The vast majority of Canadians were undoubtedly delighted this week to see Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper squirm under the allegations of his own appointee to the Canadian Senate Sen. Mike Duffy. Mike Duffy, himself no model of propriety having stolen close to $100,000 in expenses that even he acknowledges were illegitimate, aimed his best invectives at the hand that once fed him, Stephen Harper. And, Stephen Harper, Canada’s most hated one, wilted noticeably in the bright light of shame he so sedulously aims to avoid.
The key insult in Mike Duffy’s 30-minute tirade in the house of sober second thought was to call out Stephen Harper on his often-repeated lie that Harper’s former Chief of Staff Nigel Wright acted alone in paying Mike Duffy’s $90,000 debt to the Senate and that he did so in protection of the Canadian public rather than for the purpose of covering up an embarrassing political scandal. Duffy did not mince his words. He said that the 3 met privately and that it was unmistakable from the words and actions of Harper that the aim was to eliminate the political embarrassment. There was not a word spoken amongst the 3 that could be taken as a concern for Canadian taxpayers. The meeting was about saving Harper’s reputation.
Significantly, Harper acted in a predictable way, the way most Canadians believe that he is–an angry, vindictive man who maintains absolute control. Those who challenge him are punished quickly and severely. They are punished not necessarily for their misfeasance but instead for the embarrassment they bring upon him. His recent appointee Duffy was embarrassing him. The money would be paid back immediately or he would be turfed from the Senate. Simple. Harper’s way or the highway.
None of this would surprise any of the 60% of Canadians who loathe Harper’s dictatorial style. Since coming office 7 years ago he has angered not only his enemies but those who previously supported him. They know he has done much to disregard, if not eliminate, civil liberties in Canada. His leadership has amounted to a long walk into darkness. He is Canada’s answer to Dick Cheney. And, he embraces the concept of intolerance as his political stratagem. His brand of ultra- conservatism is despairingly well to the right of the brand espoused by Republican tea party members . His administration represents the side of anti-democracy. It has been the bane of otherwise temperate, tolerant Canadians who cherish their rights and freedoms and allow their fellow citizens to function without restraint provided they respect others in the same fashion. If Harper’s latest polling numbers are even remotely close to accurate, Canadians are poised to throw him out of office, even if the end result is a government run by Justin Trudeau, by all accounts, a political neophyte, lacking somewhat in political savvy.
But compared to Harper, Justin Trudeau is refreshingly committed to protecting the rights of Canadians. Trudeau is certainly smart enough to sit back and watch Harper hang himself on his own petard. Trudeau likely senses that all he needs to do is to allow Harper to self-implode in a morass of political corruption. Three recent conservative appointees to the Senate and the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, all embroiled in a cover-up of misuse of taxpayer money. Every one of them appointed by Harper. Mike Duffy’s latest “defense” was the coup de grace. His allegation that Harper threatened him with expulsion from the Senate accurately portrayed Harper as the control-freak that everyone knows him to be, and, effectively dragged Harper into the snake pit with the rest of his infamous colleagues.
Mike Duffy’s taunts may be dismissed by some Harper partisans as the ramblings of a Senator about to lose his posh position in the do-nothing Canadian Senate, motivated to strike out at Harper because Duffy perceives Harper as the instigator of the Senate majority’s push to expel him. But Canadians are not buying that. They know that Stephen Harper functions with the sensitivity of a Vladimir Putin. He is retaliatory and cruel. His enemies know his ruthless, spiteful and vengeful ways. If Nigel Wright was only paying Duffy’s $90,000 debt to ensure Canadian taxpayers were not harmed by Duffy’s theft, why would Harper fire Wright? Because Harper slashes and cleaves even those close to him if there is any potential that their smut or indecency has any potential to touch him.
I predict that Mike Duffy will lose this battle. Harper’s cronies will band together sufficiently to toss him from the Senate. Perhaps rightfully so, since he only held that cushy, high-paying job based on Harper’s belief that he would spend the rest of his life singing Harper’s praises. But ironically, Duffy’s speech this week in the Senate served a very worthwhile purpose. It was another step toward exposing Harper as the bitter, self-justifying, iconoclast that most Canadians have come to know and hate . Harper has brought Canadian politics to the point that most right-thinking Canadians see it as a septic tank of trickery and deceit. It is a good thing that both the appointer and his appointee have been exposed simultaneously. Both deserve a similar fate. Unfortunately, Canadians will have to wait another year to rid themselves of Harper. Duffy’s demise is imminent.