Prime minister must clear the record following allegations of PMO coverup
© Canadian Press photo
Sen. Mike Duffy arrives at the Senate on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013.
Our embattled senator from Cavendish certainly stole the national spotlight Tuesday in a venomous speech that actually made Canadians finally pay attention to the business of the Upper House. Mike Duffy had nothing to lose and lots to gain by going on the attack, trying to implicate Prime Minister Stephen Harper, various officials in the PMO and high-ranking Conservative senators with various allegations, the likes of which was never before seen in Canada’s Parliament.
Mr. Harper should not be surprised by that speech. The issue was forced when the Conservative Senate majority leader tabled motions to suspend Mr. Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau from the chamber without pay over an expenses scandal. Mr. Duffy had been largely a team player to this point, apart from a table-setting performance from his lawyer last week, but the motions were the last straw. He felt betrayed and hell hath no fury like a fat cat scorned. If the motions do pass, you can be assured that Mr. Duffy will have more evidence to bring out.
It looks like two people can play the binder game in Ottawa. In recent days, RCMP officers investigating Mr. Duffy’s expense claims noted that Nigel Wright, the former chief of staff for the prime minister, had accumulated a binder full of documents on Mr. Duffy going back some four years, detailing trips, expenses and so on. Based on Mr. Duffy’s remarks Tuesday, he has his own detailed notes, citing names, dates and places that drew a convincing guilty circle around his former friends.
It was the first time that evidence was offered the PM was linked to direct damage control plans on the Senate scandal. The crime, if indeed there was any crime to start this whole mess, pales in comparison to the apparent cover-up to make travel and housing expenses more palatable to the Conservative base. Now those are unraveling and spiraling out of control.
Each day, allegations get closer and closer to the PM, who says the allegations from Mr. Duffy on Tuesday were nothing new. That curt dismissal does not wash anymore. It’s time for Mr. Harper to stop with the lame excuses and come clean. Canadians want the true full facts. Few reasonable citizens now believe that our micro-managing PM didn’t know what was going on regarding an issue that was making headlines across the country.
Mr. Duffy is now concerned with his legacy and reputation. He doesn’t want to go down in history as a disgraced senator, first booted out of caucus, then out of the Senate, all for being a team player. He is taking some liberties when he says Canadians “know me as an honest guy.” Mr. Duffy rose to power by playing the political game, knowing it was a blood sport where there are only winners and sore losers.
It is well past damage control time. A senator is saying publicly he was threatened and coerced into accepting blame for things he says he didn’t do. Mr. Duffy had basked in the “unaccountable power” of the PMO but now is urging his fellow senators to stand up to the men in short pants down the hall running the country through bullying and intimidation.
Mr. Duffy did not win any forgiveness from Canadians for his speech Tuesday. But it was great theatre. Not surprisingly, the former broadcaster’s biggest regret following his startling remarks was that it was not carried on live television.