The Duffy Affair: Harper gives campaign-style speech, avoids details

Julian Wolfe
May 21st, 2013

Prime Minister Stephen Harper allowed cameras into his caucus meeting today to address recent events. He gave a campaign-style speech saying he’s upset about the ordeal but refused to take questions and dodged most of the questions Canadians want answered about the affair. Harper used the speech to muse about a track record on accountability and a need to focus on the economy.

“I don’t think any of you are going to be very surprised to hear that I’m not happy,” Harper told Conservative MPs and senators. “I’m very upset about some conduct we have witnessed, the conduct of some parliamentarians and the conduct of my own office.”

“Canada has one of the most accountable and transparent systems of government in the entire world,” Harper said. “It is something we can never take for granted.”

“I know that, like me and my family, that you are scrupulous about paying expenses of a personal nature yourselves… but that said, let me repeat something else I said in that same speech in 2005, and let me be very blunt about it: Anyone who wants to use public office for their own benefit should make other plans, or better yet, leave this room,” Harper said.

Harper then went down the road of senate reform, taking swipes at the opposition.

“The Senate status quo is not acceptable, Canadians want the Senate to change,” Harper said.

Harper went on to try to change the topic, stating it was time the Conservatives focus on their primary priority: the economy.

There was no specific mention of events that unfolded. There was no address of Nigel Wright’s dealings with Mike Duffy. Just a poetic dance around the topic, first trying to put accountability focus on Conservative accomplishments and then changing the topic to the economy.

This has only raised more questions. If Canada has one of the most accountable and transparent systems in the world, why is it so difficult to get answers to questions pertaining to scandals and the use of taxpayers’ money? Why does the PBO have to take the government that created it to court to get documents pertaining to its spending habits? How can you praise the accountability act when it is clear your own people haven’t even bothered to read, let alone respect it?

It appears the only way to get an answer is through a public inquiry headed by the RCMP. It is clear the only way Canadians will get justice is when guilty Conservatives are forced to take the fall. Harper’s speech was an example of the issues his government is facing. His government is nothing but fancy words and lack of explanation – just like his speech today. Perhaps he thinks throwing the scandal under the rug is the right thing to do, but a Prime Minister with integrity wouldn’t say he’s upset about the matter, or give a fancy speech about it, he’d target the guilty parties and forward them to an RCMP investigation.

So what do you think of Harper’s speech? Did it bring closure to you or did it demonstrate Harper’s addiction to fancy words and repulsion to enacting them?

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   Categories: Accountability, Integrity, Senate, The Duffy Affair

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