Wednesday, November 20, 2013

So, Mister Harper, What Do You Have to Say For Yourself Now?

Harper knew.  Despite all the lies he has endlessly spun in Parliament, to the Tory faithful, to reporters, the truth is spilling  out.

Stephen Harper knew that Nigel Wright was giving Mike Duffy money to clear his Senate tab.  Stephen Harper gave Nigel Wright the "go ahead."  Wright waited until Harper told him they were "good to go."

Wright confirmed this in an e-mail he sent to Harper press secretary, Carl Vallee, and PMO communications director, Andrew MacDougall.

"The PM knows, in broad terms only, that I personally assisted Duffy when I was getting him to agree to repay the expenses," Wright said in an email May 14.

And there's more, plenty more, almost certainly enough to bury Stephen Harper. a February email, Wright refers to Harper's "approval" related to earlier negotiations around covering Duffy's expenses.

Emails on Feb. 21 and 22 suggest Duffy's lawyer, Janice Payne, and several PMO officials negotiated the agreement to repay Duffy's expenses and legal fees in return for the Senate committee dropping a third-party audit into Duffy's expenses, according to the RCMP document.

In one email to PMO legal counsel Ben Perrin and other officials, Wright said, "I now have the go-ahead" on the repayment, "with a couple of stipulations."

Wright continued that he needed to know "who, if anyone, Sen. Duffy ever intends to inform" about the repayment. Wright also wanted to "cap the legal fee reimbursement at $12,000" — the amount the party later confirmed it paid — and to know how much Duffy actually owed.

"I do want to speak to the PM before everything is considered final," Wright wrote, according to Horton's affidavit.

Less than an hour later, Horton said, "Nigel Wright followed up with an email stating 'We are good to go from the PM once Ben [Perrin] has his confirmation from Payne.'"

These e-mails speak volumes but I don't think they're exhaustive of the record. Duffy is said to have several hundred pages of documents including e-mails, correspondence and even a tape recording or two.  His counsel, Don Bayne, says some of those documents also implicate Harper directly.

Harper got caught in lies of his own making.  He believed that tossing a couple of sacrificial lambs from the PMO would make all his problems go away.  The way this scandal has been bungled speaks very powerfully of Stephen Harper's arrogance and integrity.   Now he may be left to await his own Ides of March.


Kirbycairo said...

The phrase "we are good to go from the PM" is the smoking gun of this scandal. This is confirmation of bribery perpetrated by the Prime Minister and the worst corruption scandal in Canadian History with the possible exception of the Pacific Scandal.

Any MP or voter who now support Harper is condoning criminal activity by the PM.

It is plain and simple.

deb said...

I wonder this enough to get Harper to resign? I really hope so, as he seems like the rob ford type...wont go until he is kicking and screaming all the way to jail:P

The Mound of Sound said...

There are a lot of documents in this business we have yet to see, KC. Duffy's docs apparently run to several hundred pages. Some of those are also said to implicate Harper.

I wonder how much of this is known to Harper's rivals and prospective successors - Jason Kenney and Peter MacKay among others and what role that might have played in their support for Nigel Wright even as Harper was trying to toss the guy under the Conservative bus.

Deb, being constantly underwhelmed by both opposition parties, I have always maintained that the greatest threat to Harper came from within his own party's ranks. I would suspect Stephen Harper can go from Conservative asset to election liability fairly quickly.

CuJoYYC said...

I still suspect that Duffy has a least ONE email to PMO staff (and we now know that lots of them were involved) with Harper in the CC field. No better way to cover your ass than to use the CC or BCC field. I think Duffy is shrewd enough (or slippery enough if that's how you choose to describe him) to to CC or BCC Harper.

The hits just keep on coming. Did everyone send a thank you card to Rob and Doug Ford for keeping us entertained while Parliament was on a break?

Kirbycairo said...

@ Deb - absolutely NOTHING is enough for Harper to resign. He will only vacate the PMO in a pine box. His attachment to the office makes Rob Ford look like a pushover. Even a lost election will not drive Harper from office (especially if he were to lose to Trudeau). If he lost, he would ask the GG to nullify the election with the accusation that Trudeau is a Chinese agent. And the GG would do it because he is Harper's lap dog. Harper will never leave, it is time for Canadians to realize that this.

rumleyfips said...

OK OK but I did it in one of my drunken stupors. And besides all the liberals do worse things than this every day. And I'm really , really sorry so it's OK now. And the elites are really bad.

Barfo the wonder economist

Purple library guy said...

At this point it becomes particularly handy that Mulcair forced him to flat out lie in parliament rather than getting away with evasions.
Although his denunciations of Wright for doing exactly what he told Wright to do--that was an 'own goal'.

He bet everything on being able to control the information that came out. And I'm not just talking about this scandal, I'm talking about his whole approach to office. It is so pleasing to see him fail, to watch his grip vainly tighten as systems slip through his fingers . . .

Owen Gray said...

It's going to be very interesting what the lawyers in the middle of this mess -- Wright and Perrin -- do.

Stephen Harper can return to the National Citizens Coalition. Wright and Perrin could face severe professional sanctions.

deb said...

well lets cheer on the cons and their demise. We can toast to their antics and we can hope they dont find a way to steal the next election. I really hope the electorate doesnt buy the spin machine.
And really lets hope Harper does refuse to in BC we sure found out the hard way what happens when parties change leaders. Some folks are fooled into casting a ballot for the corrupt party even though their history has been filled to the brim with scandals.
Jason Kenney as the new leader might convince people to vote for the cons all over again. The conservative spin machine can say he will bring the party into a new era of success.

The Mound of Sound said...

As I understand it, Cujo, there are indeed more smoking gun docs. I've also heard there is one, possibly two, delightful tapes a highly placed Tory senator screaming at Duffy that could be construed as threats.

Kirby we should be thankful that Harper won't resign voluntarily. That will turn this into a Tory on Tory civil war, Progressive Cons versus Reformers. There'll be a lot of pressure to do a Dalton Camp number on Harper, to depose him from within, if only to prevent the Right becoming disastrously fractured.

Yes, Rumley, I do believe you've located the script.

PLG. I agree. This is Harper simply running true to form, straight out of his PMO playbook. They were confident this could be done entirely under-the-table. Duffy couldn't keep a secret. A Tory dissident leaked Duffy's e-mail to CTV. Harper couldn't tell the truth so he lied and used Wright as a sacrificial lamb, hoping that Nigel's disgrace would satisfy the plebs.

Harper underestimated the insurgency in his own ranks. As happened so many times in the past, Harper counted on this scandal dying a natural death over the summer break. The insurgents responded as Labour Day neared with the leak of additional documents, re-fueling the scandal. Harper prorogued but the scandal refused to die and he was unable to recapture the narrative. He got in so deep he couldn't even keep contradicting old lies with new lies.

I disagree with your favourable take on Mulcair. Neither opposition party did squat on this scandal except to read the papers and taunt Harper in Question Period. They did nothing to uncover facts or advance the scandal. Nothing.

Owen, you're right about Perrin. He's exposed to possible disciplinary action by the Law Society of B.C. I'm not sure Wright has maintained his professional standing. Both could well face criminal prosecution.