Can we expect this soon?
For those Conservative spokespersons who don’t believe that the sorry tale of a Prime Minister’s Office scrambling to come up with the very best way to deceive the public, as told by witnesses at the Senator Duffy expenses trial, has had an effect on the popularity of their leader and of their party, welcome to the latest polls. Here’s the gist: The latest survey by Ipsos Reid for Global News, also published Thursday, showed weakening support for the Conservatives. Like Forum, it placed the Tories in third place, though with 29 per cent. That put them (Read more…)
Chris Troublespotter Woodcock
Imagine you hold one of the most powerful offices you can hold in a democracy such as ours, and your job is this: “My job was to spot trouble, try to identify it and come up with a strategy for dealing with it,” Mr. Woodcock testified. And one day you spot some trouble brewing: He said the Duffy affair landed on his radar in February, 2013, as stories appeared in the media about Mr. Duffy’s expenses related to his long-time house in Ottawa.
“Suddenly, we were encountering a bunch of unwelcome stories about members of the government (Read more…)
PM Stephen Harper, the leader of the “Harper Government”, is on trial by the public for the manner in which he governed his Prime Minister’s Office (the PMO), while senator Duffy is facing 31 charges in his criminal trial.
That there are two trials is undeniable, despite the PM’s attempt to only talk about the Duffy criminal trial. What are the differences between the two trials? The Type of Trial: The Duffy trial is a criminal trial, held according to the criminal laws of Canada, which deal with the types of charges, what evidence may be led, the crime of (Read more…)
Harper defence to Trial #2
Here’s what Harper is saying in response to questions about the senior advisors and senators involved in a cover up of the real facts in the Duffy senate expenses scandal:
The Conservative leader refused to respond to direct questions whether Novak had his support and would remain involved in the ongoing election campaign. “Once again, I am not going to cherry pick facts that are in dispute before a court,” Harper said, to the applause of Tory supporters at the campaign event. He repeated his assertion that Duffy and Wright alone are the ones responsible (Read more…)
Donald ‘Darth Vader’ Bayne
Barrister Donald Bayne, the Darth Vader defender of democracy (and of the sad figure of Senator Duffy), scoffedat the answer given him by Harper’s former Chief of Staff about the reactions by Canadians to Wright’s payment to Duffy of $90,000:
Nigel Wright testified Tuesday that he knew there was a chance his $90,000 personal cheque to cover Mike Duffy’s Senate expenses might not remain a secret, but said he didn’t expect the public impact to be as great as it became.
“My view was when I decided to write the cheque myself that it could well (Read more…)
The Plausible Deniability chickens come home
Stephen Harper, blinking furiously, tries to stick to his two self-chosen ballot box questions (security and economic growth), while disregarding question after question about what he knew about the cesspool of misdirection and lies that a group of senior Conservatives indulged in while trying to make the Duffy matter disappear.
Donald Bayne, the methodical, effective barrister defending senator Duffy from 31 serious charges, has gone through the hundreds of emails tabled in court, walking state witness Nigel Wright through each one, and exploring who said what, to whom, when and why. In the process, (Read more…)
Barrister Bayne, Duffy and Nigel Wright chronicleherald
Yesterday Donald Bayne, the bulldog barrister acting for senator Duffy in Duffy’s criminal trial, focused on an email that Nigel Wright, the prime minister’s former chief of staff, had not disclosed as part of the 400 plus pages of email data dump.
Found here, in Macleans delightfully detailed analyses of every day of the trial, the email deals with PM Harper’s statement that he would have “shut down” an inquiry long before it reached the stage it did:
Consider the events in Courtroom 33, where Sen. Mike Duffy is on trial on (Read more…)
Things have veered sharply off course for the most controlling politician Canada has had for many decades. What was to be a tightly controlled and swiftly administered exercise in damage control, has turned into a nightmarish exposure party that is guaranteed to sink Stephen Harper’s government in the coming elections.
The Feint & The Hand Grenade: What went wrong? Two things: a highly skilled barrister who uses The Feint and The Hand Grenade tactics in a masterful way during his cross examination of state witnesses, and a former chief of staff who wrote many emails, with copies to a Who’s (Read more…)
As expected, the now famous words “good to go” were front and centre in the cross examination of state witness Wright by Duffy’s defence counsel yesterday (my underlining): It gripped a packed courtroom, not because Wright dropped bombshells but because the top insider finally told the story behind one of the biggest mysteries in the capital — what role did Prime Minister Stephen Harper play in what Wright called a “plan” to “force” Duffy to repay housing expenses claimed for his Ottawa home.
Wright testified Harper had no detailed knowledge of his personal decision to pay for Duffy — (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Duffy senate scandal: Nigel Wright says PM Harper “good to go” on coverup points
Nigel Wright is on the stand, and a blizzard of emails is being released (see hereand hereabout them and how to access them). In no particular order, here are a few extracts from the emails that The Cat finds either curious, worthy of further exploration, raising questions about the morality of actions taken by senators and others during these events, or amusing. I’ve added underlining or bolded some words. Here and there, I’ve tacked on a few questions I have. Item 1: About the core residency issue, this intriguing snippet right at the start of the (Read more…)
Here’s the latest revelations in the Drip-Drip-Duffy saga:
Plan to prevent Duffy ‘from going squirrelly’ During the course of the interviews, the RCMP also cited a February 2013 email from Wright that said he had been on the phone with Duffy, Tkachuk and Senator Marjory LeBreton, the former government leader in the Senate. According to Wright’s email, the plan was to announce in a statement that the expense cases of Harb, Brazeau and Duffy were being referred to an external auditor —but at same time issue a separate release stating external legal advice was being sought on the meaning of primary residency. “A (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: The Latest in the Drip-Drip-Duffy saga: Going Squirrelly
Here’s to me…
The Duffy trial is beginning to lurch out of control, if you are a member of the Conservative government of Canada. In just a few days, voters have been exposed to a cascade of visual and sound bites that have snapped necks and focused attention as seldom before. Forgeddabout Who killed JR – we are now intensely aware of three things: What did Duffy do? What did Wright do? What did Harper do? Three Do’s, one Wright and one to-be-unleashed Duffy are the wrong things for Prime Minister Harper. The Tories are finding out that in a (Read more…)
The Mounties have ridden into town, dismounted, and placed their investigations in the hands of the state prosecutors. The prosecutors have carefully drafted 31 charges against a senator, and the stage is now set for an epic High Noon shootout on a dusty street in front of the Parliament in Ottawa. And the senator has promised to call out several senior members of the Conservative Party as witnesses, under oath. From the Ottawa Citizen:
Duffy has long maintained his innocence, saying that the details of his housing claims would all come out in court.
He has also quietly told (Read more…)
Yes, we consulted …
Seems to be a little bit of confusion about who was consulted when the Mounties decided that there was no case to make against Wright. Here’s one report (my underlining): Commissioner Paulson says the facts uncovered by investigators – many of which were publicly detailed in a politically explosive search warrant released last fall – simply did not lead to the conclusion of criminal wrongdoing. The ultimate decision to drop the investigation into Mr. Wright was made by the investigative team, he says, adding he was consulted on the matter along with prosecutors. And here’s another (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: The Wright Case & The Mounties: Did they or did they not?
Mounties closing in
Amazing how some politicians fail to understand one simple fact of a modern democracy such as Canada: The wheels of justice grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine. Our justice institutions are highly developed, well staffed, with advanced methods that are applied to serious cases. Our court system is fed by the police (who initiate the inquiries), the prosecutors (who decide whether to lay charges) and the courts (who hear the matters). Part of our protection of our democracy are the laws that attempt to prevent any tampering with our institutions such as the Senate. Now the (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: The Duffy Saga: The Mounties Close In
Interesting reading, the transcript of Senator Duffy’s speech in the Senate in which he revealed that he had received a cheque for some legal expenses. Even more interesting is what the legal work covered, based on the underlined part of his speech:
Wait until Canadians see the email trail in the hands of my lawyers and the RCMP.
Those emails among the PMO, their lawyers, including Ben Perrin, the Conservative Party’s lawyer Arthur Hamilton, and my lawyer, prove this was a set-up from the start. That I am innocent.
The PM knew I wasn’t guilty; Nigel Wright knew I wasn’t (Read more…)
Hot on the trail of the Email
The Mounties are as iconic Canadian as you can find. The Mounties always getting their man is so much part of the Canadian DNA that nobody smiles when the phrase is used. It is bedrock Canada, as authentic as the hard, unyielding Canadian shield. The Mounties are one of the most trusted institutions we have. And now the Mounties want to get their hands on the explosive PMO-Duffy Email. And the Prime Minister’s aides are saying they would love to help, but the Mounties just haven’t asked for the email. Aaron Wherry has (Read more…)
Interesting articleby Crawford Kilian on the Sensitive and International Investigations unit of the RCMP affidavit (that unit is charged with investigating matters of significant risk to Canada’s political, economic and social integrity). Some further thoughts based on that article: If Nigel Wright is a “person dealings with the government” and so the Duffy agreement to accept the “gift” might fall under section 121, then are not the other 3 PMO officers mentioned in the affidavit also “persons with dealings with the government”? If so, if they participated in the “scenario” that Duffy in his one email said Wright (Read more…)
I know nothing!
Poor Manuel, the harried waiter in Fawlty Towers, is often denigrated by Basil Fawlty with the words: “He’s from Barcelona”. Now we face an equally valid question: Is Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, from Barcelona? In this famous episode of Fawlty Towers, Basil Fawlty tries to get Manuel to agree that he knows nothing about a horse that Basil bet on. The video is here, and the exchange is here: Basil Fawlty: Shhh-shh-shh-shh-shh. You know nothing… about… the horse. Manuel: [parroting] I know “nothing… about… the horse.” Basil Fawlty: Yes. Manuel: Ah. (Read more…)
The Duffy Deal: Up go the numbers
The latest news from the RCMP is interesting – the number of people in the know about the Wrigh/Duffy agreement regarding his expenses is increasing: Lawyers for Mr. Wright told the Mounties that while their client kept Mr. Harper in the dark about his personal gift to Mr. Duffy, he did tell a small circle of four, the documents show. This included three people in the Prime Minister’s Office: David van Hemmen, who was Mr. Wright’s executive assistant; Benjamin Perrin, then a PMO legal adviser, and Chris Woodcock, PMO director of issues management, (Read more…)
PM Stephen Harper
Today’s question period in the House of Commons finally showed onlookers what real question periods are for. The prime minister was appearing for the first time since the Senator Duffy loan was made by his chief of staff. And the opposition leaders asked pointed, clear questions. Mulcair hammeredthe PM: The Prime Minister was roasted like a rotisserie chicken over the Senate scandal during Question Period Tuesday.
Thomas Mulcair did a good job of looking exasperated at Mr. Harper’s vague responses: “We are asking very simple, straightforward questions and the Prime Minister is not answering them. That (Read more…)
Who shall guard the guards? Our parliament belongs to the citizens, just as the parliament of the UK belongs to British citizens. And when our representatives in our parliaments forget whom they are serving, the citizens are affronted, and the offenders are held to account. In The Telegraph we are are reminded about the expenses scandal that engulfed the mother Parliament just on two years ago: After the original outcry, little has been heard of the expenses scandal, and it is widely assumed that the problem has gone away. It has not. Indeed, there are a number of troubling indications (Read more…)
The Senate under siege
With the press baying at the prime minister, calling for answers to serious questions about a possible deal with a senator accused of fudging expenses, PM Stephen Harper decided to leave Canada and visit South America. Resolute in his own righteousness, Harper refused to allow “distractions” to prevent his government from concentrating on the economy. Despite an openly rebellious crowd of journalists, who felt they had been unceremoniously brushed aside while raising serious questions about serious issues, Harper refused to address the issue which is tearing his party apart, and consuming Ottawa: Harper left on a (Read more…)
I have underlined and bolded an explosive sentence in the Andrea Janus article about the CTV report on the agreement dealing with the payment to Senator Duffy of an amount of $90,000 regarding expenses he claimed. Remember that one sentence as this affair starts unfolding! Here it is: Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former special counsel and legal adviser worked on the legal deal between Nigel Wright and Sen. Mike Duffy’s lawyer that called for Wright to help Duffy pay off $90,000 in invalid expense claims, CTV News has learned. Sources told CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife that (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Senator Duffy Affair: An explosive sentence