Stephen Harper's greasy premiership relies on the notion that what goes on within his private, personal agency, the PMO, is not his responsibility. This from Prime Minister Accountability & Transparency (tm).
- happened just down the hall from the prime minister's own office
- entailed at least four top aides, people with whom he would meet several times each day
- was transacted by his chief of staff and his personal legal advisor
- transpired over the course of days, weeks, months even
- extended to at least four senior Tory senators
- involved a scandal known to the prime minister, one in which he met with the principal, Duffy
- resulted in some solution, the fact of which he was informed by his CoS
- apparently led to the resignation and departure of his personal legal advisor weeks later
- was regularly in the newspapers and TV news before the scandal itself actually broke
Sorry but if the prime minister didn't know it's because he chose not to know in circumstances as deliberate as they were inexcusable. His top aides knew he didn't want to know. Stephen Harper cannot plead in his defence that he didn't know when that was a pre-ordained result. He cannot shirk direct and full responsibility for allowing his prime minister's office and its staff, accountable solely to himself, to become a taxpayer-funded, in-house criminal enterprise.
When this many people were involved - all his major aides in the PMO and four top Tory senators - they were his agents. This is a clear case of agency. The prime minister doesn't get the benefit of the doubt on this, not after the Bruce Carson scandal. He knew about the Duffy issue, he knew it was a serious problem to his administration, and if he didn't know how Nigel Wright acted to solve it, that's only because he chose not to ask.
Bruce Carson taught us that Harper could not be trusted with something so easily corrupted as a prime minister's office. Now he's shown what we get for ignoring that.