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The Cracked Crystal Ball II: No Charges Doesn’t Mean Wright Is Clean

On Friday, we learned that the RCMP will not be laying charges against Nigel Wright for writing a cheque to Mike Duffy in the amount of some $90,000 and change.  The CPC, and the PMO, seem to think that this is some kind of exoneration.  Nothing could be further from the truth. The RCMP only lays charges when they have evidence of criminal activity that is sufficiently solid to have a “reasonable expectation of conviction”.  If for any reason, the evidence is insufficient to meet that bar, charges are not laid. In no respect does this mean that what (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Paul Krugman explains how one’s political values figure to affect one’s view of evidence as to the success or failure of a policy: (T)he liberal and conservative movements are not at all symmetric in their goals. Conservatives want smaller government as an end in itself; liberals don’t seek bigger government per se — they want government to achieve certain things, which is quite different. You’ll never see liberals boasting about raising the share of government spending in GDP the way conservatives talk proudly about bringing that share down. Because liberals want government to (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: CPC slogan 2015: “No grounds for criminal charges.” *

* H/t Dan Gardner

In the twisted morality of the Harper universe, it will be claimed and conveyed as a complete vindication of the Prime Minister.

That the RCMP has found no grounds upon which to lay criminal charges against Nigel Wright in the $90,000 payoff-to-Mike-Duffy-scandal does nothing to dissolve the deep and abiding suspicions about Harper’s influence-peddling machinations was not lost on the At Issue panelists last night:

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Montreal Simon: Why the Senate Scandal Can Still Bring Down Stephen Harper

For a brief moment today I wondered whether I should remove Nigel Wright from the poster for my new and exciting season of Senategate.After the RCMP announced that he was no longer under investigation. The RCMP has ended its probe into Nigel Wright, the former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and his $90,000 payment to suspended Conservative Senator Mike Duffy.But then I thought no, this scandal is still as sordid as ever. It couldn't have happened without Nigel. Bless him. And it could still bring down Stephen Harper.Read more »

Alberta Diary: Redford-Hancock Government moves ahead with plan to gut public sector pensions

Alberta Environment Minister Robin Campbell, right, in one of the rather undistinguished jackets that are causing such a brouhaha in the provincial Legislature this week. Meanwhile, Finance Minister Doug Horner, below, is moving to attack the pensions of 300,000 Alberta public employees and no one is paying much attention. Below him, NDP Leader Brian Mason, who opposes his plans, and former prime ministerial chief of staff Nigel Wright. But you’ll have to read to the bottom if you want to know what Mr. Wright has to do with this story.

Alberta Finance Minister Doug Horner gave notice yesterday that the (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Senategate : The RCMP Goes After the PMO !!!

Oh goody. It looks as if my favourite show Senategate is back.With the whole cast of characters ready to entertain us again.And now even MORE exciting than before.With the RCMP going after the PMO !!!!Read more »

Politics and its Discontents: Guest Post: The Salamander

Responding to a post I wrote this morning commenting on a Lawrence Martin article, The Salamander offered the following trenchant assessment of what he predicts will be the Harper ‘legacy.’ Enjoy:

.. I find the fading tiger analogy problematic.. maybe its just me ..

Having a background in social work, with criminals, mood disorders, addiction, maximum security prisons etc, I tend to adapt to new terminology,diagnostic criteria, and trust evidence based medicine..More and more I trust natural consequence .. history and observation..

Tom Flanagan, a man with his own issues, demons and fallacies glorifies his apt pupil Harper.. as a (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Slip Slidin’ Away

Slip sliding away, slip sliding away You know the nearer your destination, the more you’re slip sliding away – Paul Simon

I know, by his public efforts to appear reasonably normal, that Stephen Harper is a Beatles’ fan. Whether he has ever listened to or crooned any of Paul Simon’s songs is less certain. Yet I couldn’t help but think of Simon this morning as I read Lawrence Martin’s latest piece in The Globe and Mail.

Entitled The Harper machine is in disarray, Martin reflects on the many obstacles that have emerged to obstruct what I presume is Dear (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: I Guess Sometimes It Doesn’t Pay To Have Friends In High Places

Although I have no sympathy for those who work, either directly or indirectly, for the Harper regime, there is a story in Toronto Life entitled, With Friends Like Harper: how Nigel Wright went from golden boy to fall guy which made for some interesting reading.

Part profile of Wright and part portrait of a cold, calculating and ruthless Prime Minister willing to jettison even those closest to him, the article revealed things I was quite unaware of. For example, I did not know that Wright and Tom Long were instrumental in luring Harper back into politics after he left following (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Few Escape The Bruce Carson Taint

Nigel Wright to Bruce Carson in 2011 as the later conducted his allegedly illegal lobbying:

“I’ve heard a lot of good things about you. Feel free to give me a call at any time.

You can read all about it here.

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The Disaffected Lib: Duffy’s Shadow Looms Over Harper’s Future

We won’t have long to wait for the release of the tell-all book on Mike Duffy, penned by his old journalism colleague, Dan Leger.

The book, Duffy: Stardom to Senate to Scandal,  is said to revisit the good old days when Leger met Duffy in Ottawa (1984-1990) and traces Duffy’s television career, his pursuit of a seat in the Senate and the scandal that brought him down and continues to plague Stephen Harper.

According to Leger, he and Duffy spent hours on the deck of the senator’s Cavendish cottage as Duffy spilled the beans.  Duffy maintained, as he (Read more…)

Calgary Grit: Bart’s Books: Stephen Harper, Episode II

“On any day, [Harper] has a choice, he can do the big conservative thing that would be the end of his career, or he can do some of the small conservative things that won’t.”

I’ll save you the trouble of reading the rest of this book review – if you like Paul Wells’ writing style, and you liked Right Side Up, then go out and buy “The Longer I’m Prime Minister” now. Because you’re certain to find that book more interesting than the rest of this blog post.

For those of you still with me, it’s (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: If Nigel Wright is a "Hero" …

According to Christie Blatchford, Canadians apparently should revere Nigel Wright and his actions in the Senate Expenses mess.

I don’t believe that Mr. Wright was acting in a knowingly criminal manner – I have always thought that he believed firmly that he was acting within the bounds of his job and responsibilities.

However, having said that, Ms. Blatchford’s analysis misses a few things.

First, Mr. Wright was smack in the midst of a conspiracy to cover things up when there was a looming audit that was almost guaranteed to generate a lot of bad press.

Second, based on the (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: How Shocking …

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 (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: The Cracked Crystal Ball II: How Shocking …

Montreal Simon: Is Stephen Harper Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place?

Well he wasn't in the House of Commons today to answer any questions about the Senate scandal. No doubt recovering from his latest attempt to try to improve his image by posing as a man of the people. Which can't be easy when you're a millionaire. And you have to go to a football game to try to make yourself look popular. But of course, it's not hard to understand why Stephen Harper is so afraid of saying anything eh?Not when he's caught between a rock and a hard place. Read more »

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Ellen Roseman writes about the need to recognize the value of public services – and to ensure that they’re properly funded: Canadians value their high-quality public services, such as education and health care. Many understand that public services democratize consumption and help tame the market forces leading to income inequality.

Yet they still fall prey to the false promises of politicians who say tax cuts won’t change anything and may even improve their lives. In the book, economist Hugh Mackenzie urges readers to think their way through the day, making a note (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Senate scandal: New RCMP docs suggest Harper is “guilty of corruption”

New documents released by the RCMP suggest that the Senate expenses scandal is closing in on Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives.

The post Senate scandal: New RCMP docs suggest Harper is “guilty of corruption” appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Good to Go Cover-Up

Well he wasn't in the House of Commons today. He was out in Lac Megantic handing out a $95 million cheque. But he couldn't run away from the questions about another cheque. The one he was apparently prepared to write Mike Duffy to paper over a budding scandal with party funds.The one that can be boiled down to this question: who do you believe Stephen Harper or the police? Read more »

Blevkog: A quote from a former opposition leader:

At worst, he personally ordered it done and chose the people who executed the plan. At the very least, he fostered an attitude within the party [...], chose the managers of the people who committed these crimes and completely and utterly failed to exercise any oversight, supervision or leadership. In the end, it doesn’t really […]

Politics and its Discontents: Plausible Deniability?

After watching the Prime Minister’s ongoing repetitive and wholly unconvincing responses to Thomas Mulcair’s incisive questions during Question Period, and after reading the latest details of the RCMP investigation into the scandal engulfing his government, I couldn’t help but wonder if Stephen Harper, as a youngster, was unduly influenced by Hogan’s Heroes and perhaps identified with the always charming Sgt Schultz:

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Alberta Diary: Ford Nation dumped? Stay tuned for more program changes at Sun News Network

Toronto City Hall. Actual city halls in Canada’s largest city may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Rob Ford, Doug Ford, Kory Teneycke and Ezra Levant.

Does anyone seriously believe Sun News Network cancelled Ford Nation after its inaugural show on Monday because of Rob and Doug Ford’s “relative inexperience with the medium”?

Please!

Lots of people will accept at face value this claim about the loony-right-wing cable channel’s show starring the Ford Brothers, along with the equally fatuous suggestion “the brutal economics of cable TV” played a role. After all, both ideas come from no less an august source (Read more…)

Scott's DiaTribes: A prediction wrapped in a question

Is it too early/too bold to predict that because of today’s RCMP revelations/allegations that multiple members of the Prime Minister’s Office and top Conservative Senators conspired to whitewash the Mike Duffy report, it may have assured the Liberal Party wins the Brandon-Souris byelection on Monday – a riding it has only won once in the last 60 years?

Maybe. As has been pointed out by others who are veteran campaign folks, the Conservatives will have a large advantage on organization and ground game, and there are reports from a week or 2 ago that Jenni Byrne, the top person in (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Missing Paper Trail

Well after staying away as long as he could, and seeing the stature of his ally Rob Ford diminished, Stephen Harper returned to the Commons today, only to find the Senate scandal waiting for him.

And ending up looking a little diminished himself.Read more »

Alberta Diary: Polishing a … tarnished reputation: the ‘National Newspaper’ as Stephen Harper’s pathetic enabler

Your blogger with Rev. Bill Phipps, former United Church of Canada moderator and, in 2002, the NDP’s challenger to Stephen Harper. Below: Harper doubters Andrew Coyne and Tim Harper.

“The subject who is truly loyal to the Chief Magistrate will neither advise nor submit to arbitrary measures.”

– Junius, published in 1772, from the Masthead of the Globe and Mail

I was sitting in Calgary’s airport the other day reading about Stephen Harper in a free copy of the Globe and Mail when, lo and behold, I spied Bill Phipps, who used to be the (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Stephen Harper to Canada: ‘It’s not my fault! Now shut up and vote for me’

Trying to change the channel: Unfortunately for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the remote seems to have disappeared under a pillow and the movie stuck on the TV screen stars Mike Duffy, shown above moving toward the Telus Convention Centre in Calgary Friday night. Actual Canadian Senators may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Andrew Nikiforuk and David Suzuki.

CALGARY

So it all comes down to this, then? It’s not my fault. Now shut up and vote for me!

What else can we take away from Stephen Harper’s first campaign speech of the 2015 election season, made to the nervously shuffling (Read more…)