The Wright-Duffy-Harper narrative took an abrupt change of course in the major newspapers last evening.
In the National Post and The Globe & Mail, the story shifted to that of a well-intentioned chief of staff who was conned by the wily Cavendish Cottager. Andrew Coyne went on to recite a curious tale depicting Wright as the victim of a Duffy "bait & switch" ploy.
The bribe, it claims, was demanded by Duffy. So too were the inducements, the side deals about quashing the audit, validating Duffy's residency status, and so on.
Coyne then goes on to write, "For whatever reason, the government's resistance began to crumble." During this period of capitulation the Tories believed they were going to have to come up with $32K. Only after they were hooked did Duffy reveal the real price tag was $90K, the "bait & switch" ploy.
Wright felt responsible for having been tricked and therefore chose to cough up the $90K.
Bad Duffy, Bad Duffy.
The Globe account largely mirrors Coyne's story. It's the Duffy got the better of Wright mantra. Ol' Duff pulled a fast one on Nigel Wright.
Duffy and Wright's versions have one thing in common - there was a shakedown. Duffy has claimed to have had his arm twisted to take the PMO/Wright deal. Wright contends, and it may be borne out by documents and correspondence, that Duffy cajoled him into the deal.
"For whatever reason." Exactly. What's missing from this narrative is the reason for the under-the-table-cash deal in the first place, the $32K ($44K) deal. The RCMP report mentions that Duffy has told them he has documents containing explosive revelations but nothing along those lines has so far been handed over.
This seems as good a time as any for senator Duffy to unburden himself of what he knows.