Make no mistake about it, I have little sympathy for Mike Duffy. When I caught wind of his political aspirations several years before he became a Senator, he ceased to be among the journalists that I had much respect for.
That said, Duffy's last couple of speeches in the Senate speak volumes. Today, he revealed the existence of yet another cheque originating within the CPC apparatus to bail him out of the financial quagmire that he found himself in.
Senator Mike Duffy set Ottawa abuzz Monday with his latest revelations from the Senate floor. Duffy says Conservative party lawyer Arthur Hamilton was part of a scheme to cover his $13,560 legal bill. An audible gasp went up from senators as Duffy dropped his latest bombshell.
Duffy says he received two cheques as part of a larger plan he says was devised by the Prime Minister's Office. The legal bill payment is in addition to the original $90,000 cheque from Nigel Wright, the former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.Make no mistake about it, all of this mess points quite clearly to the PMO, and in particular at Harper. Even if we accept that there is a common principle in the PMO where the PM is not told certain things in order to give him "plausible deniability" should the scheme backfire, Canadians need to bear in mind that it is Harper himself who sets the tone in the PMO.
So, when you consider that Harper appointed quite a few of the Senators on the basis of their ability to help the CPC win a majority government. There was an intent when Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau were appointed. They weren't appointed to represent regions of Canada. They were appointed for their ability to bring votes to the table. No doubt, the PMO set the tone which made both Wallin and Duffy believe that they could expense quite lavishly as long as they claimed to be on "Senate Business". I don't even think that they necessarily broke the rules where Senate expenses were involved. However, they did break a covenant with Canadians, and in doing so, broke open the festering mess that has been the Senate under Harper.
While the responsibility for the overall mess in Ottawa sits clearly on Harper's desk, Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau all bear the responsibility for having the poor judgment to engage in Harper's scheming to gain greater power.
Harper promised Canadians a more open, accountable government. He has delivered anything but.