So, apparently the PMO has "found" a bunch of e-mails that they previous claimed had been deleted.
The emails of Stephen Harper's former legal advisor were not deleted when he left the Prime Minister's Office, according to a letter sent from the Privy Council Office (PCO) to the RCMP.
Benjamin Perrin, who was named in RCMP documents last week as a player in the deal between Nigel Wright and Mike Duffy, left the PMO in late March.
The letter released Sunday night states when Perrin left in March, the PCO said they deleted his emails records as part of standard protocol. Last week, the RCMP sent another request to the PMO for Perrin's records to see if there were any backups.
But it turns out the Perrin's emails were held as part of "unrelated litigation", a discovery the PCO made the next day after PMO asked them to check again.If this sounds just a little Nixonian to you, it should. First the records don't exist, then they do. I'll put even money that the PMO has been busily hacking up the e-mail trail to remove the most damning evidence, and to end up making it look like Perrin never told Harper what was going on. Which will, incidentally throw Mr. Perrin under the same bus as Mr. Duffy, Mr. Wright and a few others. In this case, because Mr. Perrin will suddenly find himself under suspicion of failing to carry out the ethical duty of notifying "up the chain of command" when the organization is about to act wrongly).
As far as I am concerned, at this point, the RCMP should walk into the Langevin block armed with warrants for the seizure of all backups of the PMO's e-mail servers, if not the servers themselves. We already have evidence of the PMO attempting to cover up its activities and involvement in this whole mess. It is time to lock down every piece of communication related to this. The RCMP should also ascertain any external e-mail accounts that may have been involved, and issue requests for copies of all data in those accounts for the last couple of years.
Does this sound like a fishing expedition? To some extent it is. However, when there is reason to suspect that evidence has been tampered with, a wider net is needed to ensure that we capture the full picture.
However, even if we establish beyond all doubt that Harper really did not know the particulars of the arrangement that resulted in Nigel Wright paying Mike Duffy some $90,000 it does not matter. At the end of the day, the PMO is Harper's office. He is not some low level functionary who can be excused for not being fully aware of the consequences of someone's actions. He is the man at the helm. The guy in charge. The man who ultimately has to bear responsibility whether he likes it or not. Harper has tried desperately not to take responsibility for the actions of his staff.
This is unacceptable.