Sunday, November 03, 2013

Harper: "I'm Not Responsible"

“The Senate should do the right thing now and suspend those senators without pay!” Harper told a crowd of 3,000, according to estimates from Conservative party officials. 
“Canadians expect, I expect, that people be held accountable,” he said.
Well, yes, Mr. Harper, Canadians do expect people to be held accountable.  That includes _YOU_.

Ontario MP Bernard Trottier told reporters Saturday there was no need for the prime minister to apologize. Harper “is a man who is very ethical, so we need to punish the people who deliberately cheated with their spending,” Trottier said.
“If there were errors maybe it was in the hiring (of) people like Nigel Wright,” he said. “Men who have a good character but made errors, and we find that in all organizations.” 
It's convention week, everybody in the CPC is going to be trying to bolster Dear Leader.  I get it.

However, Mr. Trottier's statement shows us the latest talking points from the PMO.  Namely that the PM didn't do anything wrong, and it was all "under the table" by a bunch of wrongdoers in the PMO.

Harper is the man at the top - he sets the tone.  In the PMO, he sets the rules.  You cannot tell me that Wright acted entirely independently.  Harper set the tone and the rules in the PMO that would have allowed Nigel Wright to believe that his actions were appropriate.

Further, if we go back to this past spring, Mr. Harper was defending Mr. Wright's actions:
Fired or resigned. Acted in the public interest, or out of deception. These are just two examples of Harper's changing answers. And that makes the prime minister a key player in keeping the Senate scandal alive heading into a policy convention that was supposed to lift the party away from the Senate morass and into the orbit of priorities they can campaign on in 2015. 
Still, turning on your former chief of staff seems out of sync for a leader who demands absolute loyalty from his people, and a strict adherence to message control. 
When Wright first resigned, a number of his former colleagues praised his integrity, work ethic and honesty. They called his decision to personally repay Duffy's expenses a regrettable error. 
Those same people are silent now as Harper dismantles Wright's reputation. 
Oxford defines to deceive as to "deliberately cause (someone) to believe that something is not true, especially for personal gain." 
There's been no suggestion Wright was motivated by personal gain. In fact, just the opposite is true. He dashed off a payment in an attempt make a political problem go away for the prime minister.
Let me be clear, Harper's changing story tells us one thing:  he either has, or is, lying to Canadians on this matter.  The degree to which he was involved is not the issue - the fact is even if Harper can prove that he wasn't directly involved (which Duffy's revelations Oct. 22 call into question), he is still ultimately the man responsible for the goings-on in the PMO.

Following the PMO's advice, I ignored the media but the attacks from Postmedia continued and the political heat escalated. So after caucus on Feb. 13 of this year, I met the Prime Minister and Nigel Wright, just the three of us. I said that despite the smear in the papers, I had not broken the rules, but the Prime Minister wasn't interested in explanations or the truth. It's not about what you did; it's about the perception of what you did that has been created in the media. The rules are inexplicable to our base. 
I argued: I'm just following the rules like all of the others. But it did not work. I was ordered by the Prime Minister: Pay the money back, end of discussion. Nigel Wright was present throughout, just the three of us.
So, there were meetings where Harper was directly involved.  There is no valid way that Harper can claim that he was unaware of what was going on - starting in February.

Harper wants to take credit for the alleged successes of his government, then he is also responsible for the failures.  In this case, the failure has landed smack in the middle of his offices, and unlike many other political scandals it is quite clear that not only did he set the tone which allowed this mess to occur, but that the Prime Minister was centrally involved.

No comments: