Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Stephen Harper and the Missing Paper Trail
Well after staying away as long as he could, and seeing the stature of his ally Rob Ford diminished, Stephen Harper returned to the Commons today, only to find the Senate scandal waiting for him.
And ending up looking a little diminished himself.
By first categorically claiming that the RCMP are investigating Nigel Wright, but NOT the Prime Minister's Office.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has told the Commons his former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, is “under investigation” by the Mounties but denies his office is the subject of an RCMP probe into the Senate expenses scandal.
Only to have to qualify his words in a hurry.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair pressed Harper further: “Is the Prime Minister’s Office being investigated or is the Prime Minister’s Office not being investigated? Which is it? Both cannot be true.”
Harper then modified his answer with a slight caveat. “To my knowledge, the Prime Minister’s Office is not being investigated. The RCMP has not said any such thing. What we have said is that we continue to work with the RCMP and provide them with any and all information required.”
Then when asked why if Duffy made up his story after meeting with Wright, as Harper claims, two PMO communications specialists offered to help him with that story.
Finding himself having to measure his words very, very, carefully.
Mr. Mulcair asked Mr. Harper to confirm that Mr. Duffy was, in the NDP leader’s words, “given aid by two people in the Prime Minister’s Office.” Here was Mr. Harper’s response.
Mr. Speaker, this matter is the responsibility of Mr. Wright and Mr. Duffy. Mr. Duffy knew what the truth was. Mr. Duffy chose to say something else to the public. For that reason, Mr. Wright and Mr. Duffy have been held accountable. In fact, I took action on this matter some six months ago.
Words that as Aaron Wherry points out, could be interpreted this way:
You could read that as absolving any other member of the Prime Minister’s Office who were involved in the implementation of the deal between Mr. Duffy and Mr. Wright.
Weasel words that might give Great Scandal Leader some wiggle room now. But of course will NOT help him with the RCMP who will have the final word.
And who if they are indeed investigating the PMO, will want to know why so many Con operatives were aware of the deal. But Harper apparently knew NOTHING.
And in the meantime, the search for something that could prove equally damaging continues. The search for the missing paper trail.
Deputy Liberal Leader Ralph Goodale wants the federal information watchdog to look into why Privy Council Office was unable to provide a single document in response to his request for all records related to the now infamous $90 K payment arrangement between former PMO Chief of Staff Nigel Wright and then-Conservative Senator Mike Duffy.
Which includes the e-mail chain that Mike Duffy claims he was shocked to see disappear.
"Given all of those e-mails," Duffy mused aloud, "you can imagine my shock when I heard there's not a single document about all of this in the PMO, not one. In response to an access-to-information request, CBC was told there's not one single document related to this matter in the PMO."
And since they are the same questions the RCMP will probably be asking.
(c) did the Privy Council Office formerly hold records which would have satisfied one or more of those requests; (d) if so, were the records transferred, removed, or destroyed; (e) if transferred or removed, to whose custody or control were they transferred or removed; (f) if destroyed, when were they destroyed, on what date or dates was the destruction approved, and what is the file number of any order, instruction, directive, or authorization concerning their transfer, removal, or destruction?
Could however way they are answered, prove the existence of a massive COVER-UP.
Especially if Ol' Duff is still holding the other end of the e-mail chain eh?
Yup. The Senate scandal is back.
Stephen Harper can run but he can't hide.
There is a monster loose in the PMO.
And in the end it will consume him....
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