The emails emerging from evidence at former Conservative Senator Mike Duffy’s criminal trial in Ottawa send a chill down the spine. They implicate the Prime Minister’s Office, senior Conservative senators and other high-level Conservative Party operatives in cover-up scenarios that bring Watergate to mind.
Stephen Harper should never have appointed Mike Duffy as a Prince Edward Island senator in the first place, given that Duffy had lived in Ontario for decades and visited PEI only on occasion. But, once again, Harper bent the law to suit his political purposes, and now he’s got to face the music as his subordinates’ shenanigans become public. As PEI senator, Duffy made168 Conservative fundraising appearances across the country in 2010 alone, leaving me to wonder when he had time to fulfill his senatorial duties to the Canadian public.
It doesn’t matter a whit whether Harper knew in advance about Nigel Wright’s secret $90,000 payment to Duffy. The central question in my mind is this: do we want a prime minister who employs, appoints and consorts with people of this calibre?
If we, as citizens, are to clean up this Parliamentary web of deceit and lies, and the stain of corruption and sense of entitlement, we need to carefully choose who we send to Ottawa.
If senior Conservatives in the PMO and Senate can try to cover up repayment of $90,000 in dubious expense claims by one senator, how can we trust them to tell us the truth about the state of the economy, federal government finances, and the urgent needs around climate change?
It would be very easy to simply walk away in disgust from what our Parliament has become, but we need to clean up this mess and elect representatives who can start changing the culture and the way our government is run. We owe it to our children and grandchildren.