Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Stephen Harper and the Con Bagman
Well there he was again today answering all questions about the Senate scandal by repeating the same mantra.
Nigel Wright and Mike Duffy are the ones responsible. That's why Duffy is no longer a member of the Conservative caucus, that's why I fired Wright.
But for some reason not explaining why he hasn't fired Irving Gerstein, the Con bagman-in-chief.
Even though according to the RCMP affidavit ,Gerstein was apparently willing to help Wright fix the scandal with Party funds.
Conservative Senator Irving Gerstein, the chair of the Conservative Fund of Canada, had previously approached Mr. Wright to ask if he could assist in any way. So, on Feb. 22, Mr. Wright called Mr. Gerstein and inquired whether the fund would pay expenses, which he still believed were about $32,000. Mr. Gerstein confirmed it would.
Although that's NOT what he told the Con convention before the RCMP documents were released.
The head of the Conservative Party’s fundraising arm has spoken out about the Senate spending scandal...He said he made it clear to Wright the Conservative Fund of Canada wouldn’t pay for Duffy’s expenses and never did.
And even though it is also alleged that Gerstein tried to influence the Deloitte audit.
The Conservatives’ self-styled chief bagman contacted a partner at Deloitte allegedly to try to influence an audit into the Senate expense scandal, according to information in new court documents released Wednesday.
The court filing identifies Gerstein’s Deloitte contact as Michael Runia. The RCMP interviewed Runia, who confirmed that he and Gerstein have “regular contact” because Deloitte is involved in auditing the Conservative Fund.
But for some reason whenever Stephen Harper is asked about Gerstein by Tom Mulcair or Justin Trudeau. He always, without fail, dodges the question.
And as Mulcair pointed out today, doesn't even mention Gerstein's NAME. So sensitive is the subject.
Which I suppose isn't surprising. Because he can't blame Wright for that one eh? Not when Gerstein isn't Wright's subordinate, and answers only to Harper.
And of course Gerstein himself isn't talking to reporters...
No doubt having learned that discretion is the better part of valour, after being caught in the net of that other Con scandal.
So you might think that Deloitte might help clear up this matter when they appear before the Senate expenses committee tomorrow. But if you did, you'd be wrong.
The Senate committee that dealt with Mike Duffy's ineligible expense claims — claims that are now the subject of an RCMP investigation — will meet Thursday to question three Deloitte auditors about potential interference in their audit. But two of the main players in the controversy won't be there.
Allegations in RCMP documents released last Wednesday suggest Conservative Senator Irving Gerstein tried to manipulate the Duffy audit by directly calling Michael Runia, a partner at Deloitte. Gerstein and Runia aren't invited to Thursday's internal economy committee meeting, however.
Because strangely enough the two people we REALLY need to hear from won't be there.
So the stench of scandal continues...
And if you want to know why Stephen Harper won't fire Gerstein it's probably because it's so hard to imagine that he would have approved paying off Duffy with Con funds, without making sure that Boss Harper was good to go.
And who knows what might happen eh? If he tries to throw him under the bus, as Mulcair was demanding today.
“Gerstein was making the same deal with Mike Duffy for a lesser amount, for $32,000 he thought at the time. When it went to ($90,000), they flushed it,” Mulcair said on CTV’s Power Play.
“So was it a question of principle or is it a question of price? Because if Gerstein is doing the same thing for which he’s reproaching Wright, he should have been thrown under the bus as well and yet he’s still sitting behind the prime minister in the Conservative caucus.”
Because that might not only be risky, but also expensive, since Ol' Irving just happens to be the best bagman in Canada. And for Harper money trumps everything, even human rights.
When the Conservative government does trot out its once-dear human-rights rhetoric, it’s usually on files where there are votes to be won at home and only a tiny amount of trade at risk.
Seven years on from promising not to sell Canadian values out to the almighty dollar, doing exactly that is now more or less our official foreign policy. Call it Mr. Harper’s Chinese lesson.
Fortunately, money can't always trump the TRUTH.
The bagman must account for his actions. And so must Stephen Harper.
This sordid scandal is bigger than Nigel Wright and Mike Duffy.
And sooner or later they'll all go down TOGETHER...
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