It’s not uncommon for an RCMP Commissioner to jump through hoops at Stephen Harper’s bequest.
We saw that when Zaccardelli gave Harper a leg up to victory by conjuring up an empty scandal about Ralph Goodale in mid-election campaign. Ominously for a country based on the rule of law, Zac refused to explain his actions afterwards, defying the demands of Parliament for answers.
Now we have Commish Paulson who seized the Duffy-Wright-Harper scandal at the outset with an iron fist. Paulson’s leaked e-mail in which he absolutely forbade his senior officers from having contact with opposition parliamentarians without his express prior consent pretty much established that the investigation and any eventual prosecutions were going to be decided from the top, no questions asked.
Then the circus began. First, RCMP investigators opined that the $90,000 ‘gifted’ by Nigel Wright to Mike Duffy was a bribe. Then they announced that Nigel Wright, who put up the money for the bribe, would not be charged. Then, after a suitable interval and in the middle of the summer recess (Stephen Harper’s preferred time for doing these things), it was announced that, while Wright was still off the hook, Mike Duffy would be charged with accepting a bribe.
Paulson hasn’t explained how he jumped through that hoop. It’s been left to others to speculate that investigators could not conclude that Wright had given Duffy the money with a “corrupt intent” but were satisfied that Duffy accepted the gift with a “corrupt intent.”
Wait a minute. On what possible basis did the Royal Conservative Mounted Police absolve Nigel Wright of any corrupt intent? They had to have done it by isolating all the surrounding circumstances. They excluded the other elements of the “deal” from the cash payment. We know what that deal was because Duffy was foolish enough to put it all in an e-mail to his confidantes. It was that e-mail, leaked to a reporter, that triggered the scandal. We know what that deal was because the elements of the deal Duffy described all came to pass.
Wright didn’t just hand Duffy $90,000. The money came with strings attached, bundled into a deal. Duffy was ordered to keep his mouth shut and to refuse to cooperate with the auditors appointed by the Senate to report on expense irregularities. There’s the corruption the RCMP doesn’t want to acknowledge. But wait, there’s more. Duffy wasn’t just getting cash. The guys who conjured up what the cops say, in respect of Duffy was a bribe, also promised to see to it that the Senate audit report on Duffy would be laundered. They did and it was. There’s the corruption that the RCMP has to do backflips to ignore. The bribe was the whole deal.
That Nigel Wright wrote a cheque on his personal account is irrelevant. The PMO gang tried to get the money elsewhere – from the Conservative Party’s cache - and they almost succeeded. Only when that fell through did Wright step in with his own cheque after clearing the deal with Stephen Harper. Would it have been a bribe if the cash came from CPC funds but not when Wright had to step in with his own money?
By looking at Wright’s cheque in isolation, the Royal Conservative Mounted Police are blatantly whitewashing the involvement and culpability of everyone except Stephen Harper’s target, Mike Duffy. No wonder Paulson put his senior officers under a gag order.
This deal oozes corruption throughout the PMO to the prime minister to the Tory Senate leadership to the Senate audit committee to the Conservative Party. The measure of the integrity of the RCMP lies in its ability to sweep all of that under the carpet even after the facts are out in the public.
We know better. We know this prosecution has been tailored to take Nigel Wright, Benjamin Perrin, Stephen Harper, Senators Gerstein, LeBreton, Tkachuk and Stewart-Olsen, and Arthur Hamilton off the hook. This is the doing of the prime minister’s partisan state police apparatus and it harkens back to another time on another continent.
If it was valid to jettison the Canadian Airborne Regiment after the Somalia scandal (and, for the record, I’m not convinced it was), then this sorry affair surely warrants dismantling the RCMP. There’s no place in a democracy for a partisan political state police agency. From the barn burnings in Quebec in the 60s to this I’ve certainly had my fill of these rogue operators.MoS, the Disaffected Lib