Recent events have trumped Conservative tough on crime rhetoric. From the Duffy Affair to Rob Ford’s drug problems, the Conservatives have been slow to realize these events are their time to shine, not fail as miserably as they have.
As Canadians look for answers in the ongoing senate saga, Harper’s statements and lack of statements have raised more questions than answers. One minute, the scandal is isolated to his former chief of staff Nigel Wright, the next, “very few people” knew. One minute, he was saddened to see Wright resign, now Wright was “dismissed.” In 2005, the Prime Minister was responsible for the actions of his staff, today, there is no correlation. In 2005, withholding information was enough reason to hold a political leader to the fire, today, it is the norm. It appears contradictions are dominating Harper’s dialogue and actions, should he be held by his 2005 standards today?
Within six days of Duffy’s bombshell allegation implicating Harper in the Duffy affair, Duffy released documents today which implicate Conservative Party lawyer Arthur Hamilton in a second cheque.
There is no going back on The Duffy Affair, the breach of trust and scar to the Conservative brand will last a while. The story is on people’s minds and despite an aggressive effort to get it off the agenda, the fall session of Parliament is picking up where the spring session left off – in an interrogation room setting with an opposition playing whack a mole with a defiant prime minister.
The Duffy Affair exploded with controversy Tuesday when disgraced senator Mike Duffy implicated Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the scandal in a speech to the senate to save his job. The speech has led a domino effect exposing over a dozen Conservative insiders who knew of the affair – despite Harper’s claims that former Chief of Staff Nigel Wright acted alone.
It is no secret the only media the Conservatives trust is their own and insiders will often refer to the “liberal media” or “media elite” as a cause for criticisms on their governance and their difficulty attaining power prior to 2006. This mistrust and hatred as spilled to the way Harper deals with journalists and a recent feud is now the centre of a Tory fundraising ploy.
The Conservatives have desperately tried to dodge the scandals floating in the senate but as time progresses, the situation appears to be getting worse. The Duffy Affair already has some explosive new leads: one of the senators who became known for whitewashing an independent audit is also wrapped into scandal, a mysterious binder belonging to Harper’s former Chief of Staff reveals Duffy’s calendar, Duffy contracted $65,000 for “little or no apparent work.”
The alarms were raised when Carolyn Stewart Olsen helped whitewash a senate audit into then-Conservative senator Mike Duffy. Recently, Olsen has herself pledged to repay monies that she took from Canadian taxpayers on the basis of false housing allowance claims while she owned property in Ottawa.
Elections Canada has laid charges on Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro and one of his campaign staffers after a two year investigation into his campaign finances. If convicted, Del Mastro could face a $5,000 fine and 5-year jail sentence for concealing $21,000 in campaign expenses. The PMO has since expelled him from the Conservative caucus and his court date is set for November 7, 2013.
CTV News has learned Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former Chief of Staff Nigel Wright wasn’t alone in reaching a deal with Mike Duffy to buy his silence.