The stink from the Duffy-Wright scandal: Readers write

Senator Mike Duffy
Senator Mike Duffy on Parliament Hill in May. (Andre Forget/QMI Agency)

Across our newspaper chain today, I opine:

The Duffy scandal is the stench that just keeps getting worse for Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government.
Newly released court documents filed as part of an RCMP request to get more evidence into potential fraud by three sitting senators – Duffy, Patrick Brazeau, and Mac Harb – contain explosive new information about the deal that brought down Harper’s top aide and shook the government to the core.

First, testimony given to the police by Harper’s former chief of staff clearly contradicts some of the things Harper, himself, has been saying about this mess. Second, it confirms the Conservative Party was standing by, ready to bail out Duffy.

Third, it puts the lie to the claim that no one but that former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, knew about the secret deal that, in the end, gave Duffy his bailout.

And, finally, RCMP Cpl. Greg Horton, a 21-year veteran of the force, said he is certain the Duffy-Wright bailout was arranged so that a Senate report on Duffy’s expense abuse would be shined up in Duffy’s favour.

[Read the whole column here]

Some readers were unimpressed. They sent me messages suggesting the Mainstream Media wasn’t paying enough attention to former Liberal Senator Mac Harb. I think we are. We had stories this week about Harb’s decision to pay back the Senate under protest, for example. But Harb is a bit of a pariah in the Liberal caucus mostly for his anti-seal hunt activism. He’s not a “superstar” of the Liberal firmament. Duffy, on the other hand, is a rock star in Conservative circles. Second: We don’t know where Harb got the money to pay back, under protest, the $51,000 he owes the Senate but we’re pretty sure it was not from Justin Trudeau’s right-hand person. Duffy, on the other hand, got the $90K from right-hand man to THE GUY WHO IS RUNNING THE COUNTRY! There’s a difference.

Here’s an e-mail  I got today from Jim in Etobicoke with my response underneath.I present it unedited with the response I sent to Jim underneath:


While I am sure that you ink stained wretches feel that this “scandal” is something heinous…believe me regular Canadians do not give a stuff.

The rag you write for was front and center suggesting that the Provincial Liberals repay the $500 Million blown by them to fix the elections by cancelling the gas plants. Why is that OK ?

$90 k is such a ridiculous amount to get worked up about. If Duffy is guilty then he will be punished. In the interim the TAXPAYER was not asked or required to pay this was done either by the PC Party or by Nigel Wright. a taxpayer (and thinking adult) who KNOWS that politics is full of dirty tricks and back room deals… I DO NOT CARE! At least this time I do NOT have to pay for this.

The sleazy muck raking journalism we are all subject to now by you and your ilk is polarizing and dividing the country. EVERY molehill is NOT a damn mountain. If this is what you think is relevant news then you need to find a new venue.

Give TMZ a call.. I hear they are always looking for those journalists who create the stories rather than report them.

To which I responded:

Hi Jim —

Thanks for reading.

Let’s get a few things straight:

Stephen Harper’s Conservatives rode in to Ottawa vowing to clean things up. They sensed Canadians were tired of Liberal arrogance. And they promised more accountability and transparency.

Seven years later, they’ve failed to deliver on that promise and this Wright-Duffy deal is the best example of that failure. Rather than take personal responsibility for trying to rip off taxpayers, Duffy begged for money from Conservative Party donors to get himself out of the hole he had dug himself. When the party said no, one of the rich pals of the PM bailed him out. Then, Duffy’s pals in the Senate whitewashed a report on his expense behaviour to make it look like he didn’t do such a bad thing.

Nigel Wright is the first chief of staff to a prime minister ever — ever! — to have to resign in these kinds of circumstances.

And what Wright’s lawyers are now telling the RCMP directly contradicts what his former boss is telling the House of Commons.

And you’re OK with all of this?

Again: Appreciate you reading and responding.

6 thoughts on “The stink from the Duffy-Wright scandal: Readers write”

  1. Jim from Etobicoke.

    If you consider this irrelevant because it is only about $90,000, then you entirely miss the point. This story has nothing to do with the $90,000

  2. This whole thing is about nothing more than the media trying to get Harper.
    If they have to do it with guilt by association so be it. Think about this. During the Chretien regime, with adscam and grand-mere, the media did very little digging. Paul Martin was finance minister during the whole schmozzle, who said he knew nothing about it and walked away unscathed. Now I dont know whether he knew or not, but the media didn’t care. Same with Chretien and grand-mere. The National Post did some digging but they were the only ones. Ever since the last election, the media has been out for Harper. There was robocall where Glen MacGregor and Stephen Maher won awards for finding nothing. Now this. Scandal my ass.

  3. How about this other item also. Elections Canada has been after the Harper government for robocall since Harper was elected. Yet three liberals, one of whom is Stephen Dion, has owed money for their election campaigns since the last election and were supposed to have paid it back within a year. Yet elections canada has let it go. One can only imagine if it was a conservative owing the money what Elections Canada would say. Where is the bloody media on this one?

  4. When your best defence of a scandal is “WHAT ABOUT THAT OTHER TOTALLY UNRELATED GUY WHO DID A TOTALLY UNRELATED THING??? HJUH? HUH?? HUH??? PFFT, LAMESTREAM MEDIA.” then you know you’re in trouble.

    What I find the most troubling though is that people are actually willing to defend this behaviour, as if corruption in the highest offices of the land is no big deal.

  5. I voted for Harper in 2006 because he said he would reform the Senate.

    I’m still waiting.

    1. PM Harper did indeed promise to reform the Senate, not eliminate it, as some pundits now claim in order to ascribe a “flip-flop” to him. However, the reality is his party introduced a number of bills intended to reform the Senate without necessarily opening the Constitution:
      – Bill S-4 Senate tenure (May 2006)
      – Bill C-43 Senate Appointment Consultations Act (Dec. 2006)
      – Bill C-19 Senate tenure (Nov. 2007)
      – Bill C-20 Senate Appointment Consultations Act (Nov. 2007)
      – Bill S-7 Senate term limits (June 2009)
      – Bill C-7 Selection of senators and amending the Constitution Act, 1867 in respect of Senate term limits ( June 2011)

      Given the opposition to the various bills listed above, especially during two minority governments when the Liberals held a majority in the Senate, and subsequently the opposition to proposed reforms by two major provinces (Ontario & Quebec) and even some senators appointed on the understanding that they would support reform, the Harper Government finally referred the issue to the Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality of various Senate reform measures, including its abolition. Simply Google “Ottawa asks Supreme Court for opinion on Senate reform” and you should find several articles on that topic.

      So, although you may be frustrated by the long wait, you cannot in good faith fault the Harper Government for lack of trying.

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