The Commons: Stephen Harper's Mike Duffy problem -

The Commons: Stephen Harper’s Mike Duffy problem

If only Jim Flaherty hadn’t tabled the 2008 economic update


Today’s theme would be personal responsibility.

For the third time since his chief of staff was found to have given $90,000 to one of his senators, Stephen Harper was present in the House of Commons this day for this place’s daily exercise in accountability. For the second time, Mr. Harper was more interested in a matter entirely unrelated to himself.

Thomas Mulcair began with a discrepancy. “Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has said that he did not find out about the payment from Nigel Wright to Mike Duffy until May 15. However, yesterday his cabinet colleague, Marjory LeBreton said: ‘On the 14th of May, the Prime Minister dealt with it.’ Who is telling the truth?”

Mr. Harper moved first here to reassure the leader of the opposition. “Mr. Speaker, I have been very clear. I learned of this matter on May 15, and of course immediately made this information public.”

So Ms. LeBreton was apparently mistaken.

But this was not the “real” issue at hand, at least so far as Mr. Harper was concerned.

“The real question is why the leader of the opposition, on November 16, 2010, said that he knew nothing about the activities of the mayor of Laval which are now before the Charbonneau Commission, when in fact he had known for 14 years.”

This is certainly one parsing of Mr. Mulcair’s comments of two and a half years ago.

Mr. Mulcair asked next about the first occasion on which Mr. Harper discussed Mr. Duffy’s expenses with Mr. Duffy. Mr. Harper said it was February 13 and that he had been “very clear” and that the “real question” was to do with what Mr. Mulcair said two and a half years ago about what he saw 19 years ago.

Mr. Mulcair pressed on with specific questions about who was present to hear what the Prime Minister said less than four months ago and so on. Indeed, the NDP leader’s queries for the Prime Minister remain quite specific, perhaps almost too much so.

Mr. Harper, meanwhile, appealed to his own clarity. “I have been very clear, very public, very consistent,” he insisted. Indeed, Mr. Harper would use the phrase “very clear” a total of 14 times this afternoon, 13 times in reference to himself and his government, once in reference to Nigel Wright.

“My statements on this have been very clear and very consistent,” Mr. Harper declared in response to Mr. Mulcair’s fifth query, “totally different from the honourable member who keeps refusing to answer questions as to why his knowledge of bribery attempts were not clearly and correctly conveyed to the public and the police over a period of 17 years.”

It is perhaps necessary to note here that Mr. Mulcair did, two weeks ago, stand in the foyer and face a horde of reporters who asked him various questions about what he saw, knew and did as it pertains to an envelope the mayor of Laval presented to him in 1994. Whether he answered those questions to everyone’s particular satisfaction is likely a matter of subjective interpretation, but he did at least allow reporters to yell those questions in his general direction.

Regardless, Mr. Harper’s commitment to the highest calibre of clarity and consistency is to be appreciated, even if it comes a bit late to, say, initiate a rational discussion about establishing a price on carbon.

But Mr. Harper’s principles do not now extend merely to clarity and consistency, but also to personal responsibility—of accepting responsibility not only for what one does or does not do  (Mr. Wright, he said a few times, would be “accountable” for his actions), but for whatever might result from one’s decisions.

“Once again, we are waiting for some clarity and some consistency from the leader of the NDP on matters that are now before a major commission,” Mr. Harper ventured awhile later. “Maybe if this individual had been clear with the public and with authorities some 17 years ago, the kind of things that led to the Charbonneau Commission would not be happening today.”

The suggestion that Mr. Mulcair is responsible for the corruption that now plagues the province of Quebec might seem a dubious one. But it is at least something for Mr. Mulcair to think about as he falls asleep tonight.

Likewise, it would seem to be for Mr. Harper to contemplate how it is he came to find himself having to stand another 20 times this afternoon.

On that count, it was actually a question from Justin Trudeau that seemed most heavy this afternoon.  “Mr. Speaker, in December 2008, despite promises to the contrary, the Prime Minister appointed 18 senators,” the Liberal leader recalled to preface the day’s 18th query. “I would ask the Prime Minister to explain why he chose Mike Duffy to be a senator?”

The Prime Minister allowed that this was “an interesting question.”

You see, it was all because the Liberals and New Democrats were threatening to replace Mr. Harper’s government after Mr. Harper’s Finance Minister tabled an inflammatory response to the economic crisis of 2008.

“Of course,” Mr. Harper explained, “for almost three years I left the Senate vacancies unfilled…”

Save, in one case, for that Michael Fortier fellow, who, as it happens, now favours abolishing the other place.

“… and what happened in that period when we were trying to get those filled by elected people?” Mr. Harper wondered aloud. “The Liberal Party and other parties got together and tried to fill those Senate vacancies with their own people.”

Technically, they signed a governance accord that allowed for the possibility of appointing senators.

“Obviously,” Mr. Harper concluded, “that is why, as I said at the time, I acted to ensure that if the Senate is not going to be elected, it would at least support the government that Canadians did elect.”

So it is on the basis of that problematic reading of representative democracy that Mr. Harper says he appointed 18 senators in December 2008.

But that does not explain why one of those senators was Mike Duffy. And it is Mr. Harper who is entirely responsible for that decision. As it is Mr. Harper who employed Mr. Wright.

That the electorate did not vote for the Conservatives in sufficient numbers to provide it with the seats necessary to pass legislation to reform the Senate in 2006 and thus spare Mr. Harper the indignity of appointing senators is, of course, unfortunate and each and every one of you who failed to vote Conservative that year should feel tremendous shame for what you have caused. But otherwise Mr. Harper would seem to have to accept some responsibility for Mike Duffy. At least as much as the corruption in Quebec is Mr. Mulcair’s.

If only Jim Flaherty had tabled something other than the economic update he provided on November 27, 2008. Come to think of it, maybe this is all his fault.


The Commons: Stephen Harper’s Mike Duffy problem

  1. Now Mulcair is looking silly & simply asking questions in an effort to keep the story alive.

    • Yes, but for the House to adjourn for the summer, unanimous consent must be given, which means of course that the opposition parties want the House to be adjourned as soon as possible.

      What, adjourning the House when trying to get to the bottom of the scandal of the century…………………… wouldn`t say.

      Can Wherry believe this…………………….adjourning the House with unanimous consent. LOL

      • Francien
        You are becoming less coherent by the post in your passionate excitement over protecting the mail boy.
        Take a breath and try and make a point.

        • You aren`t getting my point…eh!

          Well, let`s see what I can do about that:

          What would be Marois`s point:

          With Mr. Harper and Mr. Flaherty at the helm, it’s tough to fault Pauline Marois, Quebec’s separatist Premier. She says her province’s petroleum riches need to stay in the ground until Quebec finally achieves its liberation from the rest of us. “If, one day, we produce oil and gas in Quebec, why would we let half of this wealth go down the road to Ottawa?” she asks in a video posted on the Parti Québécois website.“

          • Still pointless Francien

    • He has a long, long way to go before he looks half as idiotic as the Cons who stood up in the House and, in relation to any topic at all, yapped about a mythical 21 billion carbon tax, day after day, after day, after day, after day, after……..

    • Silly to the water carriers and dedicated bagmen, but with every evasive answer Harper and his muppets are looking like the shifty liars that they undoubtedly are to those who have their eyes open.

      • The only shifty liar I see is Mulcair, who refuses to answer questions about why he lied about being offered a bribe for 15 years. Harper’s at least answered the questions asked of him, though the answers might not be what you were hoping for. Mulcair is the one who’s being evasive.

        • Commenting before reading the article hey?
          From above

          “It is perhaps necessary to note here that Mr. Mulcair did, two weeks ago, stand in the foyer and face a horde of reporters who asked him various questions about what he saw, knew and did as it pertains to an envelope the mayor of Laval presented to him in 1994. Whether he answered those questions to everyone’s particular satisfaction is likely a matter of subjective interpretation, but he did at least allow reporters to yell those questions in his general direction.”

          Unlike the grey mail boy who just sat there sulking. Specks and motes old boy.

          • Even Wherry says he didn’t answer the questions. Taking questions is different than answering them.

            Harper’s answered all the questions that he’s been asked. Mulcair hasn’t.

          • Harper has not. He ignored the ones shouted to him by the media.
            When the only way you can win an argument is by parsing phrases and semantics you’re doomed sad man.

          • Yes, of course the PM should be responding to every asshole who shouts at him, despite the fact that he’s answered the questions before in the proper forum.

          • Ha ha ha
            Ahhh you crack me up.
            Harper doesn’t have to answer questions on criminal behaviour by his appointee and possible criminal behaviour by his Chief of Staff, but Mulcair, who has apparently already answered to legal authorities and spoken with the scrum does.
            Cognitive dissonance is they affliction

  2. “Today’s theme would be personal responsibility.“

    Well, ok then; when will we hear from Macleans what will happen now that the video is gone! LOL

    • You mean that video that Ford’s aide Mr. Price claimed to know where to find in the presence of all those now former staffers (right down to the apartment number)?

      • You mean the video that didn’t exist? It amazes me that anybody would still be dumb enough to believe it ever existed. We’re supposed to believe that some Somali drug dealers were selling a tape for $100,000 and then when offered $200,000 for it, they just disappear? Sounds pretty unbelievable to me.

        • One of the guys in the photo is now dead, the other was shot and injured. Disappearing seems a sound decision to me.

          • What does the photo have to do with the video? The photo was visibly digitally altered, so it’s authenticity is highly, highly suspect. And we were told that Ford was the only person pictured in the video, so even if the photo was real, it’s definitely not a screen shot of the non-existent video.

            Couldn’t POSSIBLY be that a photo of Ford with some of his constituents was doctored up to lend credibility to the allegations of a video existing, could it?

            You really have to be a professional in cognitive dissonance to be dumb enough to convince yourself to believe this crap.

          • next you’ll be telling me the guys aren’t dead, that he wasn’t reading while driving, he didn’t flip the finger, oh and he definitely wasn’t at that Leafs game.
            You need to put that water down, it must be killing your back.

          • The photo is clearly and obviously digitally altered. How can you accept that as credible “evidence”?

          • It’s been altered! I can’t say it’s a forgery and you can’t say it’s legitimate, BECAUSE ITS BEEN ALTERED!

            So a house in an altered photograph actually exists. What exactly is that supposed to prove? That the house in the photograph is real? Does that mean the photograph is real? Ever doctored people onto another background before?

          • The video doesn’t exist even though Ford’s new Chief of Staff said he knew where it was. The picture has been altered because you say it has.
            Get a grip on yourself.

          • Ford’s Chief of Staff ASKED someone “hypothetically” if he knew where the video was, what should he do? That’s not the same as saying “I know where the video is”.

            The picture has been altered because you can see, just by looking at it, that it’s been altered. How do you blur out someone’s face without altering a picture?

            Enough with the lies already, nobody believes this crap anymore.

          • Yeah, ok Rick

            “Hypothetically” is used like “allegedly” in order to allow for plausible deniability should one be called on it. Your naivete is soo sweet.

            So the whole picture is a fake because a persons face was blurred out to protect their identity.. bwa ha ha that’s soo precious.

            The evidence isn’t all in yet and just because you squeal it’s done doesn’t make it so,

          • You dimwit, once a photo is altered, you can’t tell what is real and what isn’t. But I’ve come to the conclusion that you’re incapable of critical thought. Have fun in your fantasy reality.

          • You really are just as obtuse as Francien.
            It doesn’t need faces blanked out to throw into question what is real and what isn’t. People can alter any photo and make it look like it hasn’t been altered.
            The fact that they blanked out only one face actually makes me think it is a real photo. Because they could have just edited out the guy altogether and on a cursory inspection we would be none the wiser.
            So all those crime stopper photos where passer bys are blanked out are completely untrustworthy are they?

          • You’re comparing Crime Stoppers to a bunch of Somali drug dealers? OK, that says enough about your credibility.

            When you alter a photo, it leaves traces that people can look at to judge if it’s been altered or not. It might look “real” to someone who doesn’t know what they’re looking for. But anyone with any forensic digital graphics knowledge can pick it out in a second.

          • okay Mr Forensic digital man
            Apart from the blurring to protect the identity of some one still alive, what else in your considered and apparently expert opinion was altered on the photograph? If you could explain how they did it that would be spiffy too.

          • Ya, I’m going to spend my afternoon analyzing a photo for your dumb ass.

          • So you actually dismissed the photo based on absolutely nothing apart from two faces had been blurred out to protect their identity.

            If you had more evidence than that you would not have to spend all afternoon analyzing it.

            And there was me thinking that you were arguing from a position of knowledge, but you were making it up as you went along.

            Have any claims that you have made been backed up by anything more than wishful thinking?

          • This comment was deleted.

          • It’s a bitch when you get caught out in your lies hey?
            Ever thought of not telling them Harper hack?

          • Go find a job.

          • Weather’s put the dampers on it literally.

        • No. We are supposed to believe that 6 staffers just up and quit for no reason last week.

          • Well at least one of them had planned to quit for some time. The rest are probably sick and tired of having to deal with the brain dead morons at The Star. How would you like having to take calls from the same retards asking the same retarded questions for 8 hours a day?

  3. But even if Harper didn’t “know” about the payment — just as
    Bill Clinton didn’t “know” Monica Lewinsky — there’s still the question of
    where the $90,000 came from.

    While Wright may have written the cheque on his own account,
    might he have expectations of reimbursement from party funds or wealthy
    Conservative donors?

    This seems important because it goes to the credibility of
    the narrative that Wright acted alone, rather than as part of a broader strategy,
    co-ordinated by the party or PMO, to shut down the ongoing Senate scandal
    which, like a dripping tap, kept delivering fresh embarrassments almost daily
    to the Conservative brand.

    • How much of Justin Trudeau’s ill gotten speaking fees have gone to his leadership campaigns, or donated to the Liberal Party of Canada? Do you believe it’s right for someone to collect $20,000 for speaking to school children and then funneling that money to the Liberal Party of Canada? Because frankly, I find it disgusting that a so-called leader would take money that was intended for children’s education and use it for personal gain. But that’s Trust Fund Trudeau for you!

      • You went from being clueless about how much of Trudeau’s fees if any might have made it into party coffers to ” Do you believe it’s right for someone to collect $20,000 for speaking to school children and then funneling that money to the Liberal Party of Canada?”

        What I find disgusting is the partial truths and innuendo presented as facts by shills like you in defence of a corrupt, lieing and criminal enterprise like the Harper government.

        How would you explain to children that stealing and lieing is wrong if you constantly excuse it in people you support?

        • So you find all the Rob Ford stories to be disgusting because they’re based on non-truths and innuendo presented as facts?

          Oh no, that’s right. You believe it’s 100% true, even though there isn’t a shred of evidence in that case. Here, we know that Trudeau was charging schools five-figure sums to give a speech, while he was the Liberal Youth Critic. Those are facts, to which he has admitted. Now are you going to tell me that Trust Fund Trudeau hasn’t contributed any money to his own campaigns or to the Liberal Party of Canada? HA! Probably not, he expects others to do it for him, just like everything else he’s “accomplished” in his sorry life.

          • defelct, deny, distract…
            Wing nut MO in action.
            You made stuff up and then assumed it was true (distract). Then you ignored the fact you did this (deny) and finally you threw in some random BS to cover up for your abject lying (deflect).
            Ah no wonder you voted for Harper, birds of a feather hey?

          • You made stuff up (a fake video that doesn’t exist). Then you ignored the fact you did this. Finally you threw in some random BS to cover up for your abject lying (right here, this is the deflection).

            You’re completely blind to your own hypocrisy.

          • I didn’t make up the video, three people said they had seen it and reported on the fact.
            You’re sounding very shrill and desperate now.