Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Is The PMO Above The Law?

There seems to be a mistaken belief in Harper's PMO that they are above the law.  

According to CTV, the PMO has been quietly withholding an important e-mail related to the Duffy Affair.

“My understanding is it is a paraphrase of conversations that happened,” he told CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife. “I’ve had them described to me from someone who is no longer here.”
The Feb. 20 email describes a secret deal to have Harper’s then-chief of staff Nigel Wright personally bail out Duffy, a Conservative senator who improperly claimed $90,172 in living expenses and faced the public release of an audit of his spending. 
After CTV News broke the story, Wright resigned and Duffy left the Conservative caucus to sit as an Independent.
The Mounties subsequently launched an investigation into Wright’s payment to Duffy. The lead investigator has contacted CTV News twice to ask about the Feb. 20 email. In order to protect his sources, Fife told the Mounties to ask the PMO for the information they need to conduct their investigation.
But insiders say the Prime Minister’s Office has been withholding that information.
Asked if Wright himself has the email in question, MacDougall said: “I can’t speak for Nigel.”
RCMP affidavits allege that three other senior PMO staffers, including Harper’s former legal counsel Benjamin Perrin, knew of the deal between Wright and Duffy.
 Later today, we have the PMO denying that they have been asked for this particular e-mail:

The Prime Minister’s Office denies it is withholding an email from the RCMP concerningNigel Wright’s $90,000 cheque to Sen. Mike Duffy.
In response to a CTV story about the email, spokeswoman Julie Vaux told Global News:
“Contrary to CTV’s reporting, our office has not been asked for this e-mail.  As we have always said, we will assist investigations into this matter,” she said in an email.
Please note the careful wording from the PMO:  "our office has not been asked for this e-mail".  The only way that this makes any sense whatsoever is in terms of the PMO playing semantics games by trying to treat this e-mail as distinct from other evidence related to the Duffy Affair.  Perhaps the RCMP's request didn't name that e-mail by its unique database identifier, or some other semantic dodge.

The PMO is quietly dodging this while fighting Corporal Horton's move to get a "Production Order" from the courts.  For the PMO to claim that they have not "received a request" for a particular e-mail smacks of the same kind of dishonesty that one expects from a fraudster when caught cooking the books.

Quite frankly, it is my opinion that Corporal Horton should gather a squad together and march down to the PMO, and demand that they turn over every last scrap of information that is related to the Duffy Affair, and every person in that office who does not cooperate is taken down to explain themselves to a judge.  This PMO, and the Prime Minister at the top of it all, seem to think themselves above the law and that the rules do not apply to them.  It is time to remind the "get tough on crime" lot that the rules apply to them just as much as the rest of Canada.

Even if Duffy has committed no crime personally, another crime has been committed:  the trust of Canadians has been abused by a hypocritical government that wants to imprison more Canadians for longer times has tried to place itself and its misdeeds outside the law.

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