Friday, April 22, 2016
Michael Harris on the Duffy Verdict and the Harper Nightmare
In one of my last posts I looked at the fallout from the Duffy trial.
Celebrated the way the judge's scathing indictment had damaged what was left of Stephen Harper's legacy.
Rejoiced at the way it must have left him quivering in his closet.
And of course roared with laughter at how Mike Duffy's acquittal turned out to be the ultimate payback.
Wait,” Mike Duffy said in his last speech in the Senate, back in 2013, when he claimed Stephen Harper’s PMO had railroaded him. “There is even more.” He wasn’t kidding.
On Thursday, Justice Charles Vaillancourt acquitted Senator Duffy on all 31 charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. And in a sense, he convicted Mr. Harper’s PMO.
But while there is so much to celebrate, as Michael Harris points out, the trial also raised some dark questions that must be answered.
Like who owns our justice system?
This case is about something more than the utter demolition of a criminal case against an individual. It’s also about a justice system — at both the prosecutorial and police level — being brought into disrepute. The Duffy affair, like the robocalls scandal, played out in a landscape populated by shadowy players. Very few of them ever received much scrutiny, and society never got to the bottom of either of these scandals.
What was going on in the shadowy moral darkness of the PMO?
Why did the RCMP charge Duffy but not Nigel Wright?
The Force conducted the investigation into Wright and Duffy and decided to exonerate the former and crush the latter. With Vaillancourt’s decision, the RCMP’s grasp of the Criminal Code looks as tenuous as that of the Justice Department. Canadians are still waiting for the commissioner of the RCMP to explain why Duffy was charged with taking a bribe while Wright was not charged with giving one.
The answer had better not be that the national police force was doing the bidding of the Harper government — or, worse, that Wright had Harper’s approval to do the deal.
And of course why was Stephen Harper never made to pay for that obvious cover-up?
Donald Trump might have called Harper ‘Lyin’ Steve’ for the multiple versions of the facts he gave about Duffygate — none of them true. The former PM insisted that the whole affair had unfolded between Wright and Duffy. In fact, more than a dozen people in his office worked on the file, pressuring Duffy to do the deal or risk losing his Senate seat.
Or for lying like a thief or a Con artist...
When as Duffy always claimed, Boss Harper was at the centre of that sordid PMO conspiracy.
As Mike Duffy told me many months ago, all roads in this fiasco lead back to the former prime minister. Today proved him right. Stephen Harper subverted Parliament, politics, the inner workings of the Senate and his own party during his one-man government. But thanks to a fearless defence attorney and an unblinking judge, he was not able to subvert justice.
And there can be no justice until the day he is punished.
But as I said in my last post, the good news is that the judge's scathing indictment is just another nail in the coffin of Harper's foul legacy.
It will do him and his party enormous damage.
It can only make more Canadians demand a full public inquiry into the activities of his monstrous regime...
And even if Harper and his Cons are able to avoid the jail time they deserve.
They will not escape the verdict of history...
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