Tuesday, May 21, 2013
UPDATED: A Trip Down Memory Lane - Remember When This Scandal Was All About Mike Duffy?
Duffy, Duffy who?
Now the scandal has shot straight up the food chain, ricocheting around the Senate and on into the PMO. And the path is littered with the bodies - Duffy, Pam Wallin, Nigel Wright and now, seemingly, Benjamin Perrin, Harper legal counsel. Now the scandal has kept on going, right into Mr. Harper's private office, right to his very throne.
Thanks to some dissident, insurgent if you will, probably from the ranks of Harper's own Parliamentary caucus, we have learned a lot over just the past week. We have learned about a curious cash payment, secret deals, a laundered Senate report, and improbable, hopelessly feeble denials by a prime minister and his chief of staff reeling from the revelations that were never supposed to be.
We know a lot but how much really? This whole Duffy deal was a potentially high risk business by people who are expert at understanding risk. They knew what it would mean for them if their transactions ever surfaced in public.
There were no end of ways to get Duffy a paltry, for them, $90,000. Why a personal cheque from Harper's chief of staff? Why drag Harper's Special Counsel in on this? Obviously there was a need to bring this "in-house", to keep it under wraps and that meant under the direct control of the prime minister and his top advisers.
Why the added inducement of rigging the Senate audit report, the promise that the report would "go easy on" the Cavendish Cottager? That's a real "deal sweetener." It's a promise to corrupt the workings of a committee of the Senate of Canada. And now we know that is precisely what happened.
Duffy isn't and never was worth this risk. No, very important people don't take these risks to bail out some lowly senator. It's a pretty safe bet that they weren't doing this to protect Michael Dennis Duffy of Prince Edward Island. This was about protecting Stephen Joseph Harper. From what? We don't know, not yet. Maybe never.
But I would bet the farm that Mike Duffy knows and that Stephen Harper and his closest aides know what Mike Duffy knows and that's why they deemed it critical to bring the Duffy expense scandal in-house and ensure the Senate audit report gave Duffy a soft landing.
Harper knows from experience that we're a dull and generally unquestioning lot with a collective attention span often not much greater than that of lesser primates. And he knows that he's almost made it to summer, the season of scandal salvation. He's betting he can hold his breath longer than we can and he knows from past experience that's not a bad bet.
Update - Well, there it is, the summer narrative. Stephen Harper is sticking with "I didn't know". Nope, he's outright indignant and has told his caucus that he's "very upset" with the conduct of people in the prime minister's office and some parliamentarians. And now, kids, sorry but I have to run. I have a plane to catch to Rio.