Poor Senator Mike Duffy. Poor, poor Senator Duffy. So poor, in fact, that he had Nigel Wright, the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff write him a personal cheque for $90,000 to cover his housing allowance repayment. And how did the dear Senator repay Wright for his very generous gift? By bragging around town that Wright had done it, enough that those emails found their way to one of Duffy’s former journalist colleagues. Oh, and such a “gift” would also be against Sec. 17(1) of the Senate’s Conflict of Interest Code. Oops. (And apparently the Ethics Commissioner on the Commons side is now looking into Wright’s actions). Now, there is some ambiguity in those regulations, predicated on what constitutes a gift and just how close of a friendship the pair have – and that came as the bombshell later in the day. After an afternoon of Conservative talking heads peddling the story that the pair were very close, and that Wright helped Duffy out because he was concerned about his financial situation given his health and all, comes the revelation that Duffy tried to say that he got a loan from the Royal Bank and that Wright had no part in this, and more than that, insiders say that Duffy and Wright barely know one another. This despite PMO’s assurances to the contrary, although they tried to paint this in that altruistic light, while simultaneously trying to shift the attention to Senators Brazeau and Harb instead. They were also trying to peddle the line that Harper knew nothing about this – that his own chief of staff cut a cheque to make a noisy and embarrassing story go away, and yet the boss was kept in the dark? Yeah, that’s totally plausible. Tell me again how this is going to end well for any of the parties involved.
Meanwhile, Glen McGregor reminds us of how Duffy used to send other emails around bragging about one thing or another, or casting untrue aspersions, which fits into the story about how those emails about his deal with Wright eventually made their way to Bob Fife. Here is a look at how Duffy quickly became a star fundraiser for the party – and the attraction of fawning local press – while here is a look at other controversies that Wright has courted. John Geddes looks at the contrasts between Duffy and Wright, while Andrew Coyne calls for Duffy’s resignation – to which he is absolutely correct, but there also needs to be a reminder that there is someone we can hold to account for this, and that is Stephen Harper, for making such a spectacularly bad appointment to the Senate in the first place.
In case the latest Duffy revelations have you down, Ryan Flavelle reminds us of the kind of gruelling work the Senate does best, and why it shouldn’t be elected as a result.
Daniel Caron, head of Library and Archives Canada, resigned in the wake of the revelation he was charging the department for private Spanish lessons. It was likely a culmination of things, however, including the draconian Code of Conduct imposed on employees at his behest and the sinking morale within the organisation that contributed to his departure.
We only fought them in Afghanistan for a decade, but the Taliban was finally added to the list of proscribed groups under the Combating Terrorism Act.
In the wake of the BC election upset – and almost mythical comeback – here is some insightful analysis by Nancy Macdonald which points to what the Liberals did right and the NDP got wrong, a look at where the pollsters failed – once again, and Paul Wells looks at the advantage of incumbency – especially at times when the economy is still a bit weird. Pundit’s Guide takes her own lessons from the campaigns here. Thomas Mulcair is looking over those results and says that some of the problems were in the absolute no around the Kinder Morgan pipeline and the insistence on running a wholly positive campaign in the face of BC Liberal attack ads. Tim Harper, meanwhile, has decided the time has come to break up with pollsters and the sweet numbers they keep pushing.