuses could well proliferate, and the statutory objective of promoting a healthy democracy through levelling the electoral playing field undermined.” Leave to appeal to the SCC was refused and when the Conservative Party agreed to repay $230,198 for its role in the in and out scheme, certain Elections Act charges were dropped as part of a plea deal and the Conservatives spun it as “a big victory”.