What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive. Whether the Conservatives like it or not, whether Canadians like it or not, the Mike Duffy affair will impact the coming election. And so it should. The Duffy affair is indicative of everything that the Harper government has done and how they have done it. The Duffy affair matters.
The Prime Minister has tried to deflect the issue by suggesting that the $90,000 is trivial; he compares it to the Sponsorship scandal. It is a bit like saying, we only killed one toddler; those other guys killed six. A crime is a crime, after all. Or are acts committed by Conservatives exempt from the ‘tough on crime’ agenda?
What we know now is that the PMO spent an inordinate amount of time trying to save Mike Duffy. How many were involved is still not clear but it certainly was more than Nigel Wright; Ray Novak, the PM’s current chief of staff, has been named by at least one key witness and denials from the PM (who has suddenly grown silent on the matter) are beginning to ring hollow. I’m told that Mr. Harper is a micro-manager. Why didn’t he notice that his staff was distracted by a major issue? Why didn’t he ask what it was? Whether the PM actually knew is moot; he appointed Duffy, Wright, Novak and all the rest. At the very least this has to call his judgement into question. Really, what was he thinking?
What he was thinking is that he could manage it all. He had managed to assassinate the characters of Dion and Ignatieff, he had managed to muzzle the media and government scientists. Why should he worry?
And, of course, there was the money. Not the $90K, which was a mere token amount. It was the hundreds of thousands of dollars Duffy had raised for the party (and the cheap bastards balked at paying his debts); the hundreds of thousands more yet to come.
Because that is finally what all of this comes down to, this is why the PMO – supposedly engaged in running the economy (into the ground) and protecting us from (made-up) terrorist threats – spent so much time and energy to protect Mike Duffy. For partisan fundraising.
Nigel Wright says he paid back the money out of a sense of obligation. At the same time he admits the money was trivial and didn’t affect his lifestyle. Meanwhile we are supposed to believe that he is an honourable guy. But that’s according to the likes of Peter McKay (gone but not missed) whose idea of honour seems to consist of cheating on his girlfriends and appointing his buddies to the bench. Wright paid back the money because he could and then deluded himself into thinking Duffy had done nothing wrong.
Who is most to blame for this whole business? I don’t care. The Duffy business is a symptom of a government that thinks it is above the law, above the Constitution, of a government who will do anything to win and keep power. That’s what Canadians need to take from this.
And that’s ten minutes.