Perceptions by Gerry Warner
A “Great Senator” and “one of my best, hardest-working appointments ever.”
None other than Prime Minister Stephen Harper scrawled this effusive piece of puffery in silver marker on a picture of Mike Duffy just five months after the PM appointed the now-disgraced senator to his job.
An enlarged copy of the photo was introduced as an exhibit in court Thursday on the third day of Duffy’s trial on 31 criminal counts of fraud, breach of trust and bribery.
And there are 39 trial dates to go in what is shaping up to be an unvarnished look inside the seamy underbelly of federal politics in Canada and when it’s over there will be bodies stacked outside the courthouse door. Three in particular. Let’s begin at the top.
From day one of this tawdry affair, Stephen Harper insisted he knew nothing of the potentially criminal machinations going on in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) much like Manuel in the great British comedy “Fawlty Towers” whimpering “I know nothing.”
Dear reader, in your heart-of-hearts, do you believe that? Does this sound like the iron-fisted, micro-managing Prime Minister that for the past 11 years has been running Canada off the corner of his desk? The peerless leader renowned for his anal-retentive control of the PMO and the entire Conservative Party. If you believe that, I have a Mike Duffy Bobble Head doll I’ll send to you.
Of course, we may never find out, because unlike our American neighbors to the south, who on occasion impeach their presidents and bring them to trial where they’re submitted to cross-examination and other nasty things to protect their
democracy, we don’t do things that way in Canada. We just take our leaders at their word and wouldn’t embarrass them by calling on them to testify.
At least that’s how it appears so far, but that may change before this trial is over.
Then there’s poor Nigel Wright, Harper’s former, ever-obliging, chief-of-staff who would take a bullet for his boss, and did in fact, a $90,000 silver bullet that he used to shut up a recalcitrant, now suspended senator, who believes in his heart-of-hearts that he never did anything wrong – and his trial may prove him right – but was damn determined not to be the scape goat for what he believed most of his fellow Senate colleagues were doing.
And who says Canada can’t produce juicy political scandals with the best of them?
Then there’s our much, maligned, in-glorious Senate, our supposed “Sober Chamber of Second Thought,” which every Prime Minister in Canadian history has appointed members to, who promptly engaged in partisan political activity on behalf of their benefactors. But none did it better than Mike Duffy, who raised thousands, if not millions, for Conservative coffers much to the delight of the Conservative Party and its latest glorious leader, Generalissimo Harper, our great war time leader. (You know this stuff just kinda writes itself, but I digress.)
And which of you dear readers out there think our glorious, unelected Red Chamber will still have the support of Canadian voters when this tawdry trial is over?
Remember there’s more trials to come with pillars of rectitude like suspended Senator Pamela Wallin, who faces numerous charges of having her nose in the trough right beside Duffy and suspended Senator Patrick Brazeau, who was suspended from the Senate after being charged with domestic assault and sexual assault and now runs an Ottawa strip club called the BareFax. Honestly, I’m not making this up.
Dear Canadians, we’ve been had by this crew and thank God we still have a legal system that’s hopefully capable of getting to the bottom of this sleazy affair that is an insult to our intelligence and the credibility of our soiled democracy. And when it’s over I hope we can rebuild a strong and credible democracy but it won’t be with the likes of the politicians and apparatchiks mentioned in this article.
Especially the prime minister.
Gerry Warner is a retired journalist, who once tried politics himself.
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