Monday, April 06, 2015
Stephen Harper and the Day of the Duffy
He has tried to run from the scandal from the day it was exposed. Tried to make us believe that he knew nothing.
That it was all Nigel Wright's fault, and that when he told him the plan was "good to go" he didn't mean pay off Mike Duffy to buy his silence.
But now the day of judgement has finally arrived.
And although only Duffy is on trial, it will expose the ghastly innards of the Con regime.
Suspended senator Mike Duffy may be the one on trial, but he won't be only person to see their motives, character and actions dissected, examined and critiqued over the next several weeks inside an Ottawa courtroom. Beginning Tuesday, Crown lawyers will lay out their fraud, breach of trust and bribery case against the former Conservative — 31 charges in total.
But so too will begin attorney Donald Bayne's defence of Duffy, a counter-attack that will likely focus in part on the behaviour of key figures from the Prime Minister's Office and party circles.
And it will be hugely embarrassing.
Not just because it will remind people who appointed Duffy...
And of Stephen Harper's appalling judgement.
But also because while the police claim that Duffy alone orchestrated the payoff, Duffy and his lawyers have another version.
Police allege Duffy was the one setting conditions and making demands in exchange for resolving the expenses controversy — hence the bribery charge. An email dated Feb. 13, 2013, in which Duffy's previous lawyer outlined a number of scenarios and conditions, is a central document.
Bayne and Duffy have alleged it's the other way around. "The payment of $90,000 was not the doing of Sen. Duffy," Bayne said in 2013. "It was a political tactic forced on him by the Prime Minister's Office."
And since Nigel Wright has been shown to have done a little orchestrating himself...
As the RCMP put it, there was a "moment of impasse" when a staff member in then-government Senate Leader Marjory LeBreton's office balked at the PMO's interference. "Do I need to call Marjory?" Wright asked in an email. "They think they are hurting Duffy, but they will end up hurting the prime minister instead."
He will have to explain himself.
For now, the public has an image of Mr. Wright as a wealthy and sophisticated lawyer with a strong moral bent, who jogs half a marathon by the time most people wake up. Mr. Duffy’s defence will be striving to present him in another light: A desperate political operative who tried to force a senator to repay his controversial expense claims for appearance’s sake, even if no rules were actually broken.
And that won't be easy...
As he tried to navigate through a series of controversies involving Conservative senators in 2013, the chief of staff told a colleague they had “… to do this in a way that does not lead to the Chinese water torture of new facts in the public domain, that the PM does not want.”
Not when it's clear that all of the above was being done to protect Harper.
And not when those serving under him were fiddling with the facts.
In addition, sources said, the defence could try to focus on the fact that some Conservative officials have provided “shifting” versions of events to the RCMP over the course of the investigation, which could make for negative headlines and hurt their credibility.
And the more their credibility is challenged, the less people will believe that Harper knew nothing.
So whether he goes down or not, Ol' Duff will have the last laugh...
Or we will.
For whether Harper knew anything or not, with his record of lying like a thief, many Canadians will NEVER believe he didn't.
Never believe that a control freak like him wasn't aware of what was going on in his own office.
Or that he wasn't at the centre of this cobweb of conspiracies...
And it will damage him.
He did spin a tangled web.
And it will help defeat him...
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