What is the root cause of the Duffy-Wright affair?

'That absolute discipline or control… that is what got us into this mess in the first place'

Further down in the Huffington Post’s report on Michael Chong’s proposals, comes this analysis from Conservative MP Brad Trost.

“That absolute discipline or control… that is what got us into this mess in the first place,” Trost said referring to the current Senate scandal engulfing the PMO, Harper’s former chief of staff Nigel Wright and several senators who are alleged to have meddled in an independent audit of Senator Mike Duffy’s expenses.

“If the Senators had all run the issue independently, without the input of PMO,” Trost said, “I think that PMO would be happier right now than they are. They ended up trying to do everything and have total control over an issue. I think in retrospect they are wishing they didn’t have any control over it ‘cause look where it got them.”

In a pair of blog posts, Brent Rathgeber expands on his op-ed for the Toronto Star and touches basically on the same point.

What is more relevant and more threatening to our democracy is that the executive was interfering and attempting to micro-manage the Senate, its appointed Senators and even a Senate Committee.  The Senate exists to provide an independent check on government; the Senate was not designed to be a PMO branch plant.

We end up with both a parliamentary question and a political question. And the irony that at attempt to exert control—perhaps the defining question of the Harper Era, maybe the defining question of modern politics—has resulted in all this.

See previously: What does the Wright-Duffy affair tell us about Parliament?

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