Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Defrocking the Choir Boy

Sing, boys, sing. Sing like canaries.
Did Harper's current Chief of Staff lie to officers investigating the Wright-Duffy scandal?  If he did then shouldn't he also be lawyering up?

Don Bayne doesn't even have Ray Novak on the stand yet he's already building a fire under the prime minister's former personal secretary.  It all revolves around Novak's participation in the under-the-table cash for expenses scheme that saw $90-grand make its way to Duffy for him to clear his Senate tab.

Harper has lied through his teeth about this, still implausibly claiming that he knew nothing of what was going on until, like everyone else, he read about it in the funny papers. He gilded that lily with an even more fantastic claim that this was strictly between Nigel Wright and Mike Duffy and that they deceived everyone including Harper and all of his other top aides.  Harper at first lauded Wright. Then he accepted Wright's resignation.  After that he came up with another tall tale whereby he was so furious that he fired Wright on the spot for his betrayal.

Now Bayne's got Nigel Wright backpeddling on Ray Novak. He told the cops that Novak was in on the Wright-Duffey deal. Emails back that up. Only Nigel isn't on that page anymore. He's doing what he can to distance Novak from the scandal. He's been texting Novak as recently as two weeks ago.

Bayne then hits Wright with Special Counsel Benjamin Perrin's statement to the investigators where he also fingers Novak as in on the deal.  Wright wilts then wobbles.

When Wright first went on the stand to testify in chief the reporters wrote of a man who seemed confident, collected, even expansive in his answers to the prosecutor's questions.  He was the choirboy everyone expected. Things have changed. Step by step Bayne has been undermining Wright's credibility. It would be nice to think he was doing it to get at Harper but his real objective is to build up the defence that Duffy wasn't a party to a bribe, he was a reluctant player in a deal scripted in the PMO and forced upon him.  Wright says "no" but Wright isn't a credible witness.

Bayne is constructing a foundation to bring in the evidence of Novak, Van Hemmen, Perrin, the cast of wayward Tory senators and the Conservative Party executive.  They're all part and parcel of the Wright-Duffy deal.  Somebody had to orchestrate that three act play and Duffy wasn't the one with the clout to pull those strings.  Wright wasn't either, except in his capacity as stand in for Shifty Harper.

From "redacting" the email pointing straight to Harper, to contradicting his own statements about Novak, to the inconsistencies between Wright's written statement, Perrin's written statement and Wright's evidence in court, that bright light is looking a lot dimmer.

Fortunately Bayne has plenty of other fish in the barrel to shoot and plenty of time to aim carefully.  The others must be wondering, if Bayne can take down the choirboy, what does he have in store for them?


the salamander said...

.. since Ray Novak - Man of Mystery cannot speak for himself, The Party has. Yes, the illustrious Tory Kenycyke.. or rather Cory Tenycyke trumpets that Ray was called from the room of a conference call and thus was not privy to the conversation and further he did not open the related email from Nigel Wright regarding an alleged cheque for The Duffster..

Now get this... Harper Special Counsel, lawyer Benjamin Perrin - he of the 'I was not consulted regarding Nigel Wright's decision to personally assist Mr Duffy' appears to have previously told the RCMP that he remembers looking at Ray Novak for his reaction to Nigel saying during the conference call that he would cut a cheque to Duffy for the following Monday. He also is on record as dropping by Ray's office to warn him the conference call would include serious news.

Who is the first person Stephen Harper speaks to in the morning and the last he converses with at night ? Ray Novak.. and it appears its been this way for nigh on 15 years. Going back nine years of Harper as PM, its often been said that Ray Novak - choirboy or cabin boy is the 2nd most powerful person in Canada.. and an unelected person at that.. uh.. elected and annointed by Stephen Harper..

As a lovely side note.. Nigel and Ray stay in touch .. after all, Ray despite the treachery Harper accuses him of, is still actively managing Canada's Pension Fund and finding Arms, Military Weapons & War Technologies - Missile Guidance Systems & Covert Misc to invest us all in.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to thank you MOS for the yeoman service you have been providing with your knowledgeable and lucid commentary on this affair. I have not heard anything coming close to it in newspaper columns or TV panels--even with the legal guests.

There's still no one who has made that point you noted in the beginning--that Duffy's email accounts (records of the time) have not changed in any respect while the stories of Harper (and now Wright) have shifted from big shifts to smaller wobbles. This goes right to credibility.

I have a friend who is a retired media person. We've had a lot of arguments about blogs versus media--I've pointed out a few (including yours, particularly in regard to climate change) as examples of how they are more informative and better written than the majority of traditional media news and commentary. If anyone wants to know why people read blogs--well this is why.

the salamander said...

.. correction of my error .. It is millionaire Nigel Wright, not Ray - who via Onex manages The Canada Pension Plan Fund .. in support of Stephen Harpers goal of having Arms and Military Exports as the key driver of The Economic Action Plan going forward ...

Steve said...

No rule of law for Conservatives or Wright would be charged with bribery.

Anonymous said...

There is another interesting angle. When Perrin had his interview with the good Cpl. Horton, the latter apparently had pointed out to him that his claim that Novak had been apprised of the payment, and was present at the conference, and had even recalled looking at Novak, was contradicted by Novak himself. Novak had apparently already met with Horton the previous week.

So here is the question: why did the RCMP not follow up on this key contradiction, especially when Perrin had expressed his shock that Novak was not listed as one of the participants (in addition to Wright, von Hemmen) in the ITO (information to obtain) filing:

Why did the RCMP apparently accept Novak's version but not Perrin's?

In fact, the above question was important because it could already have cast doubt on Wright's credibility even during the RCMP investigation. Now that there is evidence that Wright had appeared to withhold a key e-mail from Harper to Novak from the RCMP, that Wright might not have told everything he really knew even under oath, the question arises again why Duffy was charged but not Wright.

The RCMP is looking very bad on this one too no matter how one looks at it. The question is did Cpl. Horton recommended charging Wright too but was overruled by political pressure from above? Or of Horton did not recommend charging Wright, what were his reasons. The RCMP, despite their promise, had failed to explain why Wright was not charged.

Dana said...

On any file involving Harper or the Conservative Party the RCMP always look bad because institutionally they have been co-opted and corrupted.

The are no longer a national police force. They are our state police.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

This choir boy image that the MSM has given Wright is ridiculous. Being Harper's chief of staff for close to 3 yrs, he got to see Harpers corruption close up. He is no Kevin Page and he went along with Harper regardless of the deceit, corruption and lying. From 2010 to 2013, the years Nigel was chief of staff, Harper did many violations of Canadians rights in order to tighten his control and expand his power.Nigel Witnessed all of this without saying a word. One can only conclude that he agreed with Harpers inept, unethical behaviour and he proved it by exhibiting that same corrupt behaviour in instigating, then trying to control and then cover-up the Duffy fiasco. The RCMP read the same emails that Donald Bayne has. To me it's very obvious that Wright and the RCMP made a deal and as to Wright's choir boy image, Donald Baynes questioning is revealing that Wright is just another ,blind obedient, Harper cultist, just a wealthier one.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Sal - "cabin boy" - I love it, the best thing I've heard in days. Kudos, Salamander.

@ Anon 6:40. Why did the investigator not follow up on the contradictions and apparent deception? Two reasons - it might collapse the "virgin birth" element of the Duffy prosecution and it could well expose key Harper aides to obstruction charges, etc. I can't think of an investigation so tightly groomed and that sort of thing only comes from the top down.

@ Dana. They've been bent and in the bag for Harper since Zaccardelli smeared Ralph Goodale in mid-campaign to help Harper come to power. The path from Zac to veteran Tory operative, Bill Elliott, to Hank Paulson is appearing remarkably linear.

@ Pamela - your take does seem borne out by the emerging facts and circumstances.

Lulymay said...

Mound - great article, meticulously explained for all, even the ones with just a kernel of a brain. Unfortunately, those with heads firmly planted in the quagmire will not read or face anything based on facts because their loyalty only extends to their Reform ideals and causes.

Duffy is no angel and I think we all have come to understand that he has a voracious appetite for both money and recognition, but at the same time it appears evident that he was assured his expense claims were in order, right up until someone in the media got hold of the story.

I'm having trouble with the vaunted RCMP (always get their man) though. How is it that Karl Heinz Schreiber is accused of offering a bribe, but Brian Mulroney was not accused of accepting one? and now Nigel Wright according to how the charges shake down, is not guilty of offering a bribe but Duffy is guilty of accepting one?

With respect to Harper's protection of Ray Novak, I think if it was purely political, Novak would have been thrown under the bus the same as any others have been in the past. This looks more like he is protecting the Harper-Novak personal relationship, not the political one. It has been said by a number of scribes that Novak has lived with Harper for years and have very close communication ties. It is also out there on the web that the Mrs. does not.