Duffy's clean. Which means somebody has to be dirty. Somebody orchestrated this political show trial. Somebody decided to go for a full-bore prosecution with no fewer than 31-charges. Somebody has been lying ever since the day that Duffy's unfortunate email was leaked to CTV.
There's no plausible denial left for Stephen Harper. Not this time. Not after Duffy was acquitted of all 31-charges. Not after what Justice Vaillancourt had to say about this "mind-boggling and shocking" scheme. The judge didn't just pronounce Duffy "not guilty," he found him not remotely blameworthy. Duffy wasn't acquitted, he was exonerated. There's a legal dynamic at play in that.
Nigel Wright is no longer everybody's Boy Scout. No, now he's another Tory Dirtbag. Ray Novak? Ditto. The Senate Tory leadership who participated in this scheme, including LeBreton, Tkachuk and Stewart-Olsen? Oh yeah, them too. Arthur Hamilton? Probably. About the only one of the principals who comes out unscathed is Ben Perrin, the whistleblower. Whether he acted out of principle or merely saw the writing on the wall we may never know. Perhaps it doesn't much matter.
What a fitting way for Stephen Harper to leave federal politics - in utter disgrace.
It will be a while before Justice Vaillancourt's 308-page written judgment can be properly digested. What we got today was a glimpse at his actual findings. For example, TorStar picked up these gems:
“The political, covert, relentless, unfolding of events is mindboggling and shocking. The precision and planning of the exercise would make any military commander proud.”
The judge concluded the PMO designed a scenario to have Duffy repay, even if it meant Wright handed over a cheque. It “was not for the benefit of Senate Duffy, but rather, it was for the benefit of the government and the PMO.
“This was damage control at its finest.”
Moreover, the judge suggested the Crown fingered the wrong person for criticism, in stating “that Mr. Duffy’s actions were driven by deceit, manipulation, and carried out in a clandestine manner representing a serious and marked departure from the standard expected of a person in Sen. Duffy’s position of trust.
“I find that if one were to substitute the PMO, Nigel Wright and the others for Sen. Duffy in the aforementioned sentence, that you would have a more accurate statement.”