Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Sure, Nigel, So Why Didn't You Just Write Him a Cheque and Be Done With It?
Let the narrative unfold. Nigel Wright says he gave Duffy a cheque for $90,000 to clear the Cavendish Cottager's Senate tab because he felt an obligation to Old Duff. Really, that's it? But no, it's not, is it.
It wasn't just a $90,000 gift of the innocent sort to which no wrongdoing could attach anymore than it was just $90,000. It was more than $90,000 - a lot more - and it was a gift with clear strings attached. In other words, it was a bribe.
All you have to do is go back to the Duffy email leaked to CTV's Bob Fife. That email was contemporaneous with the events. It laid out a deal, the elements of which all occurred. There's nothing made up about that, for convenience sake, after the fact. It is the only truth you may find in this whole sordid business.
It involved money and "something else." Duffy agreed to do certain things in exchange for the money and "something else." The things Duffy agreed to do were for the very real benefit of certain interests.
What did Duffy agree to do, what were the terms imposed on him? He was told to stop talking about the expense scandal publicly. He was told to stop cooperating with the Deloitte auditors acting on behalf of the Senate in a quasi-judicial capacity to investigate and analyze senators' expenses.
On the other side, Nigel offered Duffy two gifts - the cash and "something else." The second part was a promise to intervene with key senators to have them launder Duffy's Senate audit report. It's sort of like saying, "you do this and that and I'll give you cash and corrupt the Senate to get you off the hook." It's a lot like money laundering and it taints the "gift" and makes it a clear bribe.
It's a measure of the corruption of the prime minister, his PMO, his key aides, the Senate leadership, and the RCMP that this is not being treated as a real bribe. This whole thing is bent. Senators Tkachuk and Stewart-Olsen intervened, to the exclusion of other members of the audit committee, to rewrite the Duffy audit report - to launder the Senate audit report. They did precisely what Wright had promised Duffy he'd see them do.
It's critical to keep in mind that all the parties to this acted believing they would never be found out. It was one of those things that would just blow over, no one the wiser. Sort of thing that happens with some regularity.
Duffy blew the deal. He leaked what he was supposed to keep secret to his friends in that email. Somebody passed it along to CTV.
Why, then, did the RCMP go to such lengths to absolve Wright of any criminal culpability in bribing Duffy? There's only once conceivable answer - because taking down Wright would leave the door open to Stephen Harper himself. Taking Wright off the hook takes Harper off the hook. Case closed.
Cops are trained to correct the dots, not erase them. This whole business is rotten.
Some of the emails released to the public today show that the way Duffy was handled was based on a very convoluted web of lies to be disseminated for public consumption. Lies intended to control and pervert the narrative of the Cavendish Cottager's expense abuses. It was a grand effort orchestrated by Wright and Perrin, supposedly behind Harper's back, that involved an astonishing number of people in Harper's bloated PMO.
Duffy was to be treated differently from other senators in the same jam. The focus was to protect the invaluable hog who kept laying golden eggs for the prime minister. Duffy was worth his weight in campaign contribution cheques and no effort was to be spared to keep him in harness.
Harper's key staffers co-opted and seemingly corrupted the Senate or at least key senior Tory senators who were manipulated into doing the prime minister's bidding. Where once it was merely implausible that Harper wasn't pulling the levers on this one, now it's become inconceivable. There was nothing rogue about this. It was a scheme that engaged dozens of staffers in the PMO, a bevy of senior Tory senators and the Conservative Party itself. You would have to believe that everybody knew except Harper and that is palpable nonsense.