Thursday, November 21, 2013

If Henry II Was Guilty, So Too is Stephen Harper.

Anyone can have a rogue employee and sometimes there isn't much that can be done about it before damage is caused.   The employer can honestly claim not to have known and, therefore, that he is not to blame.

But when your entire management team gets up to no good, it's a fair assumption that they're acting as agents of the employer especially if they're making "problems" go away.

As far as the vague historical record goes, Henry II never specifically ordered his knights to slaughter Thomas Becket.  That didn't stop anybody from blaming the king for Becket's assassination.  He had a problem.  He wanted it to go away.  His nobles did their king's bidding.

Stephen Harper's knights - Wright, Woodcock, van Hemmen, Perrin - likewise sought to solve his problem with senator Mike Duffy.   Four top aides.  Is it remotely plausible that all four of them entered into a scheme behind Stephen Harper's back without an understanding that they were doing his bidding?  One of the four was the prime minister's personal legal counsel - a law professor no less, an expert in constitutional and criminal law.

Stephen Harper says he didn't know.   He claims it was all done without his approval and if he'd only gotten wind of it he would have stopped everything immediately.  The naivete defence hasn't really been available to Harper since the Bruce Carson/PMO scandal.

It's the prime minister's office and that's why it's called the PMO.   What is done there is done on behalf of the prime minister and those in the shop are accountable to the prime minister alone.   The prime minister, likewise, has a responsibility for what they do and if his aids want to transform the PMO into a criminal enterprise, that's on the prime minister.  They're his hand picked team.  He's responsible for what they do.  "Don't ask/don't tell" isn't a Get Out of Jail Free card for the prime minister.

Stephen Harper knew his chief of staff was dealing with the Duffy problem.  If he didn't know how that was being done that's because he chose not to know.  He deliberately chose to be left in the dark.   Perrin, the personal lawyer to the prime minister, was in on it.   Perrin almost certainly had to know what they were doing was illegal - as the RCMP put it, fraud, bribery and breach of trust - and yet he did not mention this to his client, Stephen Harper?  Utter nonsense.

Why did Perrin leave Ottawa a month before the scandal erupted in public?   What did he tell Harper?  There is much to be asked of Benjamin Perrin.  He has an enormous amount of explaining to do.   Imagine when Perrin refuses to answer, invoking solicitor-client privilege.  As counsel to the prime minister, Perrin is in an extraordinary bind concerning his role in the Duffy affair.   Harper, in claiming that his staff kept him in the dark, may have already waived solicitor-client privilege over anything Perrin had to do with this, including what Perrin did and did not tell Harper and why.

As the client, the privilege is Harper's to assert or waive.  The opposition should ask the prime minister to waive privilege over the Duffy-Wright affair.  If Harper is going to hide behind it, make him do it in public.

Harper needs to explain why, when Wright resigned, he didn't fire Woodcock and van Hemmen on the spot.  They were certainly privy to the events.   They didn't do the right thing and warn Harper.  Why not?  What about the current chief of staff, Ray Novak?  He now stands implicated in what the RCMP describes as the PMO's corruption of the Senate.  He's still on the payroll.  Why?

Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau have been booted out of the Senate but LeBreton, Tkachuk and Stewart-Olsen remain.  Why?  The RCMP investigation points to the three of them effectively implementing the PMO's scheme to corrupt the Senate. Surely whatever Duffy, Wallin or Brazeau did is peanuts compared to what the others did.  DW&B raided the petty cash.  The others allegedly corrupted the Senate itself.   Who is protecting them, and why?  What about Deloittes' audit? Who twisted the arm of the auditors to launder their report?  Why is that person still on the payroll?

There are so many unasked questions in need of answers and no indication that they'll ever be asked.  The opposition could do themselves and Canada a favour by co-operating on this, to methodically ask all the important questions and then show the Canadian people all the questions the government won't answer.  Use that to make the case for a public enquiry.

Don't waste your limited opportunity to keep asking the same questions, beating a dead horse.  Start focusing on the details, all the players.   They're all on Harper's team whether in the PMO, the Commons or the Senate.  He's had three of them "bumped off" but is apparently closing ranks to protect the others, presumably lest their tongues be loosened by self-preservation.

One other thing they might want to consider.  Has anyone from the opposition asked Mike Duffy for copies of his documents?  Just sayin.

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