The Conservatives’ damage control deals: Mike Duffy’s not the first case

Paul Wells on Alan Riddell and the 2006 federal election


Sean Kilpatrick/CP

Yesterday’s bizarre news — that the Nigel Wright-Mike Duffy cheque was, according to an investigating RCMP officer’s affidavit, the culmination of a long process involving a handful of PMO and Conservative Party worthies — raises a lot of questions. One striking element is the participants’ apparent comfort with using Conservative Party funds to make political problems go away. In the end, that didn’t happen here, although apparently only because Duffy’s debts exceeded the Conservatives’ comfort with digging into the kitty for damage control.

Is $30,000, the amount mentioned in the RCMP memo, the upper limit of the Conservative bailout fund’s elasticity? Has anything like this happened before?

Turns out the ceiling is demonstrably at least a little higher than $30,000. And we know that because something rather similar to the Wright-Duffy deal did happen before, at the dawn of the Harper years. That case wound up in court, and the events that guided the judge were rather different from the version peddled publicly by party officials.

At the beginning of the campaign for the 2006 election, an Ottawa lawyer named Alan Riddell stepped aside as the Conservatives’ nominated candidate in the Ottawa South riding. The party wanted to run Alan Cutler, a public servant who had blown the whistle on the Liberal sponsorship scandal, in the riding. Besides, as a candidate Riddell was, to some extent, less than ideal. He had run for the Conservatives in 2004 and lost after the Ottawa Sun ran an embarrassing story about a prank Riddell had played in his student days. (He’d dressed up as a character from Hogan’s Heroes, and I don’t mean Corporal LeBeau. A bit of a no-no, in retrospect.) After he lost the Sun retracted much of its story, but the damage was done. So, under some pressure from the party in 2006, Riddell dropped out, the party thanked him for his efforts, and Cutler became the candidate.

Then a CBC reporter asked Riddell why he had pulled out of the race so late. Riddell replied that the party made it easy by agreeing to cover his campaign expenses. He put the cost at about $50,000. Reporters following Harper on the campaign trail promptly asked him about the deal with Riddell. “In fact there is no agreement and he hasn’t been paid anything,” Harper said. When asked again later that day — it was the end of 2005 and Harper was still the kind of guy who might deign to scrum twice in one day — he repeated himself: “The party does not have an agreement to pay Mr. Riddell these expenses, and Mr. Riddell has not been paid anything to date.”

Unfortunately for Harper’s version of events, there was an email trail, which somebody on Riddell’s campaign promptly leaked to reporters. Riddell wound up suing the party for his expenses. On January 11, 2007, Judge Denis Power of Ontario Superior Court ruled “that Alan M. Riddell and the Conservative Party of Canada entered into a binding agreement on November 25, 2005.” He could hardly reach any other conclusion. Among the evidence produced in court was a November 25 email from Mike Donison, the Conservatives’ former director general, to Riddell’s lawyer. The email read, in part: “There is now a binding agreement between Mr. Riddell and the Conservative Party of Canada.”

Donison and Don Plett, the party’s former president, testified that Riddell had cancelled the agreement by speaking about it to reporters. But they were unable to produce a scrap of written evidence of such a confidentiality clause.

How much did Harper know about the deal? Apparently a fair bit. In testimony at trial, Don Plett, the party’s former president, said he and other party officials had met with Riddell on November 21. “We assure[d] Mr. Riddell that we were representatives there representing, among others, the Prime Minister, at that time the Leader of the Opposition,” Plett testified. “Ian Brodie made it quite clear that’s who he was representing when he came. We discussed some financial compensation, paying Alan Riddell’s nomination expenses.” The evidence also included an earlier email from Donison to Ray Novak, Harper’s closest advisor and future chief of staff, informing him of the status of negotiations. (“He truly is an idiot,” Donison writes in that email, referring to Riddell.)

So it was clear there was a “binding agreement.” It was clear Harper was in the loop. And it was clear that, even after his party’s private business became public, Harper preferred to claim there was no such business. This story is worth repeating because it demonstrates again two of Harper’s work habits: a preoccupation with confidentiality and a willingness to use money to make a problem go away.

Does 2006 prove anything about 2013? Of course not. To me it’s plausible that the lesson Harper might draw from the Riddell affair was that he must never be told of such matters. But the party’s willingness to apply money to problems seems to persist.


The Conservatives’ damage control deals: Mike Duffy’s not the first case

  1. I believe that would be (now) Senator Plett, yes ?

  2. ” This story is worth repeating because it demonstrates again two of Harper’s work habits: a preoccupation with confidentiality and a willingness to use money to make a problem go away.”
    That should be three habits: the proven willingness to lie about the first two, in the first instance, seems highly likely in the present situation as well.

    • Something also present in Rob Ford.

      It’s almost like they’re being taught this stuff at training facility. I wonder who would be Manning such a Centre, and if there was some way to demand lists of previous clients.

    • Shhh…we’re not allowed to call lying liars out as the liars they are. It’s shrill.

    • As one who will vote on both sides of the fence on policy with consideration for the financial and economic situations Canada faces, I can not blame Stephen Harper for Mike Duffy’s shocking alleged public troughing. He’s brought alleged shame to his party, and it’s ‘murican style partisan to hang the sins of senators who need a good kick in the character ethics on a hard working Prime Minister.
      It’s your kind of non objective hanging jury attitude that has caused Stephen Harper to feel that he has to close ranks. Party partisanship is divisive.
      Each case must be looked at on its own merit. Duffy fails so far.
      Harper doesn’t, imo. As Canadians, we must keep our eye on the long term ball.

      • Is it reasonable to believe that so many who are close to
        Harper knew about the Duffy issue and that Harper had no idea? Is it likely that after firing Wright he still knew nothing? That sounds like willfully blindness at best and corruption at its likeliest. Harper love to judge others and to condemn them, yet here he is bleating out the same defences he condemned Martin of.

        • Is it reasonable Harper knew nothing about Riddell, a losing 2004 candidate? Yes. And you can’t indict by making things up or imputing connections. Harper was very busy in 2005, planning a campaign that would make him Prime Minister, and being a fairly shrewd Opposition Leader. And making speeches around the country (for the party and country, not on the Trudeau plan). It’s like suggesting Pierre Trudeau knew Pierre Laporte was going to be kidnapped and murdered by the FLQ because both were politicians, from Quebec, had French last names AND the same first name…

          • Your analogy about the FLQ is rediculous. Four of Harpers closest advisors in the PMO and another in the Senate all knew yet he did not? If true, it is due to not wanting to know which is the same thing morally and ethically. I do not believe either Harper nor others in his office when they say he was completely unaware. He should be firing them by now for keeping him in the dark if he expected them to tell him. Plausible deniability may work legally but not morally or ethically. This brings me to his fitness for office.he is either a liar, incompetent or willfully ignorant. Regardless which, he needs to go.

          • Harper’s closest advisors were involved, as the article makes clear. Then as now, one of two things has to be true: (1) either Harper knew, and lied when he said otherwise; or (2) he was deliberately kept in the dark by those closest to him – and when things came to light he deliberately avoided asking them the truth so he could continue to claim a lack of knowledge. Neither situation paints a good picture of the PM and his advisors.

          • If he latter scenario is true, why have those PMO staffers not been fired.

          • Why indeed?

        • I appreciate your measured and rational response. I feel that as Prime Minister, he has a country to run, and appointed cookie jar Senator Duffy’s peccadillo belongs on the desks of ethics commissioner or the RCMP depending on the laws dealing with such things. I view Harper’s bleating as a sadly reactive, and not proactive, response to the lowered standard of discourse that Parliament and opposition and some media have sunk to. I actually turn off the t.v. in despair, waiting for a Statesman to appear who comports himself or herself with dignity and decorum, fairness along with respect in question period, or in the public media. Stephen Harper has had to resort to speaking as he is being spoken to. He is duly elected Prime Minister, and should be treated with respect to foster respect back. He is normally a thoughtful and respectful person.

          • Thoughtful and respectful? Are you suggesting he also was unaware that his minions were going to get up during Members statements and make childish jokes about Stephan DIon? Whatever else you want to say about his leadership, Dion always conducted himself with dignity and decorum, and in return he was mocked, mercilessly, by the schoolboys in the PMO.

            Harper is responsible for the way he conducts himself. You cannot blame the media or the opposition for that. He is the leader and he is supposed to set the tone.

            I think Harper is a smart man, and I accept he is doing what he thinks is right for the country. I accept there are millions of people who agree with his goals. However, he does not get there by acting like a Statesman, as you put it. He is ruthless and seems to believe the ends justify the means, no matter what. He does not get my respect for that.

          • A good many people would argue that Harper himself is one of the primary drivers behind “the lowered standard of discourse”. Pay attention to is complete lack of responsiveness to the vast majority of questions in the HoC; the way he instead attacks his opponents every chance he gets; the attack dogs he uses regularly in the HoC as his proxies. Consider his unwillingness to take questions from the press. The constant issuance of attack ads. The spending of taxpayer money for promotional ads. Etc.

            The man and his team show no respect and thus do not deserve respect. You reap what you sow.

        • Harper is using the Sgt. Schultz defence.

          • Yeah that always works too. I would like to see him take a polygraph

      • Sounds like a comment that should have also applied to Chrétien and the Adscam affair. But of course it only works for a Con, and that means Harper and his regime associates.

        • You seem to be taking a ” poor little victim” stance. Everyone else is bad but we are the only ones who get critisized approach is a very bad response. When I recall Harper’s self righteous condemnations of Paul Martin he never gave any quarter, but now he wants to hide behind the excuse that others before did the same. Yeah? Well, I guess when you live in a glass house , you should not throw stones. Harper lives in the ” glass house” and threw stones and now he is seen for what a hypocrite he truely is. Chikenrs are coming home to roost.

      • I don’t blame Harper for Duffy’s expense-padding. I do blame him for doing his best to cover it up after the fact. It is yet another example of Party before Country thinking that is evident throughout the CPC as exemplified in Harper.

        Harper’s go-to reaction to anything negative is to lie and deny, rather than facing it and dealing with it – this being merely the latest example. Not the mark of good leadership. I much prefer someone who is willing to acknowledge a problem and seek input to finding a solution.

      • ” …it’s ‘murican style partisan to hang the sins of senators who need a
        good kick in the character ethics on a hard working Prime Minister.”


        Having made the choice to appoint Senators after vowing not to, and then chosing a guy who’d already demonstrated a lack of ethical judgement(in fact it’s hard not to think that very lack of ethics recommended him), along with another who is a deadbeat dad facing a sexual harassment complaint, he doesn’t then get to throw up his hands and cry that it’s not his fault.

  3. Other lesson learned by Harper was to just lie about knowing anything. Then just keep repeating the lie until your lie magically becomes the new mutant truth. Canadians deserve better than this CPC bunch of wheelin dealin steezers.

    • And your proof of said actions? You have none.

      • This is not a courDufy debacle

        • Disqus won’t let me edit this -pls ignore.

      • Sorry, this is not a court of law – we’re using the smell test at this moment. It was never plausible that Harper only found out about this May 15, and now that Wright had said he told others in the PMO, including Harps lawyer, it is not believable that he didn’t know that the Duffy situation was being ‘fixed’.

        • Not a court of law? Oh, I see, evidence rules don’t apply. We can just make up anything we want, say it stinks, then stone someone.

          Not in my Canada. I don’t want Justin Trudeau hanged. He says he’ll return money to groups he ripped off — including unions and corporations buying influence by the back door, so I’ll believe him. Mulcair caught repeatedly taking illegal funds from unions but he didn’t know? I’ll believe him, too.

          Do leaders know every nuance of their huge and sprawling parties? Do they have time to be told everything? Are they sometimes shielded so they have plausible deniability?

          You say they’re never shielded, they know all. Right.

          At least it’s refreshing to have someone admit the facts are unimportant.

          • If you want to go to court, it looks like you’re wish may be granted. How naiive are you to think the public doesn’t make judgements about politicians? And how can you not see that Harper has not helped his case by not being forthcoming about what he and others knew right from the start. What are his issues management people doing anyway? If he had just let Duffy face his problems on his own, the scandal would be long
            gone by now.

          • I’m not naive. I have advised people on communication strategies, though never Harper. Prime Ministers focus on the big job, not small ball. The person who filled out Duffy’s paperwork — Diane Scharf — was temporarily filling in for someone on maternity leave. But she had decades of experience, having worked for a laundry list of Liberals and Conservatives, over time. She told Glen McGregor of PostMedia in May that she found the paper work confusing despite her experience:

            “She says she had trouble keeping track of Duffy’s whereabouts because he travelled often.

            “Mike was so busy and so much in demand. ‘Go here, go there, do this, do that’ – it was hard to know if he was in Ottawa or P.E.I.”

            She said she would fill out the forms in Duffy’s office and he would sign them later.

            “If I made a mistake in filling out a form, I’m happy to own up to it,” Scharf said.”

            The quotes are all from a Glen McGregor article easily found via google, but seemingly ignored by the media.

            “Scharf contends that Duffy, who resigned from Conservative caucus, is being unfairly blamed for what could be clerical mistakes on her part or others in his office.

            “I’m just sick over it. And I’m sure the girl who has worked there longer than I is beside herself,” she said.

            “The last person that we would want to cause heartache to is Mike Duffy.”

            When she worked for him, Scharf said, she would typically complete the expense claim forms in Duffy’s office, put them in a signature book with other documents, then send them down for him to sign while he was in the Senate chamber.”

            More still:

            “But Scharf said the Senate finance officials seemed disorganized and would often reject claims they had filed.

            “If we were claiming for a period that we shouldn’t have, according to them, why didn’t they say something? They are such a bunch of mixed up people over there.”

            Duffy also complained to her about apparent confusion in Senate finance, Scharf said.

            “They hire a very lot of young girls,” Scharf said. “I just think you have to have your head on your shoulders if you’re handling finances.”

            Scharf has worked for two other senators, Conservatives Denise Batters and Betty Unger, and had also worked for former Liberal MP Dennis Mills.

            She also worked in the press office of then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau, alongside his aides Patrick Gossage, Suzanne Perry and Colin Kenny, who is now a senator.

            She said Duffy was the hardest working politician she had served with on the Hill and was even working while he was in Florida in 2012 – a period for which Duffy has admitted he claimed $85 per diems in error.

            “He’s not a golfer. He’s not a horseback rider. He’s not a water-skier. He’s just a workaholic.”

            In a letter to Sen. David Tkachuk, of the Senate committee on
            internal economy, Duffy blamed the Florida claims on a temporary employee in his office, apparently referring to Scharf.

            Scharf says no one from the Senate or Deloitte ever contacted her to discuss how the expense and per diem claims were processed in Duffy’s office.

            She hasn’t heard from Duffy since the spotlight turned on his
            expenses but has been told by former co-workers on the Hill that he feels awful about it.

            “It’s such a grief of heart. He never wanted to do anything that was wrong or illegal or crooked or anything like that. It’s just a mix-up.”

            So, tell me, how was this information supposed to be known by Harper? Do you know how many offices there are on Parliament Hill? Just in Langevin, East Block, Centre Block, West Block, South Block and Confederation there are thousands of office personnel, shuffling paper here and there, sending their bosses on planes here and there. It’s a very busy place. Based on this McGregor article which I found in the may 30th Calgary Herald online but which is likely in every Postmedia paper, the whole Duffy affair is another contrivance of an opposition and media which should focus on whether big dollars on programs are spent right or do the job intended. None of the media knows diddily about the Senate so few people outside Ottawa do. And that’s why our media has so poorly explained it all. Nobody in Ottawa fills out their own expense forms, they just sign them. Sometimes they’re wrong.

          • This is very interesting I must say – and as Connie Chung once said – just between you and me – why do you think poor Duffy is being scapegoated like this and thrown under the bus by Harper? One day Van Loan was praising his leadership and the next he was just taken out like yesterday’s trash.
            If you are close to Mr. Duffy why don’t you suggest he hold a press conference to explain everything. Maybe Ms. Scharf could join him and explain how complicated this darn paperwork is.

          • Even assuming Scharf wasn’t paid or otherwise convinced to fall on her sword like so many other CPC flunkies before her, this is still a red herring. Duffy’s purported malfeasance is really the smaller part of the issue; the attempted payoff and coverup stemming from the PMO – and Harper either lying about what he knew and when or deliberately going out of his way not to know once things started to unravel – is by far the bigger issue.

  4. Riddell, Penashue, Cadman…

    • Oda, the guy who left secret docs at his girlfriends…..

  5. I’m struck by Harper’s willingness to bold-faced lie about the matter multiple times.

    • Why not? It’s not like anyone has ever done anything about it.

  6. The Riddell case demonstrated how the Harper-CPC works. Strike a shady, maybe illegal backroom deal never meant to see the light of day, but if secrecy is broken, the Harper-CPC will throw everything they have at you, to try to destroy you. Jenni Byrne was quoted as saying she wanted to see Riddell squirm … for what – for speaking the truth, for transparency!

    News that Harper had settled the Riddell case out of court came at the start of a long weekend and apparently there was a binding confidentiality agreement to that settlement.

    • In 2006, the CPC naively assumed people with whom it struck back room deals realized that their agreements must not see the light of day. I assume they’ve since converted that assumption into binding threats. In 2013, the CPC naively assumed that Canadians wouldn’t be interested in how Duffy came by the money, just that the debt was cleared. That’s the problem with ethics. It’s not how but why.

    • Cadman. Riddell. In-and-out. Robocalls. “Shadow” MPs (eg. Cotler). The guide on how to disrupt committees. 10 percenters. Unprecedented prorogations to avoid votes. Moving ordinary committee work in camera. Accessing personal medical records of your critics. Passing legislation permanently protecting records from 11 ministries from disclosure… forever. Arbitrary arrests during G20. Absconding with security funds to help your MP get elected. Now the party payoff to Duffy.
      We don’t live in a dictatorship and Harper is not a tyrant and I absolutely hate it when I hear those kinds of claims. But what the he** kind of government is this becoming?
      At what point does the frog in the pot realize the bubbles in the water means danger.

      • @ted – Thanks for that reminder list, with the Chuck Cadman affair as the first mention.

        I’m curious that PW did not mention it but then Aurthur Hamilton, the $500/hr lawyer of choice for the CPC, probably has a libel suit ready to go if anyone in the media dares to mention it again.

        I’m at the point now where, if any conservative were to actually come clean and tell the truth, I would not believe it.

        • Your only proof for not believing them now is someone else’s say-so. You people are hilarious to read, like a bunch of gossips taking thin gruel and claiming it’s a multi-course feast.

          • If it were just one or two of these items, you might have a point. But sadly, Ted’s rather lengthy list isn’t even a comprehensive one. When you have that many items – many of them proven, not merely alleged – it ought to be a clear indictment of the government and obvious proof they need to be turfed. (And yes, I did think it was time for the Liberals to go even before Adscam, despite them generally being my party of preference; the signs were there that we needed renewal.)

            But for some people, the blinders are too tightly affixed. Party Before Country, CPC supporters!!! Truth be damned!!!

      • Yeah, despite the good things the Conservatives have done while in power, that list pretty much erases any goodwill they might have earned from me and they will be forever remembered as the government who tarnished our once credible international reputation and publicly bullied anyone who disagreed with them.

        I believe Harper wants to help Canada but he lost his way a long time ago and he has trampled on what little democracy we actually have.

    • You do realize you’re exiting the field of fair comment and entering the realm of libel, don’t you?

      • Care to point out exactly what in her statement is libellous? I certainly don’t see anything.

  7. There was also Harper’s (alleged) bribe to Chuck Cadman to attempt to make the then government fall. Still must call it ‘alleged,’ despite Cadman’s own wife–while campaigning as a Conservative–admitting Harper offered them the $1M bribe.

    Definitely a pattern and a mind-melting level of disrespect to Conservative party donators.

    • I prefer to use Harper’s own words (which therefor cannot be libel) that he offered Cadman “financial considerations” for staying with the party and voting against the Liberals.

  8. Might I suggest this. “Duffy’s debts exceeded the Conservatives’ comfort with digging into the kitty for damage control” be colourified as “digging in the kitty litter”?

  9. Reminds me of another old allegation of Conservative corruption. Remember when Harper was caught on tape discussing offering a life insurance policy for the terminally ill Cadman in exchange for his support in the house? Harper claimed that the tape was doctored, yet subsequent analysis of the tape proved that the tape was NOT doctored. The controversy at that time was that offering a dying man an insurance policy in exchange for his support on a vote of confidence in the house was and is most definitely illegal. Hmm, bit of a pattern emerging. Curious that there has never been a prosecution on the Cadman affair after all this time.

  10. Of course he lied. Lying has never been a problem for this PM. I will never forget Harper staring into the camera during the 2011 election debate where he repeated over and over again that he had never entered into an agreement with the NDP and the Bloc to form a coalition against the Liberals. Stared straight into the camera without blinking.

    That Harper would lie about this, that and the other is not what is shocking. What is mind boggling is that he was allowed to get away with it every time.

    • Another fascinating one was telling Canada the opposition had voted against their budget when they had voted him in contempt for not providing financial disclosure on government purchases. And THAT one was clearly untrue and easily checked.

  11. this is not the only case they Did the same in a by election in BC, they asked MP Jim Hart
    step aside & he would receive 50k from party so that Stockwell day could Run

    BC PEOPLE ALL KNOW THE FACTS > Jim Hart resigned as a Member of Parliament in order so that newly elected Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day could enter the House of Commons through a by-election. After the by-election, Hart received a severance payment of $50,000 from the Canadian Alliance, which prompted a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) inquiry. The Canadian Alliance maintained that the payment was made to cover lost income between the time of his resignation and the date of the next election, and was not an inducement.

    there has been much criticism by Hart on the issue as I believe he did not get the 50k promised. THIS APPEARS TO BE A PATTERN FOR THE CONSERVITIVES!!!!!!
    He had been living on 277.00 monthly pension with wife & now last week PM Harper appointed him to the Parole Board,

    • Oh thank you, I knew there was another one – couldn’t remember the name, thought it was Alberta. So now he’s on the PB – that is just great.

  12. Leftist Mental Disorder is constantly on display on these threads.

    There is help people, get some.

    • You wouldn’t understand. Lack of insight is one of the symptoms of your own disorder.

      However, you don’t seem to be even marginally relevant, let alone present a danger to self or others, so carry on.

    • But BB would be crying “foul” if the parties were reversed?
      Does the smell test only count when it’d the other guys BB?

    • Life is still rosy inside the bubble………

  13. But…but…Sponsorship scandal!

    • Lol

      • Still aground on that lee shore I see…………..hahahaha

    • But….but… because Justin Trudeau!

      • That doesn’t even make sense.

        • I do believe that was the point :-)

    • Oh ya, where the Liberals were stealing taxpayer dollars to fund the Liberal party? Where as in this instance CPC funds were being used to pay back taxpayers. Which is the worse scandal? Pretty obvious to me.

      • Rick. Do try and get accurate information. The CPC was using tax payer money and donations. The Liberal innuendo is also false. You obviously went to the CPC school of business.

      • That made my day…thanks Rick! :)

  14. Who paid back Peter Penashue’s loan…$28,000?

    • Who’s paying back Mac Harb’s stolen money?

      • He paid it off himself and has appealed. Nice try though.

        • Harb has only paid $51,000 of what he owes;

          In May, the Senate internal economy committee said Harb owed $51,000
          in expenses claimed over the past two years. In June, Harb was sent a
          letter ordering him to pay that amount.

          In a letter from the chair of the internal economy committee, the
          Senate advised Harb to repay more than $231,000 claimed since 2005 or
          face an extensive audit of his expense claims over that period.

      • Ah – Mac Harb.

        • Mac Harb is a Liberal, so anything he does, or doesn’t do, is ok.
          This is set out in the posting guidelines for this blog.

  15. What other kind of job has a policy where illegal actions will be hushed up to a limit of $30,000?

  16. A fraud a day keeps the dippers away, say the double and triple dipping conservacon teabaggers aka the Harper Government.

  17. Didn’t the Conservatives use party money to pay off Peter Penashue’s ineligible campaign contributions earlier this year? I believe it was reported at the time. It appears to have come from the CPC, rather than out of his own pocket.

  18. Ah c’mon now guys. What’s a party to do with all that spare cash if not pay off the boys, end run the system or invest in burner phones?

  19. In light of previous lies, can we all just agree to call Harper’s current actions ‘plausible acceptability’? So much more accurate than the over-used ‘plausible deniability’ so often invoked in such matters.

    • My point exactly. Had it been anyone else, we likely would have had to abide by the notion of plausible deniability. But this is Stephen Harper and we all know he lies.

  20. This quote from Harper about adscam should be emblazoned on a flag over the Parliament buildings until we finally oust him for the despot he is. Egypt can teach us a few things about protecting our government from people like him.

    “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.’ ”

  21. Not quite the same as replacing some poor little rich senator’s illegally acquired taxpayer dollars with graft. I think they – Cons – are getting worse, unfortunately not such a far fall that they are likely to hurt themselves. And if not LeBeau who? Schultz? Hogan? Klink? The bosomy secretary? I’ll be up all afternoon.

  22. The Harper supporters also paid off the $52,000 fine for cheating in the 2006 elections. Two of the people charged in that case were Doug Finley and Irving Gerstein. Harper immediately appointed them into the senate. Finley was also involved in the bribe to Chuck Cadman.

    One has to start questioning where they are getting all this party money from? I’m getting suspicious it’s not legal considering how this party operates. They have been shown to use employees from some companies to make party donations and they pay them back and the employee then gets a tax deduction for helping out. Political parties are an easy way for corruption and crime to be covered up. They need to be done away with.

  23. Leave it to the brilliant Liberal serial commenters here to try to make a scandal out of paying taxpayers back. Stealing from tax payers is OK to Liberals (see Mac Harb) but paying taxpayers back is apparently NOT cool. Funny how that works.

    • I don’t think I qualify as a Liberal commenter, not being a Liberal, but I can tell you that I believe anyone who submitted false expense claims whatever their party affiliation should be arrested and charged with fraud so that the courts can decide.

      I believe that anyone who countenanced or attempted to protect someone who submitted false expense claims with secret payments of whatever origin is unfit to serve in the Prime Minister’s Office (or the Senate) and should be dismissed without compensation.

      I also expect that any Member of Parliament, particularly a Member of Privy Council, who told the House of Commons that Nigel Wright acted alone should at the very least, stand in his place and apologize for misleading parliament and Canadians. The Prime Minister should also tell all of us, what he is going to do to ensure that subsequent appointees, either to his own office, the Senate, or government agencies will demonstrate a high standard of service not just to the Conservative Party but to the Canadian public that pays their salaries.

    • Rick: How many Harb defenders have you seen on this comment board? I can’t recall a single one. Harb deserves whatever he gets. His behaviour reflects solely upon himself – not on his party.

      You’ll note that Braseau seldom comes up either.

      Duffy would fall into the exact same category if the CPC hadn’t tried to cover up the mess. It is the Party’s / PMO’s actions subsequent to Duffy’s bad behaviour that made this the mess it has become.

  24. Your beloved Lieberals recent history;

    Over thirty six RCMP investigations of

    Chretien’s Shawinigate, fired the president of BDBC for refusing
    loan to friend.
    Chretien still owned shares in golf course, lied
    to Parliament and Canadian’s.
    Pettigrew’s HRDC Job Training
    Grants Scandal, over $1 billion missing, Auditor
    General blocked
    from investigating, dumped in the lap of Jane Stewart who took all
    heat and eventually resigned.

    Alan Rock’s Gun Registry Fiasco, over $2 billion wasted,
    questionable contracts
    blocked from investigation by Auditor

    Paul Martin’s CSL received over $162 million from taxpayer’s
    pockets, Auditor
    General blocked from examining contracts and
    loans. Curiously that is almost the exact
    ammount that Paul Martin
    owed the loan syndicate for his purchase of CSL from Paul
    of Power Corporation.

    Sponsorship Scandal, Gomery Inquiry, total whitewash, Gomery not
    allowed to look
    at Earnscliffe contracts.
    Earnscliffe Contracts
    Scandal, contracts let by Paul Martin while Finance
    Minister in
    response to Sponsorship, because his friends weren’t getting in on
    the pork

    Technology Partnerships Scandal, Auditor General blocked from
    investigating by
    Martin and Emerson.

    The Dingwall Scandal, Liberal’s paid him severence when

    Dingwall implicated in the Technology Partnerships for illegal
    lobbying and
    receiving illegal fees.

    Private Foundations Scandal, $9 billion disappeared, no
    accounting, Auditor
    General blocked from investigating.

    Income Trust Scandal, destroyed $22 billion in retirement savings
    value of
    Canadian’s, well connected Liberal’s profit from
    insider trading. He who had a meeting with
    Bay Street insiders,
    one of them a best friend, just hours before he made the
    that the government wouldn’t be taxing Income Trusts.

    Auditor General blocked from investigating several crown
    corporations and
    agencies,among those are Canada Post, Via Rail,
    Export Development Corporation, Canada
    Wheat Board, Canada
    Investment Development Corporation, etc.

    Going back to Trudeau, the Auditor General has never been allowed
    to investigate
    the creation, acquisitions and operations of Petro
    Canada while a Crown Corporation.
    Maurice Strong, who has been
    named in the UN Oil for Food Scandal and is of
    interest to the
    FBI, was Trudeau’s appointee who was responsible for PetroCan’s
    creation and
    operation. When PetroCan bought Petrofina, that
    companies book value was $562
    million, yet Maurice Strong paid
    $2.5 billion taxpayer dollars for it. Mr. Strong is also
    Martin’s mentor and is responsible for bringing us the Kyoto
    Accord, which is
    nothing, but a socialist vehicle for wealth
    redistribution, good thing Climategate happened when it did.

    Remember these are just the highlights, there are so many
    instances of
    misappropriations of under $50,000 it boggles the

    • Hmm the thing is Rick, money in CPC coffers is tax payer money.

      • Taxpayers who vote for the Conservatives, who probably pay more taxes than the opposition supporters combined.

        • Are you forgetting that all political donations qualify for generous tax deductions, thus costing every taxpayer through the subsidy. Of course, that generous donation relief is one that the greasy Cons have no problem in taking advantage of, since they can snicker in their sleeves and on their burner phones on how all these ‘generous paybacks’ and ‘correctios’ are being subsidized by supporters of Green, NDP and Liberal donors…

          • being subsidized by supporters of Green, NDP and Liberal donors.?????

            Are you on drugs?

            There are more CPC supporters donating more money and paying more taxes than the opposition supporters.

          • “paying more taxes”??? Got something to back that up? The CPC have yet to crack 40% of the popular vote; let’s see your demographic evidence that a significantly greater proportion of their voters are middle-class (because we all know a good many of the rich have played the loophole game and pay very little – so even assuming they all vote CPC they aren’t likely to coiunterbalance the rest of us).

    • Again, you go all the way back to Trudeau, but somehow ignore the buffet table of corruption scandals, criminal investigations and bags of lobbyist money handed over during Mulroney’s two terms in office. Partisan Truth Selective Disorder?

      • I’m no fan of Mulroney, the fact is that Trudeau Sr., Mulroney, Chretien and Martin are/were all part of the Power Corp cabal.

        • Harper is a Power Corp patsey as well, don’t kid yourself..

          • May 2, 2003 – For many years, astute political
            observers have noted what appears to be an unusually powerful web of
            influence over Canadian federal politics by wealthy Canadian businessman
            and Power Corporation founder, Paul Desmarais senior. The number of
            Prime Ministers and other elected and influential Canadians financially
            beholden to the Quebec based Canadian nationalist is astonishing.

            In an Ottawa Citizen article of May 2, 1995 columnist Paul Gessell
            asked “Why does Desmarais have a direct pipeline into every Prime
            Minister’s office, regardless of who occupies that post or what party is
            in power?” Following is LifeSite’s summary of the most significant
            elements of the Desmarais web of influence.

            * Current Prime Minister Jean Chretien sat on the board of Power
            Corp. subsidiary Consolidated Bathurst Inc. before becoming leader of
            the Liberal Party. Chretien’s daughter France is married to Paul
            Desmarais’ son Andre. Andre was involved in Canadian power station
            projects in China. Chretien personally withdrew Canadian support of a UN
            condemnation of China’s human rights abuses after Chinese officials
            threatened to take power station projects away from Canadian firms. The
            Prime Minister’s nephew, Raymond Chretien, is now Canada’s Ambassador to
            France.” Chretien’s “advisor, counsellor and strategist” for the past
            30 years has been Mitchel Sharp, who brought Chretien into politics when
            he was Finance Minister. From 1981 onwards Sharp was Vice-Chairman for
            North America of David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission.

            * In her April 17, 2003 National Post column Diane Francis notes that
            Chretien heir apparent, Paul Martin, was hired in the 1960s to work for
            Paul Desmarais senior by Maurice Strong. In 1974, Francis writes,
            “Desmarais made Martin president of Canada Steamship Lines and then, in
            1981, made him spectacularly rich by selling the company to him and a
            partner…” She follows, “It all begs a number of questions, Did Mr.
            Desmarais give away the company to Mr. Martin? Did Mr. Desmarais lend
            him the money or guarantee the loan? And what does this mean in terms of
            his allegiance or loyalty to Mr. Desmarais and his empire in Canada and

            * An August 5, 1994 Globe and Mail article noted that “Another prime
            minister, long-time family friend, Pierre Trudeau (now deceased), sits
            on Power’s star-studded international advisory board.”

            * Ted Johnson, A former Trudeau assistant, and a friend of Chretien’s
            chief of staff, Eddie Goldenberg (more powerful than most MPs and even
            Cabinet Ministers), was vice-president, secretary and legal counsel to
            Power Corp.

            * Michael Pitfield, the super-bureaucrat under the Trudeau
            government, was a vice-chairman of Power Corp and is still listed as a
            Director Emeritus.

            * Maurice Strong became President of Power Corp by his mid-thirties.
            From there he became a Liberal Party bureaucrat and created the
            controversial, left-wing Canadian International Development Agency
            (CIDA). In 1976, still under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, he was
            appointed to run Petro Canada, the state-run oil company. This wealthy
            ex-Desmarais employee is an architect of the Kyoto accord and has been a
            powerful advocate of UN world governance and world de-population. He
            is an advisor to both the UN Secretary General and the president of the
            World Bank. With former Soviet President Michael Gorbachev he
            co-authored the infamous “Earth Charter” which Strong, Gorbachev and
            numerous prominent allies are hoping will guide a new world order based
            on “planetary ethics”. The Charter reads like a new age ten commandments
            and includes language supporting abortion. Strong also supports a one
            world religion. See http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2000/jun/00063006.html
            See also http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2000/jan/00011302.html

            * Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Desmarais go back at least
            as far as 1972. Mulroney friend Ian MacDonald described Desmarais as
            “Mulroney’s mentor in the business world.” Mulroney has done legal work
            for Desmarais since his spectacular election loss at the end of his
            second term as Prime Minister.

            * Former Mulroney Cabinet Minister Don Mazankowski is currently Power’s company director.

            * Former Ontario Conservative premiers William Davis and John Robarts sat on Power’s national advisory board.

            * John Rae, the brother of former Ontario New Democratic (Socialist)
            Premier Bob Rae is currently listed as Power’s Executive Vice-President,
            Office of the Chairman of the Executive Committee (Paul Desmarais).

            * Former Quebec premier Daniel Johnson worked for Power from 1973 to
            1981 and in the last of those three years was vice-president.

            * The May 11, 1996 Toronto Star reported that “Desmarais’ worldwide
            political connections have resulted in an international advisory board
            featuring such luminaries as former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt;
            Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, former oil minister of Saudi Arabia, Paul
            Volcker, former head of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board and former prime
            minister Pierre Trudeau.”

            * There have been indications that the fabled de Rothchild family of
            Europe has been playing a role in Desmarais’ international expansion.
            For example, the Nov. 20, 2002 Financial Post covered the opening of Sir
            Evelyn de Rothchild’s investment bank’s Montreal office. Quebec’s
            business elite were present in force, headed by – Paul Desmarais Jr.

            Ottawa Citizen’s Gessell ends his column on Desmarais, “When Chretien
            retires and a leadership convention is held to replace him, chances are
            Desmarais will be on hand. Finance Minister (now former) Paul Martin
            (from Quebec, as were Trudeau, Mulroney and Chretien) could quite
            possibly be Chretien’s successor. And who taught Martin how to succeed
            in business? None other than his former employer, Paul Desmarais.”

        • So there’s good corruption and bad corruption? That’s a new way of looking at things; please elaborate.

      • You did notice that my posts subject was Lieberal history………not Lieberal/Mulroney PC history?

        • I notice that you continually trot out this selective list of scandals to deflect attention from current day corruption, and I’m inferring that you are blindly partisan and uninterested in good government, or you would withdraw your support for a government which is engaging in the same behaviour or worse.

          • same behaviour or worse?

            Are you huffing solvents again?

          • Toby’s point: Proven.

    • The only income trust scandal I remember wears Harper’s imprimatur.

      All these guys have been turfed from office. I therefore presume you are advocating Harper be tossed for his bad behaviour (thank you for finally seeing the light).

      But if not, then why the hell are you dredging up the past? To praise them?

  25. I find some of the conservative comments here confusing.

    Fraud is bad when the Liberals do it, but when conservatives commit fraud their defence is that the Liberals did it too?

    It is bad to funnel tax dollars to your supporters, but it is OK to use tax dollars to cover up the fact that your guy was being paid by taxpayers while he was campaigning for the Conservatives?

    Just where do you people draw the line?

    • You are confused, the comments aren’t.

      • Heh. Don’t worry. You are the last one I expect to try to explain the conservative position on this in a rational way. Or to even explain any position at all…

        Cheers though.

        • Keep laughing Gayle, another Conservative majority in 2015.

          Martin, Dion, Iggy then JT, all losing causes.

  26. Sorry, Paul, such illogic may have worked for you with professors or students at Western, but not here. You show no link, causal or otherwise. There were over 300 ridings at that time and the Party would have been sorting out every one of them, reviewing nominations, checking resumes, and so forth. Why would they concern Harper with that? He doesn’t run the Party, its President and executive do. And if he hadn’t been informed, he didn’t know about it, which is what he had said. So I don’t see anything you’ve offered that proves he knew about a very specific agreement. And if you don’t have a link to prove there, it certainly doesn’t establish any “pattern” to be found connected to 2013… I read the start of your offering with some anticipation of a smoking gun, but found none.

    • “He doesn’t run the Party, its President and executive do…”

      Thanks so much, I needed a laugh.

    • So Ian Brodie, Ray Novak, the president of the party and the director general of the party would know all about it; they would present themselves, and testify in court as, representatives of the leader; and the leader would comment on it repeatedly to reporters; but the leader wouldn’t know a thing? I sure would like to know which university you studied at, since we’re playing Alma Mater Smartass.

    • Given everyone around him knew, he was either lying or being used as a puppet. I take it you prefer the latter?

  27. There is no pride with this over-weight and unethical unCanadian representing our fair country. He lies much too easily and seems to have nothing but disdain for Canada, its citizens and its form of government.
    Time to have an honest election, free of fraud, liars, and cheaters.

    • If the Liberals win, that will be proof that it is an honest election.

  28. Don’t forget the Grewal ‘bait-and-switch’, we’re someone high up in the party thought it was fine to roll out a pseudo sting on Liberal discussions with rival MPs; it ended with some shady ethical tape re-mixing and Harper essentially saying “move along, there’s nothing to see” and the media complied. There is also the well-documented Cadman tape, where the then-opposition leader admitted members of his coterie (never officially identified, although one was rumoured to be the recently candidate for sainthood deceased senator) did tell him they were approaching Cadman ‘with an offer’ to get him to vote their way to defeat the government. Harper pulled the legal card to silence the opposition; who knows what threat worked to dissuade the media…
    These things all add to show a serious ethical issue at the top of our government, and sorry, it isn’t just Duffy.

  29. On the plains of Africa, herd animals live in huge groups because this defends individuals against lions and hyaenas, who have to decide among hundreds of identical targets, all running and dodging at once.

    Harper’s Republicans learned from the antelopes that if you are going to lie, mislead, dish up payouts and paper over them with stalling and fast-talking, you don’t try to keep these misdeeds to a minimum, instead you allow dozens or scores of them to go leaping away among the acacia trees. First, it makes it hard for anyone to go in for the kill. Second, this eventually becomes the norm for the Cons in the public mind, without the nuisance of people actually holding the Cons accountable. The happy result? Cons will get to do what they want, though their “crimes” are legion, while members of the other parties, trying hard to have no peccadillos, get nailed on the few they will inevitably have.


  30. I remember promo tv ads where one of Harper’s favourite puppets said, “mike duffy taught me to love politics… you have to love politics.” I guess the love in politics is the love of corruption. That fathead puppet represents Canada all over the world now. The putz makes me feel ashamed of our image.

    • This comment was deleted.

      • What the hell are you talking about? That’s the longest, most irrational non-sequiter I’ve ever seen. As if you were lost in a paralell dimention.

  31. For what it’s worth, I hope you’d be willing to listen to what I, a Conservative voter, has to say.

    I happen to agree with a lot of Harper’s policy positions (except maybe his crime policy) but I have become disgruntled with the way he has tried to effect them. The thing, though, is that none of the scandals mentioned in the comments here have been technically illegal (except for the Cadman affair but that’s been complicated by rumours that Cadman was motivated by the MP life insurance policy). It’s perfectly plausible that Wright acted alone (remember: he used his own personal money to re-pay Duffy’s expenses), that the robocalls were not his fault (personally they seem too amateurish for me to be one of his schemes), that he believed Duffy and Brazeau would be competent Senators and not what they turned out to be. Riddell may have been due to parachuted out given he previous lacklustre performance.

    The real problem is not these “scandals”, actual or not, but the culture which Harper has created, a culture where image is everything, secrecy is important, and the public eye is not to be trusted. Harper wasn’t always like this, but I think along the way he became cynical and jaded by the political culture at Ottawa and decided that, if he wasn’t going to get things done in the open, he would do it behind closed doors, and that sort of attitude is threatening the advancement of the very ideals he holds dear.

  32. It also demonstrates Harpers willingness to lie to the people who employ him . . . . the taxpayers!

  33. Hmmmm, my conspiracy hat tells me that Harper allowed this debacle to transpire to cast aspirations on the Senate to facilitate his real desire to enact Senate reforms, as well as to oust the Duffy irritant…Wallin et al were collateral damage…jus me tots.

  34. What all paries have:

    – the same corruption issues be it NDP not paying taxes, Liberal offshore accounts or Conservatives expense fraud. Take your pick, which corrupt party do you vote for?

    – all bicker insatiably how to waste more of your money, while none work on befing efficiency, effective and economical.

    – does any part of government work efficiently? I can’t find an effective department. Even CRA charges 3.5% and does less for it than VISA, MC or Amex…CFIA doesn’t inspect meat very well, and I could go on and on but the clear pattern is the only effective part of Ottawa his wasting our tax dollars.

    – all take back room lobby bribery. Archilles heal of democracy, bribe a politician to deceive us and get the back room money lobby favors with out money. Be it GM, banks, Air Canada and other bailouts, its about getting people to pay for other peoples mistakes and no accountability.

    – they even work together to roll over taxpayers. Mulroney does Airbus, $300k in cash, Liberals buy the planes anyways with NDP union support as Air Canada has always been a inefficient wasteful union bloated organization with incompetent management. Most of the loans were forgiven and never repaid to this day.

    Fact is we don’t have enough control over the most expensive item in our lives, government. We don’t manage government, government manages us liekt ax slaves. I say slaves as taxation without effective representation is slavery. My less government vote doesn’t have a ballot entry as the whole democracy is a ruse.

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