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Friday, November 22, 2013 

Stephen Harper ... You are a gutless, sleazy liar. Resign!

"Prime Minister Stephen Harper has fought for months to prevent the Senate spending scandal from tarnishing him personally. He no longer can.

RCMP Cpl. Greg Horton’s 81-page narrative of the events surrounding Nigel Wright’s $90,000 payment to Duffy last March immediately enters the pantheon of transformative Canadian political writing. It reveals Harper’s command structure, at the level of his closest and most loyal confidants, to be a nest of corruption, intrigue and shameless deceit. Its contents raise serious questions about the prime minister’s own role, and, frankly, his honesty.

Every Canadian of voting age should read Horton’s account: It’s that compelling. But whether they do or don’t, its impact will be lasting. Because the crux of the entire, sordid affair, and an explanation for everything that has transpired in Ottawa since last May, including all the prime minister’s public statements and the talking points of his spokespeople, can be found in the contrast between two critical passages, on pages 15 and 33. The rest is fascinating context.[...]But Feb. 13 wasn’t the end. It was the beginning. First came a flurry of communications between Wright, Duffy, Conservative Sen. David Tkachuk, Duffy’s lawyer Janice Payne, and Benjamin Perrin, then counsel to the Prime Minister — all aimed at a deal that would see Duffy’s tab paid, not by the senator himself, but by the Conservative party. The emails show officials were prepared to pay up, with party funds, and put the matter quietly to bed. On Feb. 21, eight days after the meeting with Duffy and Harper, “Mr. Wright told him (Duffy) to repay in full, with interest, stop future claims, don’t defend his entitlements in the media anymore, and the PMO would look after having the money reimbursed,” (emphasis mine) Horton writes. So much for Duffy as renegade.

But then we get to the nub, revealed in two of 2,600 emails gathered by the RCMP in their investigation. On Feb. 22, after more intense finagling involving Wright, Duffy, Perrin, Payne, three Conservative senators and five senior PMO staffers, a deal was finally struck to repay Duffy’s improperly claimed expenses, and his legal fees — apparently, judging from the document, with Harper’s personal approval. “I do want to speak to the PM before everything is considered final,” writes Wright. Then, from Horton: “Less than an hour later, Nigel Wright followed up with an email stating ‘We are good to go from the PM once Ben has his confirmation from Payne.’

Harper has denied, in the House of Commons and through a spokesman, that he knew of the Feb. 22 deal. Wednesday, he said in question period that “good to go” referred to his belief that Duffy was repaying his own expenses. Um, OK. But that’s more than a little difficult to believe, when measured against the content of the emails, and the facts outlined previously in Horton’s narrative. On the contrary, the evidence suggests that nine months ago, the prime minister of Canada did indeed sanction a payment, from the tax-credit-supported Conservative party, of Duffy’s improper expenses and his legal fees. This would explain the pretzels into which the Tories twisted themselves last month in trying to justify the legal payment, which in the end amounted to $13,560. How could it be denounced, if the boss had signed off?
Either way, the prime minister’s story is in doubt.  So is the credibility of his outrage at senatorial misconduct. And so is his past denunciation of Wright’s “deception.”

For Wright did not “deceive” his boss, judging from Horton’s document. Rather he kept him in the loop, seemingly to the point where all the players clearly understood it was best, for Harper’s own good, that he be kept out of it. They knew the Duffy deal needed to be kept secret, the emails make clear. It seems plausible that Harper also knew it needed to be kept secret – even from him. That is how most fair-minded observers will interpret Horton’s report. It’s a crushing blow to the prime minister, just as he gears up to make the case for a fourth term."

-No one believes this PM .....

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