How Stephen Harper gets to the bottom of something -

How Stephen Harper gets to the bottom of something

Paul Wells asks why the PM failed to follow his own precedent


The Prime Minister’s chief of staff has done something questionable! It’ll cost his job. What on earth can a PM do to get the straight story?

He can, of course, obfuscate for months. He can refuse to answer questions, then say, wearily, he has answered all the questions. He can call in to radio shows and substantially amend his earlier version of events. But five months after Nigel Wright got quit, how’s that working out for you, Prime Minister?

There is, however, an earlier precedent. A remarkably different precedent. One set, not by some impossibly high-minded other PM, but by Stephen Harper himself, and not long ago either. This Prime Minister has shown how it is possible to get to the bottom of questions relating to his own office’s operations — when, that is, he actually wants to.

In 2008, Harper’s then-chief of staff Ian Brodie said something about the U.S. election to reporters in a budget lockup. Brodie’s remarks seemed to indicate, or could be (and therefore soon were) interpreted to indicate, a preference for Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama in that winter’s primary elections for the U.S. Democratic Party presidential nomination. The resulting uproar made headlines around the world and led the Clinton camp to launch attack ads, based on Brodie’s reported remarks, against Obama in primary states. Within months Brodie was out of the PMO.

I believe Brodie was simply passing along an inaccurate version of half-digested gossip as his way of making small talk with some reporters; the whole business is documented in my new book. But at the time the whole business caused Harper a world of hurt, because it was getting him off on spectacularly poor footing with a potential future U.S. president.

So here’s what Harper did:

On March 5, 2008, the Prime Minister asked the Clerk of the Privy Council to launch an internal security investigation into allegations of unauthorized disclosures by Mr. Ian Brodie, Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, and Mr. Michael Wilson, Ambassador of Canada to the United States, of the purported position of U.S. Democratic presidential candidates in relation to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

That quote comes from the final report that Kevin Lynch, then the country’s top bureaucrat, made public in its entirety ten weeks later. It describes a process far more serious and thorough than anything Harper has permitted or contemplated in the latest crisis.

More from Lynch’s report, with emphasis added so you can scan and get the gist:

The Clerk of the Privy Council asked the Director, Security Operations, Privy Council Office (PCO) to lead the investigation. Seconded to PCO from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Director, Security Operations, is a senior officer at the rank of Chief Superintendent and has extensive investigative experience.

 The Director, Security Operations, PCO, engaged the services of two professional investigators from BMCI Investigations & Security Ltd., given the scope and complexity of the investigation, and the volume of information to be examined. Both investigators have extensive experience and specialize in domestic and international investigations involving allegations of criminal activity, fraud, breach of trust, unauthorized disclosure of official information, misappropriation of public funds and other sensitive issues…

 For searches of electronic data and communication logs, the Director, Security Operations, PCO, was also assisted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade’s (DFAIT) Security and Intelligence Bureau, the Informatics and Technical Services and the Telecommunications Services divisions of PCO, and departmental security officers of four other federal departments.

And so they set to work, interviewing 36 people in two cities with officials including Brodie. Some were interviewed more than once. In addition:

“The investigation also involved a review of logs of telephone calls placed by officials of interest from their office land-line and cellular phones…. Transmission logs from fax machines used by officials of interest during the same time frame were similarly examined…. All emails relating to either disclosure and found in the mailboxes of these same officials were checked … Finally, unclassified, classified and BlackBerry™ electronic mailboxes of federal officials and ministerial staff who received the original diplomatic report from Chicago were examined…”

The whole process took 10 weeks. If Harper had launched a similar process in May it would have been done by the end of July. For Conservatives gathering in convention in Calgary this week while Mike Duffy rains holy hell down on them in dribs and drabs, that timeline looks like a beautiful world that might have been.

Assigning the Clerk to hire some private detectives and rummage around PMO, PCO and DFAIT is not a perfect solution. The Clerk got his job from Harper. He is not perfectly insulated from accusations of bias. And indeed, when Lynch released his report, a few opposition MPs spent a few days trying half-heartedly to accuse Lynch of a whitewash. But it didn’t stick because a serious man had done serious work with serious resources.

The Prime Minister’s failure to follow his own precedent — not some imaginary perfect PM’s practice, but the standard he set for an earlier chief of staff during an earlier public and highly politicized scandal — cannot be reconciled with the notion that he is interested in making a good-faith attempt to understand what Nigel Wright did behind his back between February and May of this year.  It is much easier to believe he does not want to know. Or that he knows and does not want us to know.



How Stephen Harper gets to the bottom of something

  1. Looks like an expensive piece of gossip.

    • I really think it is about time that people simply accept Harper’s version of these events.

      After all, the Prime Minister has now kindly offered a selection of versions for the public to select from … there is one just right for everyone!

      • Multi tsk-ing.

  2. I think that last sentence sums it up correctly, Paul.

    • Uhuh, seems to me if he just didn’t want to know how far this went – even if he’s in the clear – given the stakes he’d be bringing in more buses and limbering up for some more under the bus 5 pin. Why not. It’s his standard MO when it gets too close to the throne.

      • When is it too late to prorogue a convention? Just asking for a friend. It’s getting colder, here.

        • Best hold off until the fat man quits singing if I were you.

          • Will be chilly for those sporting short leather pants.

            I think we’ve been all Leader-hosen.

        • There is only one man hoping for another flood this week in Alberta.

  3. I figured that if Wells felt the need to write about the Senate scandal, then I’d know it was getting serious.

    • I wrote about it several times in May.

      • And Duffy was the good guy or the bad guy then. Surely, you must remember! :))

        • Bad guy, until Duffy went nuclear on the PMO, then he’s the good guy, until the PMO release more emails disproving Duffy’s story, then he’s the bad guy.

          • It’s always fun to be read by people who have the moral vocabulary of a seven-year-old.

          • I don’t care the politicians nor the party, no-one has the right to steal our money.

            There is a Liberal Senator doing time, for thieving a much lesser sum of money. Every damned one of those thieves, need to be thrown in the brig, Liberals and all. If Harper did a cover-up, he needs to go to prison too.

            Canada has become, rotten to the core with corruption. The stink of corruption has spread, to some provinces too. So some Canadians are paying for corrupt provinces, as well as the Feds stealing from us.

          • You would almost have to say that it is organized corruption.

          • It is what it is and, it stinks. Knowing of Harper’s political past? Everything Harper does is questioned, by many of us. Believe or trust Harper? Not on your Nelly.

          • Ouch! You’re probably speaking to a PMO staffer. They may be short on morals, but really good at “lists”

        • I don’t see why Wells would be held to a higher standard than the PM. Whether Duffy and Wright are sleazy nogoodnicks or honourable men trying to do the right thing has changed just as much in the PM’s speeches as it has in the media writ large.

  4. You’re bang on.

    The fact that both Duffy and Wright were conducting this business using private email addresses also stinks. This is becoming entirely too commonplace, as the Ontario Liberals also recently showed us.

    • Apparently, AOL is still alive in Canada. Whodathunkit?

      • Well at least if the RCMP can’t track down the emails, the NSA can.

        • “You’ve got bail”

  5. This whole sordid mess further demonstrates the degree to which Harper has Putin-ized the governance of this nation.

    • Yes, many of Harper’s political opponents are in jail, or legally barred from running against him in an election.

      • Your ability to foresee the future is uncanny. Or have you been eavesdropping inside the PMO?

        • Yes really? You don’t need the ability to foresee the future. If you look at the Dictators, Stalin Hitler and Mussolini’s early political days, you know exactly what Harper’s future for Canada is. There are some calling Canada, Harper’s Fourth Reich.

          Harper had hired Wolfgang Droege and his Heritage Front as, security for Preston Manning. So, how can anyone possibly believe and trust Harper?

          Harper has an extremely shady political past.

      • Harper is no Conservative, what-so-ever. Never has been. Harper was Policy Chief for his, Northern Foundation of 1989.

        Neo-Nazis donated to Harper’s Alliance.
        July 18/2002

        Some people resent Harper and his so called Cons, wearing the poppy.

  6. Brazeau’s revelation of racism in the Senate is shocking and his apology only to the Aboriginal people is equally with Harper appearing to be indifferent to his plea on behalf of Aboriginal people. And this in the setting of Idle No More etc and the UN special envoy recent visit to Canada James Amaya.

  7. Meanwhile, Harper demands
    that the senators he appointed be shown merciless justice for actions he
    first approved, then sought to hush up with bribes, and now finds
    repugnant. All of Canada shall soon be a black kettle.

    • Oh wouldn’t it be nice to hold him to his own standards just once?

      • Harper and his so called Cons, have been a litany of, lies, deceit, thefts, corruption, dirty politics, dirty tactics and, they cheat to win.

        Harper is every bit as vile as, throwing his team under the bus, to get away with his own dirty tactics. Harper has no, decency, honor, ethics nor morals, what-so-ever.

        Harper does not govern, he dictates. We even went to war so, we wouldn’t have Fascism nor Dictators in our Canada. We can all see what he is dishing out, to our old and young Veterans. There have been complaints yesterday regarding, Harper attending the Armistice Day Services and, his wearing a poppy.

        • And he does not really care for hockey!!

          • Yet another of his egregious crimes.

          • Harper cares about Harper only.The second thing Harper cares about is, the giant corporations. Every time they line up at the trough and squeal for more money? Harper gives them another $60 billion in tax reductions. If you think you have any say in what goes on in this Country? Just you try it.

            What is liked of, Harper’s FIPA deal with Communist China? They must also like, Harper’s Omnibull-S-Bill that permits Red China to sue Canada if, anyone tries to block China’s takeover of Canada? China can even sue Canada, in the International Courts. China was given another oil company, this time it was Novus Energy. Harper is also selling our Canadian farms to China.

            Harper was Policy Chief for his, Northern Foundation of 1989. That should have been enough to, scare the hell out of everybody.

          • “Red China”. Nice. I see you and Archie Bunker have something in common.

  8. The scandal was the fat, greedy senators and their expenses. The follow up scandal was Nigel Wright trying to make things right by paying for expenses improperly.
    Everything else is just salvating Harper-hate by leftists.
    This “scandal” will sit alongside the “In & Out” and “Bruce Carson” bins of lame media wank-fests.

    • Even if everything else is ignored in this, there is still the outstanding question of Harper’s involvement in all of this. Either he was complicit in the payment to Duffy or he has created an environment within the PMO where the decision to pay $90K to a sitting senator in contravention of established rules was able to be made without his approval. The former shows poor judgment; the latter shows poor management skills.

      • 4 lawyers were involved, and you think they all agreed to write up a deal, have the ‘bribes’ run through their own trust accounts, and have documentation scattered from one end of Ottawa to the other…?
        This story is a fabrication of a man fighting for his pay for life cheque and the Libluvin media.

        • I certainly hope you are never on a jury for a serious crime in Canada.

          Sharon Wilson: “Yes, I fail to see how you could think he murderered anyone just because he had blood all over him and his fingerprints all over the murder weapon. In fact, I don’t even believe the murder victim is dead!”

          • “He had blood only on a FEW of his fingers”

    • So Jeff likes being used and abused by his own party? Fat and greedy senators paid off by fat and greedy PC staffers and party bigwigs who thought that committing fraud was worth paying legal bills. You guys are buried so deep in crap, you’re now thinking it.

  9. whew.
    All that and it boils down to two questions, Paul?
    OK then…
    He knew…he participated…he issued the final decree.
    But more than that, Duffy was the song and dance man given free reign, credit card and back slap to go for it on the approval of Harper himself. He relishes the power of shock. He enjoyed rubbing his opponents noses in it.
    but, when a PM is prepared to stoop that low he should expect to fall on his face, thusly.
    This isn’t about Duffy, Pam, the Senate or Brazeau (deliberately railroaded and falsely charged by Harper for daring to follow a different script {note: cleared by auditors of false charges of free spending})…this is about a PM whose need to control every breath this country takes and the inevitable backlash.
    Harper is, was and always will be…dangerously incompetent. Why else would he hide behind a contrived persona?

  10. Hopefully Tom Mulcair will force Harper to give some straight answers in the House.
    Tom is doing great work while Justin appears to be still on training wheels!

    • Yes, we will find out today how much JT will ask about party funds being used to pay lawyers bill.

      How much would you say did the Liberal Party fund pay for Mac Harb`s legal bills.

      • I would venture a guess that today’s cash-strapped Liberal Party does not consider a Chretien Senate appointee to be a high priority for their limited cash.
        Meanwhile Conservative donors can be proud that their $20 donations have gone to pay Mike Duffy’s legal bills.

        • Yes, isn’t that amazing. As a taxpayer, I was only defrauded once, but they get to pay twice. That must sting.

      • and here children we have a crazy lady beating a dead horse.,,,

      • Poor Francien…still watching a totally different movie from the rest of us.

        • Francien just doesn’t get it. Trudeau said. If Harb was not proved guilty of the theft, he is welcome back. However, if Harb did the crime, he does the time and, he is not welcome back.

          There is a Liberal Senator doing time, for a much lesser of a sum than, these thieves have stolen. All of them involved in these crimes, all need to be thrown in the brig too. That includes Harper, if he was involved in the cover-up. Harper has told so many different untruths, people just don’t believe him on, anything he says.

    • Mulcair has been very good in QP, a worthy opponent for PM Harper.
      Though I am troubled why Mulcair’s word on not knowing there was a cash bribe in the envelope ( after he lied to the media and said he was never offered a bribe) is enough for the PM, yet PM Harper’s word is not enough for him.
      If Mulcair wants to put himself at or above Harper’s level, he should afford him the same respect of accepting his word for it.

      • Mulcair is a very astute and intelligent Lawyer. He wasn’t stupid enough to even look in the envelope. The envelope could have been stuffed with, newspaper clippings, for all Mulcair knew. He did exactly the right thing, he walked away.

        Mulcair, Elizabeth May, Trudeau, compared to Harper, are Sunday School teachers. Here we have heard Harper contradict himself, numerous times. A different story everyday. To-day Harper is blaming everyone else for the Duffy fiasco, other than himself. He went from approving the Senators expenses himself, to it is all their faults. Duffy still hasn’t dropped all of his bomb shells yet either.

        Harper was Policy Chief for his, Northern Foundation of 1989. Harper is no Conservative, what-so-ever. I used to vote Conservative, until Harper. I detest Fascism and Dictatorship.

  11. He can run, he can hide and he can RESIGN.

    He would accept nothing less if he were on the other side.

    • Like Chretien and Martin resigned when they found out their Ministry, Dept of Public Works was being used to launder millions of stolen taxpayers money, stuff it into envelopes and slip it back into the LPC and friends..?

      • We can all expect people to do the right thing just as Harper did when the Liberals were doing the scandaling.

        • Comparing laundering millions of stolen taxpayer money thru a Ministry and giving back to your friends and the LPC to bailing out a Senator in giving taxpayers back money is bizarre.
          Chretien didn’t resign, he made jokes about golf balls.

          • The CPC should be paying tax payers back for all the salaries, benefits and expenses incurred by these senators because they were appointed illegally. Harper is entirely the source of this chaos in our government. He is completely unethical and scandal prone.

          • Really cutting, show-stopping jokes about golf balls.

          • Please tell us what Tony “Gazebo” Clement would do in a situation like this.

          • Sharon, shouldn’t you be with the other “base” supporters and be busy setting up the convention?

            Adscam is over. The government that was supposed to clean things up is only cleaning up by stuffing their coffers with our tax dollars. Which is worse. The first guy that robs you or the guy that tells you the first guy who robbed you was the worst piece of trash on the earth and deserves the death penalty and then he turns around and robs you?

            Everytime you bring up Adscam, we remember that Harper promised better, but sadly lowered the standards to below sewer level where we see ourselves drowning in this stinking sewage of a government every day.

          • I am still curious where, the $3.1 billion vanished? Harper and his so called Cons, are the worst thieves and abusers of our tax dollars, in the recorded history of this Nation.

            There are the legal fees that were paid for Duffy. Wish we knew how many thousands we have paid for Harper’s legal fees? That’s why he had to say, legal fees are paid for all of the wrong doers, including himself.

          • The Libs can wear Adscam like a badge of honour – they called an enquiry and in doing so demonstrated to the public that they are willing to take their lumps ( this made them re electable in the long run )

        • I’d absolutely settle for a Gomery inquiry right about now.

      • Are you sick or living in a bubble? There was an investigation, the money was repaid and the responsible parties went to JAIL. Oh right, and it was under Martin, a Liberal with integrity.

        Sharon, keep standing on that sinking ship. You only help our cause.

      • The Ministry, Dept of Public Works was laundering money? They were stealing our money and slipping it back to the Liberals and their own personal friends?

        I missed a whole lot of that. I will certainly research. They can go back 40 years and fling every corrupt s.o.b. Politician and party leaders in the brig too.

        It doesn’t matter the politician nor what party? It’s still our money they are stealing.

  12. By being interviewed on talk-radio media over the weekend, Harper brought the headlines back to the core issue, it’s about Nigel Wright, not Mike Duffy. Harper lost his Chief of Staff to this, that’s the heavy price he paid. The media has already gotten its scalp from this. Everything now is just Karl-Heinz Schreiber style of gossiping.
    I thought Harper’s aim in talking about Wright was his way to signal possible “leniency” for Wallin and Brazeau who had nothing to do with Wright and are in essence collateral damage to Duffy. But they didn’t take the hint and now will go down with Duffy. Public opinion is by far more anti-Senate than anti-Harper so the PM will win. As Harper himself said, he didn’t get into politics to defend the Senate. His “reform or abolish” position will serve to solidify his support.
    Meanwhile the opposition, having acquired the bad habit of faux-scandal headline chasing during the long years of minority-government election-speculation, are wasting more time instead of building up their economic leadership bona fides and policies which is the only way to defeat Harper and the Conservatives.
    This is more true of Mulcair than Trudeau, who seems very small in all of this. I noted the tiny article in the media about Martha Hall Findlay giving up on politics for good. So the last true representative of the Manley Liberals is now gone. This is bad news for the revival of the late great Liberal Party of Canada.

    • When things started to fall apart with Brazeau i remember wondering aloud if Harper would try to use his crap appointments as examples of why the senate should be reformed. Could his followers be THAT stupid, I asked?

      Thank you for providing an answer.

      • Are you kidding? I suspect the sick cynic appointed those guys, told them their residency status and claims were ok, until someone started poking around and then he served them up with a little call to his buddy Bob Fife. Maybe he wanted to get rid of Wright who was a little too smart and powerful and was pushing too hard for interests that didn’t agree with the oil barons. Who knows, but what I find highly suspicious in all of this is the lack of concern by the security freaks about the leak from the PMO. Vickileaks Adam Carroll was hunted down with pitchforks and this? Notta peep. Very strange.

    • I believe this is called flailing, when your strategy of trying to bully your senate appointments into submission fails, blame it on the next nearest until you can RUN away.

    • I disagree that Wallin is collateral damage. As far as I’m concerned, what she did was worse.

      • I think it comes down to Duffy’s expenses might likely have been illegal election expenses or were double dipped by reimbursements. THAT’s what makes his mess bigger, and likely why his mess was the one they moved to contain.

        • Well, the reimbursements are more likely the result of the fact that there was agreement that the expenses were legitimate, but the optics were not.

          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? Once you’ve established the need for two residences in order to do the job, who the heck cares which one existed first?

          So Wright and others agree that logically this makes sense, but taxpayers may see it in another light, hence they decide to reimburse both the taxpayer and Duffy.

          As for Wallin, she was claiming over 100k in expenses for things like flying to coporate board meetings, board meetings that provide income to her, and have nothing to do with being a senator.

          There was no way in hell those flights and hotels should have been expensed to the taxpayer!

          Duffy has a legitimate argument. Wallin does not. Harb and Brazeau, they would fall somewhere in-between.

          • You seem to be confusing “more likely” with “the CPC current craptacular argument”

  13. 5 1/2 months, and still no one has come forward with info/evidence that PMSH knew about the Wright-Duffy scheme.
    People, it’s time you accept the Nigel Wright submission to the RCMP as truth,
    PM Harper was not told before or after that Duffy was bailed out.
    Do you really think the RCMP are going to find that giving taxpayers their money back is a criminal act?
    Do you really think 4 lawyers would be involved in bribing a Parliamentarian, and leave a paper trail a mile wide?

    • Guess what sharon wilson? Our illegitimate PM appointed illegitimate senators. Harper tried turning his back to the fire and now will have to sit on the blisters. It looks good on him.

    • Ah Sharon, left out in the cold, the only tory still willing to stick her neck out for the boss. The train has left the station. What a lonely little figure she makes.

      • She can’t possibly be a CPC donor and still be supporting them after they took the donations and spent them on Duffy’s lawyer and who knows maybe even the 90 grand that Wright is trying to take credit for?

        • Oh yes you can, as we well know, conservatives can’t add, subtract or do any basic accounting so the point is beyond their comprehension – which is limited to “tax bad”.

          Losing $3.1 billion? That’s nothing to Flaherty. When he and Clement and Baird were kicked to the curb in Ontario, they were off by more than $5 billion, and of course it was in the red.

    • Jenni Byrne (sp?) who was officially working for the party during all of this is apparently very good friends with Arthur Hamilton. She had to have known about it because the party was considering paying Duffy’s expenses. She is now in the PMO. Unless there was an organized plot to keep Harper out of the loop, I don’t believe Harper wasn’t told by one or both of them.

      • What the media does not make clear in its articles, of course, is the fact that the promise of the number two cheque came before the promise of the number one cheque.

        See, Duffy and the media are playing a very clever game here. Duffy
        pretends that the $13,000 payment for legal fees came as a promise AFTER the Nigel Wright cheque of $90,000.

        But the opposite is of course the case: The CPC Party Fund (not
        government money!) decided to cover Duffy`s legal bill for when he
        needed legal council during the auditing process in action, the audit
        which found the false expense claims of Mr.Duffy. The promise to pay for
        such legal advice is indeed not out of the ordinary. All parties use
        their Party Funds for helping out members of the party caucus!

        But the bill of that legal advice was paid after the verdict of the
        audit was known, so indeed the CPC Party Fund could have decided to
        renege on their initial promise to Duffy to cover his legal fees during
        the auditing process, or the CPC could keep their initial promise to pay
        for Duffy`s legal fees in regards to the audit, and the CPC kept that
        promise. Good for them! If legal fees were to be covered by the party as
        promised BEFORE the outcome of the audit was known, then Duffy was
        given a great favour by the party! The CPC party had then not acted in a
        criminal way, but had acted by keeping its promise to Duffy in regards
        to paying for his legal fees during the auditing process!

        So the CPC had promised to pay those legal fees BEFORE the outcome of that audit were known! Once the audit outcome was known, Harper then ordered Duffy to pay back the false expense claims! Harper did not ask for Duffy to pay back the costs for legal council, but Harper demanded
        that Duffy be held responsible for the outcome of that audit.

        There is no scandal at all about that number two cheque of $13,000!
        In fact, it is Duffy and men like Ivison who would like to leave the
        impression that the $13,000 cheque came after Wright`s cheque, but that
        is not true.

        Scandals are kept alive by not telling the turn of events correctly!
        Tom Mulcair loves it when the media does not pay attention. Tom Mulcair
        loves it when Duffy tries to create a false time-line.

        But Canadians should be wary of both the opposition parties claims and be very wary of the opinion writers!

        • Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that Duffy’s legal fee repayment is for his audit expenses. According to Harper, it’s standard for parties to do this. So why then was only Duffy’s
          paid for?

  14. It’ll be interesting to see how (or if) Harper addresses all this at the CPC convention this weekend. My best guess is that he’ll ignore it completely. I’ll be very surprised if he even mentions the word “senate” during the convention.

  15. Politics 101: before you can steer something you have to get it moving.
    Everyone in the PMO (and party) knew Mr. Harper’s desire for the Senate. Was This akin to Henry II asking “who will rid me of this troublesome priest?” The rest is just roadkill for internal reasons and petty jealousy…with otherwise good people thrown under the bus for being skilled at what they were brought on-board for.

    • Every Dictator through the ages, all had their degenerates and the criminal element, to do their dirty work for them. Harb, Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau feel they have been victimized by Harper. Or perhaps they feel, they have been thrown under the bus? Brazeau said, he was offered a backroom deal? Apologize to the people and his sentence would be much reduced. Brazeau knew exactly what that would mean. They have called Harper a Dictator, liar and a control freak. Harper defended all of his senate, involved in this crime. Now Harper is in Parliament, running Duffy into the ground.

      He is in Parliament saying again and again? Let me be clear. Let me be absolutely crystal clear.

  16. Autumn leaves. Price of gas. Jobs. Economy.

    Normal Canadians.

    • Don’t forget that very important issue about when Harper’s Hockey Book is coming out — or if it will ever come out at all. According to the Liberal and Dipper supporters who frequent these comment boards, that is a burning issue that average Canadians need to be extremely concerned about.

      • Yes, every other comment refers to the hockey book.

        • Entire threads, articles and blog posts have been dedicated to the hockey book. Apparently it’s a very important issue. Right up there with Wafergate. When will the Prime Minister come clean about the missing communion wafer? And the missing hockey book? When, I ask you?

    • I agree.

      While this scandal has more staying power than all the manufactured fake scandals, because there is some truth to it (Duffy and Wallin did rip off the taxpayer), I agree that few people other than journalists or political junkies care much about this.

      • You don’t really believe that, do you?

        • Believe what?

      • I don’t believe this either. Non-political people I talk to mention this in passing, and not in a good way. No one I know ever brought up In and Out, or robocalls, or Afghan detainee docs, or proroguation, or any of the other fake scandalettes that our media have tried to foist on us. This one, while I agree is overblown a bit, is real.

        • I do agree that it’s real. And no doubt it’s all over comment boards like this one. But so were all those other fake scandals.
          I’d have to talk to a few non-political people, but my feeling is that once I do, they will be saying “Duffy who?”

          Even when it comes to political people… I know lots of people in Montreal, and so they are aware of the corruption scandal. The Duffy scandal pales in comparison. In Ontario there is the power plants scandal. Once again, Duffy pales in comparison. In both cases, thousands of dollars in expenses doesn’t compare to billions of dollars wasted for reasons of politics and corruption.

  17. Or that it’s obvious. Wright wrote a cheque to Duffy to allow him to pay back what he owed to taxpayers right away. Doing so on an already public affair had no potential of covering up anything or being anything other than what it was. It’s not Wright’s fault that people aren’t logic machines that having seen “secret cheque” “Harper’s chief of staff” and “Mike Duffy” did not then ask the question of how it could be a cover up when the situation was already news.

    I’m impressed with Wright for doing so, although I can’t blame Harper for canning him when the perception of what he did seems to be inevitable. I’ve always had time for Duffy before but at this point it’s clear to me he’s just flailing.

    Saying Harper should have called an inquiry is basically a wish that he had done so simply because it would have been perfect optics – fair enough, it would have been nice but that’s all it could have been.

    • If that was the only reason Canadians are angry at Harper? It’s not. There are many, many, more reasons why, Harper is not trusted nor believed. There are provinces that dislike Harper intensely.

      What people don’t ask is? Who leaked Duffy’s expense fiasco? Who leaked Harper’s enemy list? Elizabeth May, Trudeau nor Mulcair have access to the PMO, nor to Harper’s secret lists. Someone near, doesn’t like Harper, what-so-ever.

    • But what about the script that Duffy borrowed the money from the bank? How do you explain that?

      • My impression was that Wright personally gave him the cheque to be repaid, now I see it might have been PMO money and Wright thought that the way to deal with it was to get Duffy the money to pay disputed expenses before seeing how legitimate they were. Definitely not as clean as I thought, especially since he wanted to do it through a back channel like that. Wright trying to help Duffy or help out the party’s image by paying the public purse back isn’t what I’d call a scandal but it’s hard to say if it’s a little bit greasy or else naive. It depends on whether the bank account thing was Wright trying to avoid the appearance of scandal in an unfortunate way or because he was getting into a dishonest frame of mind in the PMO.

        • ‘Getting into a dishonest frame of mind in the PMO’ – I love that one.

  18. He didn’t follow his own precedent because a foreign policy breach is more serious that improper expense claims. After the Wright cheque came to light, at that time he should have followed the precedent, but once again he did not judge the situation to be serious enough to warrant following the precedent.

    This scandal seems to have more staying power than the previous fake scandals, and it seems to be because there is truth involved. I am more appalled at Wallin than the others (and Harb). Wallin was raking in the dough left and right from her boards and engagements, yet still felt it proper to bill the senate for her trips to board meetings and engagements.

    • Harper does not govern, he dictates. He is very arrogant, stubborn and answers to no-one. This is a lot of the problem with Harper. Harper’s words. “I am the Law”. “I make the rules”. Most Canadians detest Fascism and Dictatorships. There are some that call Canada, Harper’s Fourth Reich. Some call Harper a traitor for, handing Canada over to Communist China.

      There are just too many reasons for, not wanting Harper as PM.

      • Yes, Harper is a Nazi. He will very soon be rounding up Jews and putting them in ghettos. I’m not making this up.

  19. Dear Leader forgot history and an important managerial fact. Now he has to try and pry his foot from his mouth with a crowbar. He may not be successful:
    “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all
    the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

  20. The so-called “scandal” is burning itself out. Mike Duffy is now a lampoon of Karl-Heinz Schreiber and taken about as seriously. Mulcair and Harper and the Canadian people all agree; everyone hates the Senate.
    All this facetime in QP for Mulcair is good for Harper because it harms Trudeau. Mulcair needs a media-friendly “scandal” so he can grab air time as Opposition Leader from Trudeau with whom the media is for whatever reason currently infatuated with. For his part Harper needed to show some emotion in his denounciations of the Senate which he has done.
    Trudeau meanwhile gives Harper a gift by criticizing (CP uses the word “attacks”) Conservative climate-change policies in a speech to oil and gas sector execs in Calgary. This is from the leader of the party that while in government signed the Kyoto Accord only to pretend to do something about carbon emissions in order to win international brownie-points. Expect Harper and Mulcair to vigourously take Trudeau to task for this.
    As the experiences of Christy Clark and Michael Ignatieff show, people do not care about contrived scandals, polls and “contempt of democracy.” It is a cliche but it is all about the economy. Trudeau has announced that he has nothing to say about the economy until 2015. Both Harper and Mulcair are canny and successful politicians. They will make Trudeau pay for his mistakes.

    • Yes, siree, everything is falling into place for Harper. Very well played, sir. By the way, is that prescription drug you’re on?

    • Trudeau is very smartly trying to appeal to blue liberals and red tories and show that he is a centrist Liberal who can be mainstream, not just far left. He has spent a lot of time talking about the economy lately and the need for energy development, as you yourself just admitted! He is not waiting until 2015 at all. He is demonstrating that the Liberals have more appeal on the economy than the NDP.

    • 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 Wright INVOICING the “Conservative
      Fund of Canada” account (the Conservative Party’s –> taxpayer-subsidized
      war chest <—-) multiple times for some phoney "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.