Justin Trudeau, the brilliant new leader of the Liberal party of Canada, has engaged in valiant efforts over the past several weeks to hold Harper to his lofty promises. But Harper has become Casper the ghost. He hasn’t been around much, and when he is he’s not answering questions. His disappearing act is demoralizing even for his Conservative colleagues. They must wonder why their leader has left to them the challenge of answering questions about Conservative party fraud, exploitation of public funds, political graft, misrepresentation and payola to silence Harper appointments to the Canadian Senate. They are not able to answer Trudeau’s poignant questions, nor should they have to answer them.
The answers to Trudeau’s questions can only be answered by one or all of four persons: Stephen Harper, his former Chief of Staff Nigel Wright, who recently resigned his post in abject disgrace, and two of his recent appointments to the Canadian Senate, Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy.
Stephen Harper, like Richard Nixon before his fall from the Presidency of the United States of America, is in hiding. When Harper surfaces, he is not responding to questions about the political scandal that has rocked the Canadian Senate, other than a feeble mantra that he knew nothing of the fraudulent behavior of Wallin or Duffy until informed about it by the media. While he wears the mantle of ignorance well for many other reasons, in this instance his ignorance is obviously feigned.
As Canada’s next Prime Minister has pointed out so ably in the House of Commons, there are several inconvenient truths that stamp Harper’s claim of ignorance as bogus.
Duffy was appointed by Harper to the Senate. Duffy claimed $90,000 in housing expenses fraudulently. When the news of Duffy’s skimming of the public funds was first reported, Harper expressed his staunch support for his loyal appointee. It was not until it became obvious that Duffy’s expensing practices were false and deceptive that Harper feigned ignorance of his colleague’s malfeasance, and quickly began to distance himself from Duffy and his other wayward Senate appointment, Pamela Wallin. Harper also faked ignorance of the payment of $90,000 to Duffy by his Chief of Staff Nigel Wright. Duffy used the money to repay his false expense claims but pretended the money was his money. He neglected to mention that the money came from Wright. When the media discovered it came from Wright, Harper’s Chief of Staff, Wright resigned.
Pamela Wallin’s skim of the public money is reported closer to $132,000. A large public accounting firm was employed to examine Wallin’s expenses. They reported that Wallin made scores of entries into her “new” business calendar years after the fact in an effort to cover her tracks and “paper” her fraudulent bilking of public funds.
According to Harper, if not for the media, he would have no clue as to what was happening in his own office. So why did Wright give Duffy $90,000? For Duffy’s silence, of course. The quid pro quo of this payment was that Duffy was to shut up. No more gabbing with the media. Comments on his fraudulent behavior were to remain under the dome of silence. In Nixion fashion, Harper and his less-than-transparent colleagues hoped that silence would make it all go away. But like Watergate, it has not gone away. Instead, the obvious corruption within his ranks, committed by his own appointees, has festered. And sadly for him, Justin Trudeau reminds him regularly and repeatedly of his self-righteous platitudes upon taking office— “abusers of the public trust would go to jail and members of his government who bend the rules will be punished.”
Duffy has voluntarily removed himself from caucus. Big deal! He still remains in the Senate. He still collects his salary and he’s not in handcuffs or in jail. Duffy even vows to return to caucus after “all this” is cleared up. “All this” must refer to the police investigating his expense claims. The Senate has already concluded he stole the money and the Senate has already demanded repayment by him. Duffy pretended he paid the money back personally but we now know Harper’s Halderman, Nigel Wright, actually paid. The only thing transparent about Harper’s government is that it is now transparent that his office is directly involved in the attempted cover up. If only the Prime Minister’s office was wired for sound in Nixion fashion! Wouldn’t we love to hear the discussions between Harper and Wright!
Duffy’s expense claims relate to fraudulently claiming a residence that was not his residence in order to pad his expense account and steal money from Canadian taxpayers. When it became obvious that his residence claim was false, Duffy said he was “confused” by the rules of the Senate in relation to claiming residency expenses. Only a buffoon could be confused about where he lives. Roaming pigeons and cats know where they live. It is generally an easy question. Where do you live Mr. Duffy? Mr. Duffy: “I’m not sure, these damn rules have me confused.”
How about you, Ms. Wallin, how is it that so many entries of what you did years ago just made it into your calendar a few weeks ago? The ink on these enties appears to still be wet. Ms. Wallin: “I was told to do that by another Senator”. Oh we see, your version of “the devil made me do it.”
The media says to Ms. Wallin, “We’ve spoken to that Senator and he denies ever telling you to make up a list of events that you claim you attended in order to justify your expenses of years ago.” Ms. Wallin: “Well he’s lying!” Surely that Senator is trembling in his boots at the thought of his word being tested against Wallin’s word. Anyone with an intelligence level slightly above that of an amoeba would say, ” Why would any public official tell an already exposed fraud artist like Wallin to create an after-the-fact fraudulent calendar of events?” Pamela, you are also toast. But, you need not worry about Stephen Harper. His promises of accountability and transparency are as phony as your new calendar. Somebody close to Harper is on the way with a bag of money for your repayment. You need not resign from the Senate but you must shut your mouth.
Justin Trudeau, get ready. You sir are Canada’s next Prime Minister.