The Senate scandal story, or maybe better put the PMO scandal, has rocked Canadian politics to the core. It is the real, previously unpublished, under belly of Canadian politics as it's really practiced. Forget the regal Canada Day celebrations on the Hill. The Mounties in their scarlet promenading about on horse. The Governor General's tea parties and all that sort of thing. That's simply window dressing. This is the what real politics is done in Ottawa, and also in the provinces - especially this province.
There is a caveat however on the practice of exercising power in these devilish houses - don't get caught. This week the Conservative government, and more specifically the Prime Minister himself got caught. Senator Duffy, among others, is being "investigated" and has not been "convicted" of any crimes as yet regarding office expenses. But here is where the real story starts. Duffy, during his defence in the Senate, indicted the Prime Minister as actually having a direct hand in a financial deal with Harper's then Chief of Staff Nigel Wright.
How is that significant? Firstly, Duffy says he has hundreds of emails, memos, etc. that prove what he is saying is true. Given his experience one can likely take that to the bank. So let's say it's true. Also involved in this whole "fixing" of audit issues is Senator Tkachuk. He suddenly took medical leave just after it all hit the fan months ago for "preemptive" cancer treatment. Tkachuk was put in the Senate by Mulroney, nominated by then Saskatchewan Premier Grant Devine, to be a political fixer. That was his job, and he did his job - a very experienced political operative and experienced in the dark arts of politics.
So, as the story goes, Tkachuk becomes aware that the auditors have found issues with Duffy's and others expenses. He works with Wright and Duffy to make the controversy go away. Duffy doesn't disagree all this happened, but says Harper was actually present and had his hands all over the issue. Harper is known to be a control freak, hands on manager, personally vindictive, and political strategist - not necessarily in that order. This little exchange of dollars for expedient political solutions is common place, and the Prime Minister has a private fund worth over a million dollars that can be used for any such thing.
However, the real question is: Is this a legal issue before it is a political issue. I suggest it is. Often those lines get blurred, but here the lines are becoming quite obvious. An ex- Liberal Senator today had affidavits sworn out against him by the RCMP for breach of trust and misuse of public funds. He was trapped up in similar-type practices of abuse that some are leveling against the three Conservative senators. So, if those senators are all charged along similar lines, crimes, did the current and previous Chief of Staffs for Harper commit the criminal offence of Obstruction of Justice? If Harper did, as Duffy states he did, promise to make the audit go away if Duffy took the loan and paid the bill was that an attempt to obstruct an audit of a public office holder with the sole purpose of avoiding unlawful findings against the senator?
The Criminal Code of Canada defines the offence of Obstruction of Justice as:
"(2) everyone who willfully attempts in any manner other then a matter described in subsection (1) to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years."
So did the Prime Minister and his Chiefs of Staff attempt to pervert or obstruct the course of justice? If what Duffy says to be true the answer is yes. Duffy says he has the documented evidence. He may be holding that evidence over Harper's head until its decided if he is suspended from the Senate without pay for two years. I would consider that likely. However, perhaps Duffy could do all of his fellow Canadians one big last service and despite the outcome of the Senate vote on his future, release to us all the evidence so we can have the tools to clean our government up. Be the bigger man for the bigger reason. Make history by doing the right thing. Put us before yourself, your party or your institution. If this Prime Minister broke the law, as it appears, give us the evidence of it - we will look after the rest.
Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the
round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're
not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify
them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change
things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the
crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that
they can change the world, are the ones who do.
US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)