The Senatorial money scandal trail led right to the Prime Minister's office.
Not to some ministerial underling, some party lapdog but right to guardian of the big guy, his right arm, his millionaire Chief of Staff. The single most powerful man in Canada,
Neil Wright did what a loyal operative does when he fucks-up. He fell on the sword. He resigned and swore the boss was in the dark on his gifting Embattled Ontario Senator Mike Duffy $90,000 to assist in resolving outstanding disallowed housing expenses.
He told the media that " `I did not advise the prime minister of the means by which Sen. Duffy's expenses were repaid, either before or after the fact.''
The Prime Minister has moved on. Since Sunday he dug into his personal cache of zealots and appointed a new Chief of Staff. Wright has thrown himself under the bus to protect the leader. Harper is acting all hurt. `I accept that Nigel believed he was acting in the public interest, but I understand the decision he has taken to resign,'' the prime minister said.
End of story.
Well only if you believe Richard Nixon's staff were responsible for Watergate!
Words are really important now.
His version of "I am not a crook" fails the smell test. He said that " am not happy, I am very upset, about the conduct we have witnessed – the conduct of some parliamentarians and the conduct of my own office.”
Of course he is angry, the goddamned mess in the Senate made it's way into his office! The plan to bail Duffy had failed. He has lost his top advisor. Sure he is mad but still the questions related to his inner circle and his own role remain unanswered.
Did the Prime Minister request that his Chief of Staff address the Duffy expense issue and ensure the fraudulently claimed expenses were repaid. Was Neil Wright directed to manage this issue. If so the buck stops at the Prime Minister's desk, not at Wright's guillotine. What are the depths of the serial breaches of the public trust that have occurred in an attempt to protect these "selfish" senators?
We have also learned that the Senate committee charged with the expense investigation did a little whitewashing of their own. Another close associate of Harper's, his former press secretary, Conservative Senator Carolyn Stewart, made a motion to redact three paragraphs from the original Senate internal economy committee on Senator Duffy. One of the paragraphs read "Senator Duffy’s travel patterns were consistently Ottawa-PEI-Ottawa, demonstrating that Ottawa was his primary or default location.”
This leads to the obvious question, was the review done in an impartial manner?
The answer is fairly obvious, the Conservatives whitewashed the report!
Again, who was playing point on this and what does Stephen Harper really know about it?
For some perspective I offer the following:
President Nixon's Nov 17th, 1973 news conference, following which the New York Times outlined President Nixon’s many assertions, concluding that the president had acquitted himself well.