Once known around Ottawa as "Mr. Integrity", Wright has been supposedly laying low since he
Hebert seemed to be trying to flush Wright out of the weeds with this line:
Only a saint or alternatively someone with a guilty conscience would continue to play dead as his former boss wreaks irreparable damage on his or her reputation.
Sorry, Chantal, that's way too obvious. Look at it this way. Nigel is super-connected. You have to be to make the kind of money he earns. In Toronto, super-connected comes in two flavours - Conservative and Liberal. Ideally, if you play your cards Wright, you can have a bit of both.
Nigel is a young man. He has a long and productive life ahead of him. Storming back to Ottawa with sword raised to smite a lying prime minister would probably be seen by Wright's partners as bad for business.
Stephen Harper isn't playing to the Bay Street crowd when he turns on Wright. Shifty is playing to the Gullibillies, the Conservative base who desperately need to believe all this is not happening. No way, no sir, not Steve Harper. No. They're not exactly on the same cocktail circuit as Nigel.
None of this is to say that we've heard the end of Nigel Wright. Hardly. There are said to exist, in various hands including the RCMP's, copies of electronic communications, contemporaneous to the events, that indicate Mr. Harper, contrary to his wobbly denials, was fully aware and approved of the Wright-Duffy, under-the-table cash deal.
If these accounts are true, all and sundry are waiting to learn whether Shifty can figure out some way to keep those messages from ever surfacing in public. That will influence how events and players go forward.
Wouldn't you love to know how many times Shifty has conferred, either telephonically or in person, with his pet RCMP Commish Paulson over the past couple of months? I'll wager they don't communicate via e-mail or letter.
That said, I still think Hebert is on to something. It is time to focus on Nigel Wright. Tie Harper down. Keep NigelWright alive in Question Period. Force Harper to squirm on the resigned/fired issue. Clarify Wright's supposed 'deception.' Deceiving is a deliberate misleading. It's intentional. Harper is contending that Wright intentionally misled him. Why would he do that? To what end? When Wright knew that so many others knew, how could he assume he could conceal the truth from Harper? Now it seems there were a dozen people, key Tories all, in on it. Did they all deceive Shifty too? They must have done just that. And what fate befell them?
A few have resigned from posts and committees - LeBreton, Stewart-Olsen, Tkachuk, Woodcock - but that seemed to have happened as the flames began to lick at their feet. Harper didn't take their scalps.
What Harper is alleging is actually a conspiracy by a dozen top Tories to deceive him. A conspiracy, a solemn pact, to mention nothing about any aspect of this backroom deal to the prime minister. What are these people, Druids?
This is Ottawa, a place where nothing is secret that is known by three people. Duffy, keep a secret, really? We don't even know how many Ottawans received the e-mail that broke this scandal, the one that was leaked to CTV's Bob Fife. Hell, that could be half of Conservative Ottawa.
When you put it all together, Harper is saying that he was one of the few Conservatives in Ottawa who didn't know. Even though it was all going on just a few doors down the hall from his own desk.
Explore, develop, confront and by all means keep the pressure on Stephen Harper in Question Period. Bang that gong until his ears bleed.
Meanwhile, check out what Nigel is up to these days. Is he getting any business from prominent Conservatives or even the party itself? Has he truly become persona non grata in Conservative circles? Who knows where that could lead.