It’s the cover-up, stupid!Posted: May 20, 2013
For anyone old enough to remember the Watergate scandal, it wasn’t the break-in that did Nixon in, it was the cover-up. It’s a political lesson that should never be ignored: The truth will always get you in the end.
Take Mike Duffy. He’s a living, breathing, lumbering example of why the Senate needs a complete overhaul, if not (figuratively) burned to the ground (a position that I’m becoming more comfortable with despite my appreciation for the Red Chamber). He, and many of his colleagues, have, well, become entitled to their entitlements. Double dipping on expenses, claiming allowances they’re not eligible for, not regularly showing up for work, and so on. It’s hard to get rid of them, too – some were only relieved of their duties after being criminally convicted for their transgressions.
But what made this one worse is that while all the Senate-expense drama was unfolding, the Prime Minister’s very own chief of staff managed to get his hands dirty. Rather than kick him out of Langevin’s front door, Nigel Wright allowed Duffy to stink the place up. Were I Wright, I would have held Duffy up as an example of what the Conservative government would not tolerate and publicly berate him for abusing taxpayers’ dollars, and their trust. And I would have directed his conservative colleagues, in both Houses, to do the same.
Not only did Wright cut Duffy a big, fat cheque but the Tory brain trust decided to trot out several members of Parliament to spin this whole mess. First came Pierre Poilievre – a serious joke in Ottawa – who actually called Wright’s cheque to Duffy “exceptionally honourable.” But Skippy screwed the whole thing up so badly, it pushed well-respected Calgary MP Michelle Rempel out onto the pundit circuit to repeat the “no taxpayer dollars” mantra. (Against her wishes, I’m betting).
So, the question remains: Why did the PMO go to such great lengths to protect the senator from P.E.I?
With Wright’s resignation, Harper himself is in the hot seat. Tomorrow is going to be a very bad day for him.
All of this to say, it’s never the break-in, always the cover-up. (Rob Ford take special note).