Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Even NatPo Figured It Out, Finally.
Five days after the Wright-Duffy-Harper offshoot of the earlier Senate expenses scandal became public, your humble scribe predicted that Harper's Achilles' Heel in the PMO scandal was the fact that two of the parties directly implicated, Nigel Wright and Benjamin Perrin, were lawyers.
That was May 20th. Now, slightly more than six months later, the National Post has figured out the same thing. There are rather dire consequences when lawyers participate in a fraud. The payment of money to Duffy without Harper's consent is quite likely a criminal act. That's why it's all but inconceivable that lawyer, indeed law professor, Benjamin Perrin, personal legal advisor to the prime minister, would have negotiated the deal with Duffy's solicitor unless he knew that he was acting with his client, Stephen Harper's consent and authorization.
Perrin abruptly left the PMO and hightailed it back to Vancouver only about a month after the under-the-table cash deal was transacted. He more than curiously popped up only once and then only to deny having had anything to do with the deal, something the documents flatly disprove. My guess is that Perrin split for his own sake and for the prime minister's.
Wright may face prison, and two lawyers who had knowledge of the deal may face sanction from their law societies, unless Harper says that he knew about the deal.
“He can’t say that,” said Walsh. “He would then be publicly responsible for the shenanigans that were going on. That’s a political problem for him. Now, legally if he were to say that, these guys get off. If Harper knew what was going on, that removes the criminality.”
Walsh says this situation may explain why Harper has been reluctant to discuss in detail what he did know about the deal.
Throwing somebody under the Conservative Party bus is old hat to Stephen Harper. Sending them to the Greybar Hotel to cover his ass is something else entirely.
It would have all been so much simpler if Nigel Wright had simply followed the Mulroney protocol and met Duffy at a coffee shop to slide an envelope full of cash across the table.
Afterthought - I have long thought that Stephen Harper had many of the instincts of Joseph Stalin. Maybe I underestimated him. Lately he's looking a lot more like Ivan the Terrible.