Friday, April 10, 2015
Michael Harris: Why Stephen Harper Should be Testifying at the Duffy Trial
In my last post I wrote about how the Mike Duffy trial is already turning into a real nightmare for Stephen Harper.
Duffy's lawyer is trying to bind the two men together, and show how close they once were.
Which can only damage Great Leader, and further taint his reputation.
But as Michael Harris writes, if there was any justice Stephen Harper would also be in court, and testifying under oath.
The prime minister of Canada likes to hold everyone to account but himself. It’s a dictator thing. Stephen Harper says he won’t be called to testify at Senator Mike Duffy’s criminal trial. Usually lawyers get to decide that, not prospective witnesses. Still, he’s probably right.
Harper also says the reason he won’t be called is that he doesn’t know anything about the alleged criminal matters now before the court. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Because as Harris points out, Duffy the senator/ big fat cash machine was Harper's creation...
The prime minister effectively created and then destroyed Duffy as a politician. He appointed him to the Senate, then ran him out of the Red Chamber on a rail — but not before turning him into a human cash register for the party, as a cursory glance through Duffy’s personal diaries will confirm.
This is no ordinary trial.
More than anyone else, Harper set in motion the chain of events that led to the Ottawa criminal court where this senator from somewhere will be judged. This is a political trial every bit as much as it is a serious criminal proceeding.
And Harper bears as much, or more responsibility than Duffy, for the scandal he created...
In fact, a strong case can be made that the whole housing expenses dilemma was created by the prime minister from the get-go. Sources say that at the time of his appointment to the Senate, Duffy had asked to be appointed from Ontario, where he had lived for decades.
He was worried about blowback if he was appointed from Prince Edward Island, which was little more than the nostalgic homestead of his childhood days — though he did own a cottage and had family ties there. It was the prime minister who apparently insisted that Duffy be appointed from P.E.I., allegedly telling his appointee that his critics “would get over it.”
And then tried to cover-up.
So he should be in the witness box explaining his actions, if truth and justice are to be served.
Mike Duffy is facing jail time, ejection from the Senate, financial ruin and permanent disgrace if he is found guilty of fraud and breach of trust. Everyone who can confirm the facts or any part of them in this case should be in court and under oath — and that includes the man who ordered Mike Duffy to repay the expenses in the first place.
And the good news?
As I pointed out in my last post, Harper is now being judged in the court of public opinion.
The verdict will be delivered on the date of the next election.
And if there is any justice, it will be a harsh one...
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