(This editorial, published in the Toronto Star, is bang on and a good expression of what's happening with our dishonest and highly corrupt Prime Minister:
Stephen Harper’s Alice in Wonderland world: Editorial
A surreal Alice in Wonderland air is beginning to surround Sen. Mike Duffy’s trial, and it is shredding the government’s credibility
Just how many impossible things do Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his scandal-tainted Conservative Party expect Canadians to believe before breakfast?
A surreal Alice in Wonderland air is beginning to surround Sen. Mike Duffy’s bribery, breach of trust and fraud trial, and it is shredding the government’s credibility. In the looking-glass world of the Prime Minister and all his men, reality is what they say it is, and skeptics be damned.
Before we all get dragged down the Conservative rabbit-hole, here’s a reminder of a few big things the Tories want the public to accept in connection with the Duffy scandal:
Stephen Harper knew nothing. Harper, one of the Canada’s most rigidly controlling and media-obsessed political figures, maintains he knew nothing about plans by his former chief of staff Nigel Wright to dig into his own pocket to the tune of $90,000 to repay Duffy’s dubious living expenses. How this could be when Harper’s closest aides in the Prime Minister’s Office and even people outside of government were deeply involved is hard to fathom.
Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair have both called on Harper to “come clean” and “tell the truth.”
Ray Novak knew nothing. Backed by the Conservative party,Harper’s current top aide and chief of staff before the election also maintains he knew nothing about the payment when he served as Harper’s principal secretary, the PMO’s second-highest job.
Yet Harper’s former legal adviser Ben Perrin flatly challenges that. He told the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that Novak was at a meeting when Wright advised Perrin that he was going to give Duffy the money. “I remember looking at Ray to see his reaction,” Perrin told police, saying it was “black and white” that Novak knew Wright was paying. Perrin also says Novak listened in on a phone call to Duffy’s lawyer when Wright spoke of the payment. And Novak received an email from Wright confirming “I will send my cheque on Monday.” Still, Novak knew nothing.
He can’t have known, Tory campaign spokesman Kory Teneycke says without any discernable hint of irony, because “it’s unfathomable that Ray would be aware of a payment … and not tell the prime minister.”
Wright and Duffy alone are to blame. Harper continues to insist that there are only “two people … who are responsible,” Duffy and Wright, and he has thrown them overboard.
It’s a convenient line. But Canadians know that it was an impressively large cast of Tory actors who conspired to contain the broader Duffy political scandal by solving his problems with a Senate audit and his disputed expenses, who cheered on the sleazy scheme or knew about it.
That cast includes not only Harper himself, but also Wright and Novak, Perrin, Wright’s former assistant David van Hemmen, former PMO communications chief Andrew MacDougall, former PMO issues management director Chris Woodcock, former PMO director of parliamentary affairs Patrick Rogers, Conservative Party bagman Sen. Irving Gerstein, and senior Tory senators Marjory LeBreton and David Tkachuk. All have been named in connection with trying to make the Duffy problem go away. The rot runs wide and deep.
Whatever credence Canadians may give to Harper’s assertion that he knew nothing of Wright’s payout, it is obvious that he and his office were all “good to go” with a shabby scheme to shield Duffy and the government from more embarrassment, to mislead the public into thinking that Duffy had willingly repaid, and to tamp down public anger over Senate spending abuses. The PMO, if not the PM, conspired to keep the public in the dark about the secret payoff to a man they felt had abused taxpayers’ money. And the party, at one point, was prepared to dip into its own funds to make the sleazy deceit happen.
Having betrayed the public trust and debased their brand, the Conservatives are inviting us to join the Mad Hatter’s tea party, swallowing whatever impossible thing they roll out of the pantry.