Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Why the Senate Scandal Can Still Bring Down Stephen Harper

For a brief moment today I wondered whether I should remove Nigel Wright from the poster for my new and exciting season of Senategate.

After the RCMP announced that he was no longer under investigation. 

The RCMP has ended its probe into Nigel Wright, the former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and his $90,000 payment to suspended Conservative Senator Mike Duffy.

But then I thought no, this scandal is still as sordid as ever. It couldn't have happened without Nigel. Bless him. And it could still bring down Stephen Harper.

You see, I never thought that Wright could be charged under the provisions of this section of the Criminal Code.

Because he didn't cut a cheque for Duffy for his PERSONAL benefit. He did it for the benefit of the party he helped create, and the Prime Minister he served so faithfully. 

And that section does not make that a crime.

So he can say what he wants:

"My intention was to secure the repayment of taxpayer funds," Wright said through his lawyer, Peter Mantas. He added that the RCMP's "detailed and thorough investigation has now upheld my position."

Even though most Canadians won't buy it.

But what is legal isn't necessarily ethical. And what would be a real problem is if Mike Duffy is charged and convicted under this section of the Criminal Code. 

And it can be shown that Stephen Harper knew what was going on in his own office, but claimed he didn't. Even as his story changed over time. 

As these clips from last night's National clearly demonstrate...

Because then it would be a COVER-UP. 

And it could be as fatal for him as it was for Richard Nixon...

Which I think we can all agree would be only too fitting.

Now I realize that today's decision might make people wonder whether the RCMP can be trusted to investigate this sordid scandal.

And I don't blame them, not after this frightening allegation. 

A former RCMP superintendent says he’s never seen the degree of political control over the Mounties that exists now, and says it “does not bode well” for an objective police investigation of the Senate expense scandal.

But the fact that the RCMP have told Wright that he could be called as a witness, and the fact that they are still collecting evidence from the Prime Minister's Office. 

The Prime Minister's Office has turned over a hard drive and a Purolator receipt to the RCMP as part of the Mounties' investigation into Stephen Harper's former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, and suspended Senator Mike Duffy.

More recently, the PMO gave the Mounties a Purolator slip for something mailed from Charlottetown to Wright on Feb. 21, 2013. The receipt was turned over on March 27, 2014.

Tells me this case is far from over.

And as you know I've always believed that Mike Duffy won't let us down...

For if he is cornered he will BITE.

And whatever happens in the courts, this scandal can only damage the Cons even more than they already have been, and further diminish their leader.

If that's possible.

Yup, I'm telling you eh?

The new season of my sensational soap opera crime drama Senategate is going to be better than EVER !!!!!

And it could still have a happy ending....

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  1. Anonymous7:25 AM

    I sincerely hope you are right, Simon, but I think you're missing the handwriting on the wall. The mounties are supposed to take the total affair and dissect it piece by piece and exonerate all of the culpable parties, regardless of their complicity or guilt, so as to lull the stupid, bovine Canadian public back into a sense of somnambulistic complacency once again, therefore insuring another "con" "win" for the next election also. A perfect plan executed perfectly once again by der fuhrer and his well-rehearsed henchmen.
    The only hope we have is that the other 70% of Canadians who were too lazy to vote last time get off the fat asses and get to the polls and actually do something instead of just sit around and whine. See the recent state of affairs in, I believe it is Nevada, for what a citizenry that has had enough is actually capable of achieving against a much more vicious and powerful government than our own.

    1. hi're right about the importance of getting out the vote. Because the Cons can depend on a core base of about 30 per cent, all they need to do is win an additional ten per cent to win a majority. And all their efforts are aimed at doing that, while we must work hard to convince the apathetic to cast their ballots. However I'm not ready to give up on the RCMP yet. Because once Duffy is charged and there are reports that could happen any day, Wright could be a very useful witness. So far all he has done is provide a written statement. Under cross examination he could provide much more, including explain what he meant by "good to go." So stay tuned, it could still get very interesting...

  2. I can't help but wonder if yet again, money has spoken. It makes zero, I mean zero sense for Wright to have cut this cheque for Duffy without some motive to make this all go away. I don't believe for a second that Wright or anyone in harper's inner circle, could give a flying you know what about a measly 90K of "our" money. If they would have us believe that they have the average Canadian's interests at heart who pays for all of this obscene nonsense, we are indeed a truly gullible bunch. Time has long past that government serves the interest of its citizens, it has long been bought and paid for, and this highly suspicious 90K cheque is merely a drop in the bucket. How can harper now back pedal on how he so thoroughly threw Wright under the bus, but the only explanation is that Wright willingly took the treads to his face.

    1. hi bcwaterboy....there is no doubt that the payment was made to try to cover-up Duffy's scandals, and protect the man who appointed him. However, because he used his own money and he can't be accused of having done that to benefit personally, he is far more useful as a witness. From what I've read about the man I don't believe he is the kind of guy who would lie under oath. So his testimony, coupled with the Perrin e-mails and others the RCMP is retrieving from hard drives, could still take this case in a promising direction. Remember also that Duffy is a man who knows where a lot of other bodies are buried, and not one to go to jail without taking others with him. Which by the way also holds for the robocall trial. So be patient, by the fall when Harper must decide to stay or go, there could be many ominous clouds hovering over the Cons...

  3. Anonymous8:39 AM

    I hope Harper will be held accountable forhis lies.

    1. hi anon...I think he will, because don't forget polls already show most Canadians don't trust him. So what comes next will only build on that foundation. And for a man running out of time to try to prove he is the best leader to lead the Cons into the next election, that could be fatal...

  4. I do not trust the Mounties, we need the KGB to investigate.

    1. hi much as I like the idea of the KGB going after the Cons, I still have faith in some RCMP investigators. It may be a very troubled force, but there are some people determined to prove that they aren't as bad as the others. Officers who resent the corruption of some of their superiors. So let's see what they come up with before we give up on them...

  5. Anonymous9:56 AM

    Simon: This reminds me of what happened in the RCMP investigations of the Mulroney Airbus scandal. It has been many years since I read the book "On The Take" by Stevie Cameron. If I remember correctly, according to Cameron, the RCMP officer investigating the case was supposedly getting ready to lay charges when he was suddenly transferred to the traffic division. The rumor was that there was political pressure being put on the RCMP brass. Nothing of course came out of the investigations after a new person was put in charge of the case. So where is Cpl. Horton (the RCMP officer investigating this case and who had filed the affidavit suggesting that he believed there were grounds for a criminal investigation)? Is he now also writing traffic tickets or has he suddenly decided to take early retirement? Amazing that none of the At Issue panel members recalled the similarity with the Mulroney investigations which also resulted in no charges being laid despite a detailed investigation.

    Not sure what the implications of this would be. First, are we, therefore, to conclude that it is alright to bribe a sitting legislator as long as we are doing so on behalf of someone else, or some other party, and we can demonstrate that no personal benefit would have arisen from the bribe? Second, how could Duffy have done anything wrong in respect of accepting the $90K, allegedly being hush money so that he keeps his trap shut, if Wright is now found unworthy of committing a bribe, or it would appear, even an attempted bribe?

    Wish I could be as optimistic and feel that Wright will now talk more freely now that he is apparently off the hook. Why would he now volunteer any more information knowing that Duffy would fight to the last since it must be apparent to Duffy that they are hanging him out to dry?

    1. hi anon....there is no doubt that the Airbus scandal was botched. And there is enough evidence to suggest that the upper echelons of the RCMP have been politicized in the past. i.e. the Zaccardelli decision to announce an investigation that proved groundless in the middle of an election. But remember the Wright situation is unique. Not everybody can reach into the own pockets to benefit others, without something in return.So having him as a witness rather than an accused, could be more useful in the prosecution of the larger case. And to do that, you need testimony, e-mails, and evidence of a deal the details of which Wright might be able to claim he wasn't aware of, but had delegated to someone else. If I recall there are about a dozen other s in the PMO who were aware of the deal, and all it takes is one of them to blow the case wide open. Also Duffy is being charged not with bribery but fraud. So if that can be proven, then you can look at a wider conspiracy to hush that up, and the's where the Cons and Lord Harper could find themselves in really big trouble. And of course as I pointed out in my post, not just legal problems, but political ones that can only tarnish their brand further. Finally, if you wonder why I think Wright might be a wild card you should read this story because it tell you something about the man, his relationship with Harper and the way he was betrayed...

  6. Anonymous12:12 PM

    Now that Dear Unstable Leader has ruined Nigel's reputation it'll be interesting to hear what he has to say in court and if Ol' Duff was any kind of journalist at all he would have secretly recorded the conversations he had with the various players involved in this cover-up. One thing is for sure, Harper was the one calling the shots and anyone who thinks otherwise are either naïve or just plain stupid.

    1. hi you I also find it impossible to believe that Harper didn't know what was going on. Wright's statement that he was "good to go" can only mean that he knew of a deal and approved. We still don't know what other cards the RCMP might be ready to play. So be patient. I'm pretty sure the best is still to come...

  7. Nigel reminds me of another politician caught with Cocaine in his car, we all knew it was found there, no one argued the fact, but due to a bad search he got off scott free for a while. Just because the prosecutor didn't prosecute, doesn't mean someone isn't guilty as sin.

    Just saying.

    1. hi Peter.... you're right, but that's exactly my point. Just because the RCMP decided that they couldn't charge Wright does not mean that a crime wasn't committed, it could be merely a prosecuting strategy. Why struggle to bring in a fish that might well get off? When you can use it to tell you where the other fish are hiding, and use a big net to haul them all in...

  8. still seems odd, as Nigel gave a personal chq for 90K to Duffy to pay back expenses....and did they ever get paid back to the govt coffers, Did that money ever get paid back to Nigel? and if no to both....who has the money now. Sounds to me like a big fat campaign contribution that duffy never filed for....or its a coverup bribe, the police need to pick!.
    the money is the key to arresting someone and charging them, at this pt I guess its going to be Duffy and that means Harper will go down as Duffy has no loyalty left. and Nigel is not going to lie for anyone( or so were told as he apparently does have integrity, shame he worked for the cons:P)

    1. hi deb...there is no proof that Wright was repaid, and it really wouldn't make sense. Because if Gerstein balked at coughing up the $90,000 why would he have Wright put out the money and then reimburse him. For one thing it might look a bit like money laundering or the In and Out scandal, and that's the last thing they need. Also remember that Wright used to pay for things that he could rightfully claim as government expenses, so he is a very unusual Con, and setting aside his hideous politics a very interesting man who is clearly interested in more than making money. So like I'm telling the others don't despair, the shape of the case is not yet clear, and it could still devastate the Harper regime....

  9. Anonymous6:12 PM

    I think we need to call in Hercule Poirot! I can't think of anyone more qualified to crack this case! Sorry, I know this is no laughing matter but I think it's good to stop once in a while and just crack up a bit! What do you think Simon? Poirot is pretty good at solving mysteries and I'm sure it would not take him too long before he had them all on their knees as they should all have been a long time ago!

  10. hi anon....yes it would make a good movie, Hercule Poirot on a train with all the Cons, bodies turning up everywhere, until the real villain is revealed. On the other hand I don't know if you've ever seen any episodes of the old TV series Columbo with Peter Falk. He was notorious for appearing to be satisfied with what the suspect had told him, only to stop in the doorway turn around, and blow his story to bits. I'd like to be there if that happened, and shoot the look on Harper's face. I'd blow up the picture to the size of a massive poster and place it right opposite my bed so it would be the first thing I saw when I got up. And of course would make my day... ;)

  11. e.a.f.1:36 AM

    never did expect anyone to be brought to trial on any of this. it is a nice pipe dream and certainly the thought of the cons being found guilty of anything regarding this cheers me up, no end. Now the RCMP saying Wright won't be charged, well at the beginning there was word Wright was "co operating": with the RCMP. Sometimes people who "cooperate" right out the gate, get to walk to the end and move on. There is also the thought the RCMP does report to the Cons. As long as that continues there will be no justice on this issue. oh, perhaps one of the 3 senators might see jail, but we all know who that will be and it isn't the two white ones. Then everyone will go home happy.

    Wright wrote a $90K cheque. that on its own isn't a crime. For the crown to go forward on a charge, there has to be some intent on the part of Wright to do wrong. Then of course they have to take into consideration, whether they would get a conviction. If Wright were charged with anything, his legal team would look like the legal dream team of Canada.

    nothing will happen to Duffy or Walin, they simply have to threaten to write books or have a nice "speaking tour". Harper and his cons won't want that. it really would bring the Cons down.
    The Cons will string this out long enough for people to forget and Walin and/or Duffy die of old age.