Will the Duffy scandal stick?

Tease the day: The Mike Duffy Affair has so, so many aftershocks.


Sean Kilpatrick/CP

Amid the wreckage, the Conservatives in Ottawa still must govern. How they do that when two of their own Senators quit caucus late last week, and then their boss’s top aide resigned in the middle of a long weekend, is no easy task. Their headaches, mostly fuelled by the relentless reporting of CTV’s Robert Fife, will pound all week. Aaron Wherry and Paul Wells and John Geddes explain why this will be a long week.

The Toronto Star calls the current conniption enveloping Ottawa—the Mike Duffy Affair, let’s call it—the “worst scandal” that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s gang has faced since they took power on the promise of unprecedented transparency and accountability in 2006. In Ottawa, what anyone usually means by scandal is a thing the government has done to piss off its critics. Harper’s scandals have gone mostly unpunished by voters, despite its critics being so routinely pissed off by so many things. Even when Conservatives were found guilty during the “in-and-out” affair  that saw them improperly shuffle money around during the election campaign that brought them to power, John Geddes recalls, the party claimed victory. They were also found in contempt of Parliament, and we all know what real victory they claimed not long after, in May 2011. They’ve always found a way.

But the last week in federal politics would actually have made good television—depending on your tastes, obviously. Maybe that’s the barometer of what counts as real controversy. The Liberals’ demise a few years back, the Sponsorship Scandal, would have kind-of-sort-of made good TV. There was lots of corruption, anyway. So, when Harper stands up to address his caucus this morning, with cameras rolling, we’ll see how he looks on stage.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s plan to publicly address caucus this morning. The National Post fronts a refugee camp in Zaatari, Jordan that’s taking on 1,000 Syrians each day. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with the federal government’s continued awarding of contracts to companies previously convicted of bid-rigging. The Ottawa Citizen leads with the massive tornado that struck Oklahoma City’s suburbs, killing dozens. iPolitics fronts allegedly inappropriate political donations to the Conservative Party from political appointees to the EI referee board. CBC.ca leads with . National Newswatch showcases CTV News’ story about Harper’s former legal adviser “working on” a legal deal between Senator Mike Duffy and former PMO chief of staff Nigel Wright that involved Wright cutting a cheque to help Duffy repay inappropriately claimed expenses.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Flubbed contracts. Parliamentarians will question the actions of Public Works employees who improperly awarded a $500-million contract to a relocation services company. 2. Missing man. Diego Hernandez, a 22-year-old B.C. man, and a business partner were last seen May 8 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, after putting on a mixed martial arts event in the resort city.
3. Wind turbines. Veterans of the D-Day invasion of Normandy during World War Two are speaking out against a plan that would see wind turbines installed off the coast of the former battleground. 4. Sniffer dogs. Canada’s border-guarding canines, some teams of which are being dismantled, apparently detect 20 times as much meat as narcotics at international crossings.

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Will the Duffy scandal stick?

  1. The Senate “scandal” fits right into the anti Harper crowd and they are feasting on it. However, while the left wing media of course will write chapter and verse about how the government is falling apart and put all kinds of motivations on the shenanigans Canadians will shrug their shoulders and keep living their lives. Every so called scandal is the end of the government according to some in the media. However, there are only three choices come the next election; the socialist with the kiddie caucus who will tax us to death, the dauphin trying to learn to run a party let alone to run a government who has not demonstrated he can lead a one man band and the guy doing the job. Canadians are smarter than the media and pollsters give them credit. They will stick with the guy doing the job.

    • How about the CPC stops being so proud of itself for bamboozling 37% of the nation in 2011 and actually starts providing decent work?

      • In essence you are saying that Canadians are stupid. They saw and heard each of the parties and their leaders. They made a choice. When you have 5 parties with 4 on the left you are going to get lots of vote splitting. That is not Harper’s fault. Lets remember that if Harper only got 38% of the vote the other parties individually got less. You cannot simply add them up. Votes are not fungible. People vote for a certain party for various reasons.

        • “People vote for a certain party for various reasons.”

          Indeed. I voted for Harper in 2006 due to the fallout from the sponsorship scandal, and their promises on accountability (on economic policy, I believe the Conservatives and Liberals to be quite close enough that that is usually not the decider for me).

          I guarantee you I won’t vote for Harper in 2015, and it won’t be due to economic management, it will again be due to accountability issues. The 2006 election showed fiscal management isn’t in and of itself an election decider (ethics issues aside, Paul Martin was managing the economy quite competently through 2005), in the 2015 election Canadians will demonstrate this is still the case.

          • Will you go back to voting for the Liberals?

          • Like Obama in the States who has turned out to be a disaster maybe he has a tingle going up his leg for the man child Trudeau. That is what happens when people fall for a smooth talker who doesn’t know what in the hell he is doing.

          • “…tingle up his leg…”
            Difficult to take you seriously, very difficult.

          • Obviously you missed the MSNBC TV personality who said he felt a tingle go up his leg when he heard Obama speak. That was the reference and the way some people are acting towards Trudeau that is exactly what they remind of. No substance but looking for something that isn’t there.

          • Without further disclosing my age, 2004 was the first election I was of age to vote in, I voted for Harper then.

            I’ll never vote NDP on principle. As for Justin, he’s currently a blank slate, so I’m reserving judgements on him. I read the sentiment a while back, I don’t know if I’ll vote for Trudeau, but vote or no vote I do wish him success as effective opposition creates effective government (or a new government).

            As for the Conservatives, I would be infinitely more inclined to vote for them under different leadership – Jim Prentice comes to mind. My ultimate hope is for a bit of an interregnum so to speak where the Tories renew their leadership.

          • I hope they all pull up their socks and get it together.

          • Not on your life, not with the kid running the party. The Liberal party of old is long gone. There is no serious leadership and the party has been gutted.

        • low information voters

          • And your point is? There will always be low information voters and in fact I would suggest that it is the greater percentage of the population. Once again votes for the various parties are not fungible and that means you cannot simply add them up and use it as a club to promote your talking points. There are very few parties that receive 50%+1 in a general election. So you point is invalid.

        • Fungible? C’mon, man.

          • Look it up. I am not going to tell you. Obviously you are lacking in vocabulary.

    • You know, your rant could have been plagiarized from one in 2005, except the references to kiddie caucus and dauphin would at that time have been to guy with the porn-star mustache and angry ideologue.

      So what has changed since then in these Canadians on whose behalf you purport to speak?

      • You bet he has a kiddie caucus. Most of them were still living in their parents’ basements when they won. They were surprised just like the rest of us. As well the party is loaded with those that support Separatists. If you think Canadians are going to vote against their own self interest you are wrong.
        As for the dauphin tell me what he has done in his life that would qualify him to be leader of our country. Dressing like a teenager and wanting everyone to sit around a campfire singing kumbaya is not a serious person.

        • You missed the point entirely.

          What you are saying now with respect to the qualifications of the sitting PM versus the opposition is basically what the Liberals were saying in 2005. Look at how that turned out for them . . .if memory serves, economic management had little to do with the CPC winning in 2006, it was all about RCMP investigations and a Boxing Day shooting.

          So what has changed so that the “guy doing the job” is a shoo-in?After a while people start to smell the odor and want the bums out. Its almost always a small thing that pisses people off.

          Knowing that the PM’s chief adviser was able to casually dip into his pockets to make a $90,000 payoff in an attempt to avoid political embarrassment, they can relate to . . .because very few Canadians can even think of having that kind of money lying around for such a purpose.

          The expense claims are in and of themselves quite minor in the big scheme of things, its the arrogance and entitlement that piss them off. At that point they don’t care about who runs the economy better (and it is arguable anyways that Harper is good at that; there are many examples of very poor management of the economy to point to, for instance blowing the surplus before we even had a recession.)

          • You are right of course that people were disgusted by the corruption in 2005 and they will be disgusted by the corruption in 2015. The question is, will they have forgotten about 2005’s corruption? Sadly, we have seen arrogance and entitlement in two parties in the past 10 years. People have got to be feeling pretty discouraged. I know I am.

    • Give it up hollinm, Your about as credible as Harper, Duffy and Wallin which is not credible at all. Scared your paid troll job will soon be coming to an end?

      Back to the soup kitchen and lining up at the food bank? Being stupid, no common sense and just a paid troll. Must be really depressing by the events happening on Harper’s watch. The only work the Reformatories have created is his paid trolls that agreed to being brain washed and to be honest wasted space.

      Your not doing the the dictator PM any favors by your useless comments. Just the opposite.You simply quantify what the rest of us who actually care abut Canada realize that this PM is nothing but a joke and well over his head and needs to hit the road as quickly as possible. Today would be great and for his brainless parrot trolls as well.

      • Madam you are one silly woman. How in the world can anybody, other than paid individuals support the Conservative party. I am not paid for anything. You are treading on dangerous ground when you presume to know somebody simply because of a written blog. Why so angry? You are out to lunch to put it kindly. We will see who wins the next election. I would just remind you of the recent B.C. election. You left wing nuts can’t beat Harper electorally so you try to tarnish his personal reputation. If you think Harper is a dictator then maybe just maybe you should move to Venezuela. We all know how democratic that country is.

        • Give it up hollinm. People are starting to laugh at your dear leader. Goggle Joan Crockett’s ethical twitter musings from yesterday to get a sense of what I am talking about.
          It is all over once people start laughing at you. Not even calling them harper-haters can stop the laughter.

          • Given the prime minister’s arrogance and personality, I do believe it is being laughed at that will do him in: he doesn’t mind angry and he certainly doesn’t mind complacency, but he’s not the kind of guy who can stomach being a laughingstock.

    • …Canadians will shrug their shoulders and keep living their lives.

      Hey, Mervin, thanks for showing up once again to tell Canadians what we’re all thinking and planning to do. Where would we be without your deigning to share these pithy insights into our own thoughts and motivations?

      • You can always prove me wrong. Go for it!

        • I don’t have to. Countless Canadians across the country are already disagreeing with you on comment boards, phone-in radio, blogs, twitter, and other media.

          Soon those reactions and opinions will be echoed in surveys and, in 2015, at the polls.

          • if that turns out to be true then so be it. I have voted both Liberal and Conservative in the past. Am I happy about the Senate? Not at all. However, the comments are really outrageous and speak to the mentality of some people.

          • The comments are outrageous because people are enraged.

            BTW, judging from our own absurd statements above about the opposition parties, you seem to have reserved for yourself the right to make outrageous comments, displaying the usual hypocrisy of the sanctimonious.

  2. Give it up. Mr.
    Harper’s odious party has broken all records for self-righteousness, building
    an enormous hypocrisy never before seen in this country. Yes, the Liberals have
    been dorks in many years of office, but his beloved Cons have broken those
    records in a quarter of the time. To that they’ve added divisiveness across the
    country and coddled anger and grudge-making as tools to infect the innocent and
    disillusion the elderly. A pox on Mr. Harper’s devious group of meanies. It’s time
    Mr. Harper himself leaves. The mess will have to be cleaned up by those who
    have a sense of country rather than deceit and vindictiveness.

    • We are back to the conservatives are worse than the liberals because even though both parties having a history of corruption, the conservatives became corrupt faster. Who pray tell is it that has this sense of “country rather than deceit and vindictiveness”? Who is it, based on past performance that is going to “clean up the mess” and corruption that is rampant in Ottawa? Is it going to be the party that was voted out 7 years ago due to corruption or the one that is currently under the gun for being corrupt? Perhaps Mr. Mulclair will explain away the Laval issue and he will clean things up.

  3. Give it up. Mr.Harper’s odious party has broken all records for self-righteousness, building an enormous hypocrisy never before seen in this country. Yes, the Liberals have
    been dorks in many years of office, but his beloved Cons have broken those
    records in a quarter of the time. To that they’ve added divisiveness across the
    country and coddled anger and grudge-making as tools to infect the innocent and
    disillusion the elderly. A pox on Mr. Harper’s devious group of meanies. It’s time
    Mr. Harper himself leaves. The mess will have to be cleaned up by those who
    have a sense of country rather than deceit and vindictiveness.

    • The only grudges created are among the lefties who can’t figure out how to beat Harper electorally. So they grab on to anything in an effort to create the aura of a scandal. We had an election in 2011 and people made a choice. They didn’t buy the hyperbole and crap you guys dole out on a regular basis. Meanies? You need to grow up. If the opposition can’t stand the heat then get out of the kitchen.

      • hollinm, you cannot possibly defend the indefensible. What is needed is a full investigation into this issue. Until all of the corruption is flushed out, your party has no way to function in the best interest of governing our country, which is job it was elected to do. People like Duffy and Wallin do not belong in the senate. Nigel Wright made a bad call, no matter what his motives were and all Canadians should want this mess investigated and dealt with. Let the chips fall where they will.

        • I have no problem with that. There are investigations going on now but of course they are being prejudged. Never have I defended Duffy and Wallin or anybody else who is fast and lose with taxpayer money. However, where I have a problem is with some of the commenters on this and other boards who make all kinds of unfounded allegations as if they are true.

          • When have people ever needed proof to make allegations? The fantastic thing is that anyone who offers any possible “alternative reality” is quickly demeaned and in many instances, asked to leave the online board. There is no celebration of debate or different opinions or different world views. The boards become full of blind partisans who accuse each other of “drinking the koolaid” and pretend that their party is so much more ethical, despite obvious evidence to the contrary. How can it be a surprise to them that the politics have become a UFC no-holds barred dirty sport if even the voters act that way. Anything to win; anything to be right.

  4. If this is accurate from Deloitte’s Senate Report, why is no one talking about it?

    TUESDAY, MAY 21, 2013

    Deloitte audit only recommended Duffy repay $1050 – not $90,000+

    Forget the media’s interpretations of the Mike Duffy expense “scandal” – here’s the Deloitte report in full (http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/SEN/Committee/411/ciba/rep/Deloitte_SenDuffy-e.pdf), witthout any of the biased spin we’ve been bombarded with in the past weeks. Strangely, reports about this report and interpretations have run rampant, yet the actual audit report has remained burried on the Senate committees’ website.

    Take this interesting fact: Deloitte only recommended that Duffy repay $1050.60, because a temporary staffer mistakenly claimed a per diem while he was in Florida (p. 18). That’s a far cry from the $90,000+ he actually repaid.

    In fact, Deloitte had nothing to do with recommending Duffy repay the $90,000+: “Deloitte was not involved in the determination of the amount that was repaid by Senator Duffy.” (13)

    While we’re on the topic, here’s the report on Liberal Senator Mac Harb’s residence expenses (http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/SEN/Committee/411/ciba/rep/Deloitte_SenHarb-e.pdf), and independent Senator Patrick Brazeau’s expenses (http://www.ctvnews.ca/polopoly_fs/1.1274545!/httpFile/file.pdf).

    Originally Posted by Daniel Dickin at 9:36 AM
    -columnist with McGill’s Prince Arthur Herald

    re-posted by randal

    • There is a suggestion that the auditors were never given many of the receipts because Mr. Duffy “double-dipped” and was actually on Conservative campaign business when he claimed senate expenses. Once he paid back the money for those claims, he didn’t see the auditors or provide them with any more receipts. The bottom line is…that his audit was incomplete. Apparently, Duffy’s lawyer sent a letter to Deloitte saying basically that since Duffy paid back all expenses, you don’t need to talk to him or see is receipts. Which I guess is pretty much accurate, except the money to pay the expenses back came from Nigel Wright in the PMO. Sooo, was Nigel Wright naive and just gave the Duffy the money because Nigel is a nice guy and was concerned for Duffy’s health and had no idea Duffy double dipped and was doing something crooked? We now Duffy said in an email that he was told by the PMO to keep quiet and they would go easy on him but we also know that Duffy dealt with a lawyer in the PMO. Did the lawyer tell Duffy he didn’t have to talk to the auditors or did Wright?
      We need a complete investigation into the whole issue by the RCMP and ethics commissioner. There is a whole lot of reporting going on with information from “unnamed sources”. Plus there are people making all kinds of suppositions with no substantiation. We aren’t going to get to the bottom of things unless the law is involved.

  5. Bend the rules, you will be punished; break the law, you will be charged; abuse the public trust, you will go to prison.- stephen harper – 2006

    lets see if he meant it or was he just pandering for votes and lying once again

  6. Posting for an old friend, Peter Kirby of Mont Tremblant Qc

    Duffy, Brazeau, Wallin, Gerstein, Finley….and there are more – mostly Harper
    appointees – who have brought disgrace to the Institution. In this
    instance, Harper himself is the “root cause.” The Senate can serve
    an extremely useful purpose but only when the seats are filled with
    responsible, well-qualified people who have demonstrated their capabilities and
    their love for their country. There are many good senators to-day.
    Nor should they have to run for office; this would bring the same
    result as we have in the House – to which Harper has already added thirty
    seats…good God!

    In this era of unprecedented corporate power, when money can control the “democratic” outcome – eg. Military Industrial Complex, NRA, AIPAC, Big Oil, Big Pharma in the US – and their Canadian counterparts (Did Big Oil tip the balance in
    the recent election in British Columbia?). Today, more than ever before,
    we must have a solid, competent house of sober second thought – with unbiased
    expertise in some of the major issues confronting us: science – environment and
    energy; foreign affairs; constitutional law; history

  7. Isn’t Stephen Harper making it difficult for himself in the next federal election? The party has always tried to present him as a superior leader–“steady hand on the tiller” and all that nonsense–but his strategy in dealing with the Duffygate scandal has been to pretend he’s completely removed from the day-to-day workings of his own government. He’s now telling Canadians that the Mike Duffy payoff occurred without his knowledge or consent. In other words, he’s little more than a bystander in his own PMO–kept well away from the levers of power by his own staff, who never even tell him what’s going on. Will the current narrative about Justin Trudeau, suggesting that he’s “in over his head,” have any impact when Canadians keep hearing from the PM himself how Harper doesn’t run his own government, nor does he have a clue how it’s being run?

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