Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Stephen Harper, The Duffy Trial, and the Lost Summer
It's sometimes hard to remember, and even harder to believe, that Stephen Harper came to power promising to clean up government.
And a new era of accountability.
But we all know how that turned out. That was then.
This is now...
And now that we know that there is even more evidence that the PMO was involved in trying to whitewash a Senate audit of Mike Duffy.
As Lawrence Martin points out, if integrity becomes a ballot issue, him and his Cons are finished.
There was evidence beforehand that the PMO had interfered with a Deloitte audit on the expenses of Mike Duffy and other senators. But new court documents obtained by The Globe and Mail make the case stronger.
In one, Corporal Benoit Jolette says the force’s investigation learned that the audit report “had made its way to the PMO, to their office and, I guess, revisions, what they wanted to have written in the report, was done.
Yet again we have the integrity of this government being called into question. For the Conservatives, there is now a real risk of it becoming the ballot question. If it does, they can kiss their chances of re-election goodbye.
And the even better news is that Duffy's lawyer Donald Bayne seems determined to make the trial a ballot issue by making it last as long as possible.
Bayne has spent days and days cross-examining Senate administration witnesses and others. He flogs the dead horse and then finds another one. He repeats time again it is because "a man's liberty is at stake," and that is, of course, true.
But Bayne may have other motivations. The longer this goes, the closer it gets to the federal election campaign.
Which is really bad news for Harper, since he was hoping that the trial would wrap up by the end of June, and that he could put any damage behind him before the election in October.
But now there's no chance of that, and to make matters worse, the best is still to come...
The real drama of the trial in the Ontario Court of Justice has yet to come.
The Senate report that suddenly becomes less damning of Duffy hours before being tabled, the supposed negotiations with the Prime Minister's Office to make it all just go away, and the infamous $90,000 cheque from Wright to Duffy have barely been mentioned in this courtroom.
These are the questions that are still very much alive inside that courtroom. The "big" witnesses in this case have yet to come, to say nothing of Duffy's own defence and his promised testimony.
And as Nik Nanos points out, with the numbers tightening
It’s beginning to look like a three-horse race. The Conservatives, Liberals and NDP are closer than they ever have been over the past two years, as the Tories continue to inch up on the Nanos Party Power Index.
The timing couldn't be worse.
On the political front, summer is generally when things gear down. But with a scheduled October election looming, the warmest months of the year will be the most critical for party leaders as they try to sway voters over to their respective sides.
Because instead of being able to use the summer to try to make Canadians forget about the trial, he will almost certainly be dogged by it all the way to the next election.
So it will be a ballot issue.
And it will help destroy him...
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Harpo not content with picking his own democracy, voters is now picking his own debates. Where will this stop. Why do Tom and Justin not debate as usual with an empty chair.
Integrity.......now there's a word not many people actually address when it comes to politicians!
I have no respect for anyone who lies to me or plays me for a fool.........Full Stop!
Unfortunately 6 months is an eternity and the Harper government is only one incident away from a fear driven resurgence in popularity. This could either be another home grown terrorist incident or the resurgence of the separation issue under the leadership of PKP who is as much a tyrant as Harper. Like the song "The times are a changing" there is a general uneasiness about the future and people seem to be looking for quick fixes through "leadership". Unfortunately there is no quick fix and although good leadership and reliance on our well established institutions is part of the answer we need the personal confidence to adapt and benefit from change in an inclusive manner..
I suspect part of Bayne's strategy is to prevent the PMO from crushing the court proceedings in order to make this all go away quickly. By drawing out the case it is clear that the trial is nowhere near over so any attempts to shut it down will be glaringly obvious.
And I just cannot believe that polls show Conservative support rising. What on Earth is wrong with the Canadian electorate? I know Nanos polls tend to skew Conservative, but this is still absurd. Are we all really that callous or ignorant?
Oh, lets do hope the duffy trial goes on and on. Its entertaining and there isn't much on t.v. at this time of year. Then if we add in some arrests of those who boycott Israeli products. This could be a really fun summer. If they give a tad more publicity to the Generals "real" thoughts on the investigation into sexual harassment and rape in military, we have a whole lot of stuff, which even the cons base might not be too happy about. Oh, to see the back end of Steve and his slimers.
They haven't had Nigel testify yet. We haven't had Wallin and Brazeau charged yet. Perhaps that could be arranged for Sept.
And Mr. Harpers decision to debate only where he can fix the debate is so cowardly. He doesn't do anything unless the scene is fixed. He will debate only in symbolic closet conditions. Cool cartoon and I can't remember where I saw it. Three lecterns with E. May on one and T. Mulcair and J. Trudeau on two others and at the end ---a closet.
Can you find it Simon?
Aren't we glad the present military didn't liberate Holland with what is allowed done by some.
If it's a three horse race, then doesn't that favour the Harpercons who will split the vote again.
This election, Canada's youth need to step up and vote in record numbers. Make a commitment to ask and encourage a minimum of 10 people you personally know to become more familiar with the issues and then vote.
Will Harper become so crazy desperate in the remaining days of the election campaign (if the Cons polling numbers are tanking) that he will attempt to get the RCMP and CSIS to do his bidding in some sort of...
A debate organized by the Canadian media consortium would allow for the greatest number of people to watch.
Why would Harper want that?
harper might get what he wishes for with his version of debates and blow it. wouldn't that be fun.
hi steve...I honestly give up trying to figure out what the Cons are doing. They are turning everything in our country upside down. And to make matters even worse I see the Con spokesman on the debate question is Kory Teneycke the former head of Sun TV News, now back in the PMO. How low have we fallen...
hi Kathleen...There are some politicians with integrity but none in the Harper cult. Say Harper and integrity in the same sentence on a cloudy day, and you might be hit by lightning...
hi anon 11:20am...yes you're right, anything could happen before the election. And if Harper does manage to provoke an attack with his belligerence and his big mouth, it could be disastrous for democracy in this country. But as for PKP I don't at this point anyway see him going anywhere. According to what I've seen on TV and in the French papers, his meetings are attended only by the old guard of the party. He is their messiah, their last hope for separation. But the young are staying away so unless that changes the future will not belong to the PQ...
hi Noah...I think his strategy is to show that Duffy was wallowing in a sewer of corruption, so why pick on him and not on others? As for the polls, and I'm thinking of all of them, they are not as bad as you thin k they are. Harper's polls may be a lot better than they were only six months ago. But they are like a bicycle race, where nobody has broken away from the pack. The Liberals and the NDP are still in the race, and time is Harper's enemy. I'll keep monitoring them closely to see if anything changes. But I suspect what we are seeing now is pretty much what we will see later. Although I wouldn't be surprised if the NDP moves up after Notley's victory in Alberta....
hi anon 12:04...I honestly believe that at this point Harper is capable of anything. And with the RCMP and the military apparently under his thumb under his thumb anything is possible. But of course if that happens we will be living in a police state, and will need to act accordingly...
hi e.a.f...yes that's another reason why the Duffy trial could be so devastating. During the summer news coverage on TV is usually quite boring. So a scandalous trial would liven things up and would have even more of an impact. So instead of campaigning on the BBQ circuit, Harper could find himself being grilled wherever he goes...
hi anon...no I don't remember that cartoon but I will look it up and if I can't find it, I might try making one myself. Although I might have to replace the Con lectern with a bird house or a monkey house... ;)
hi David...yes you're right, we are heading dangerously into vote splitting territory. My only consolation is that I'm pretty sure Canadians will look closely at the polls as the election approaches, and then vote massively for the progressive candidate they think has the best chance of winning. But if neither candidate is a clear winner, that will be difficult, and of course a vote split could be fatal. I've warned about that for so long, I hardly have the energy to repeat it...
hi David...as in everything he does Harper is looking to appeal to niche voters. So it isn't the number it's the kind of voters he is interested in...
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