Friday, September 06, 2013
Of King Henry and King Stephen.
Sometimes what you don't find can be more important than what you do find. The absence of something you should expect to find can itself be a statement. Sometimes it is even evidence of a guilty mind.
Criminals often try to conceal their crimes by destroying or removing evidence. If you're at a shooting and there are no shell casings it's a safe bet that the shooter collected them before departing. If you're at the scene of a government scandal and there are no documents to be found, chances are the shooter made off with those too.
When it's the Senate expenses scandal that reaches straight into the very highest echelons of the Prime Minister's Office, a scandal with a rich cast of players that has occupied the front pages of Canadian newspapers since May, heaping ridicule and scorn on the government of the day, is it conceivable that there would be no paper trail on the subject within the PMO or the Department of Justice? What if you toss in a manipulative, authoritarian and duplicitous prime minister into the mix?
No paper trail, nothing? That admits of only a few possibilities. Possibly no one inside the PMO or DoJ was conscious over those several months. Maybe a great contagion swept over them, reducing them to a catatonic state. Or maybe there were documents but they were all Raptured up by Divine intervention. Or maybe, just maybe, word went out from above to put nothing in writing and erase any trace of a file, memo, e-mail or sticky note having anything to do with the scandal.
I'm thinking it's probably the last one - a document purge. Now who has the clout to order a wholesale document cleansing of that magnitude? Because whoever gave the command is probably implicated in some way in this scandal.
After all, what's missing from the Senate expense scandal, except evidence that Steve Harper was directly involved in the Wright-Duffy deal? Those of us not easily given to magical thinking are convinced that Nigel Wright wouldn't have pulled that stunt behind Harper's back. Nigel was no Lone Gunman.
Maybe Steve thinks that some sort of Imperial executive privilege covers documents he doesn't want released. But no such privilege was asserted in response to reporters' Access to Information demands. All they got back were claims by PMO and the DoJ that no documents existed. There were none to withhold because none existed - any longer anyway.
There appears to be a law that makes giving a senator a gift or a loan related to that individual's office is a criminal offence. We consider that a corrupt practice. It's why the RCMP are focusing on Wright-Duffy. What if they were to learn that it was Harper's hand guiding that $90,000 under the table payout?
Wright claims Harper was unaware of the $90,000 payment, a claim as phrased capable of broad interpretation. Yet it conjures up nothing quite so much as another King in 1170 uttering, "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?" That was enough to send four of Henry's knights off to murder Thomas Becket. Afterwards, Henry claimed that he didn't order Becket's assassination, not at all, nothing of the sort. I'm guessing that King Henry II and King Stephen I have a good deal in common. Nobody believed King Henry in the twelfth century and nobody believes King Stephen in the twenty first either.
This can't end here. King Henry's murderous knights were let off with 14-years service in the Holy Land. King Stephen's - his Chief of Staff, his Director of Issues Management and his Chief Counsel and personal legal advisor, have all departed the prime ministerial Keep, perhaps a similar form of exile. No documents, no knights, a PMO now staffed with third rate stooges chosen, it appears, for their vitriol.
It's time the opposition went after Harper on this, hounded him to personally explain what he knew, when he knew it, and what happened to the documents that no longer exist. Make it an issue, make it a huge deal. The Canadian people won't believe there is no paper trail, there never were any documents, at least not without orders from On High.
Make Harper explain. Make Harper account for himself. Make this a burning issue that will only grow hotter as Harper tries to evade it.