Miles Report No. 28
An afternoon with Evan Solomon
I don’t usually watch all of Evan Solomon for various reasons, but today with no other afternoon happenings I was quite fascinated by the coverage of the PMO’s Duffy-Harper conflict - or rather scandal.
My over-all impression, especially with the many back and forth statements occurring today, is that Harper, who has been labelled a control freak (Okay Elise, he has the adoring support of the ‘base’’, but his base is mostly hard core Christian conservatives who tend to like being led as sheep), certainly must be involved at the top of this scandal.
There may be certain points he is not aware of, but: his changing story about “reluctantly” accepting Wright’s resignation and to that of dismissal (then why a severance payout?); his changing story about how many people knew from essentially none to a few, and now burgeoning to several more; the changing story from one cheque, to a second cheque written with someone’s funds (Canadian taxpayer funds? Conservative party slush fund?) paid by a guy involved with the Robo-call scandal and the Conservative party money manipulating scheme; all lead to the almost inevitable conclusion that Harper is deeply involved with this.
Harper may yet come away in shining armour from all this, as he is a clever, foxy, manipulative, and devious politician - all good traits for political success over a ‘base’ that essentially worships him as god. He and the party are great at maintaining their ‘talking points’ by which they avoid answering questions relating to anything that might cause some political harm.
The senate is not at question anymore, although I do not think that Duffy, Brazeau, and Wallin are saints and probably have over-extended their privileges - as most senators probably do - as the senate is seemingly designed for anyway. The question now is about the details of what and when Harper said what should or should not be done.
But having raised the senate question, the very institution itself cannot be democratic, even if elected, especially if it is done under Canada’s archaic ‘first past the post’ system (take note Mr. Poilievre, Minister of State for Democratic Affairs). Under elected circumstances it becomes simply an extension of Parliament and, depending on who holds the majority of seats, under the direction of the PMO. There cannot be a “triple-e senate’ (equal, elected , and effective) as it cannot carry any of the ‘e’s adequately. Perhaps if all senators were independent, but that in itself would only be nominal as their allegiances would be obvious to anyone paying even a little attention. The only democratic move is abolition.
Back to Evan...
I find it interesting that even those I would consider pretty much hardcore conservative in a conservative sense (rather than an idolatry sense) seem to be fairly well put off by Harper’s actions and his lack of consistency and changing story-lines.
During the interview time, the House Conservatives did not sit a representative to discuss the latest revelations of Duffy on camera, instead they were upstairs receiving their talking points and trying to come up with other information that might steer the argument the other way.
Such appears to be the case with the literal brown paper envelope dropped off at the studio, a copy of an e-mail within which Duffy said he was not lying when he reported that he had a loan from RBC to pay off the loan. Obviously he was lying, but as he himself said, that was a part of the script as presented by the PMO - so was he not, at that date, simply playing forward the script? I would think so. I’m sure we’ll know soon.
Overall, I would have to guesstimate from what has occurred so far, that Harper is well aware of what is going on. He is too much of a commander to be unaware, and if he was unaware, as Prime Minister he is still responsible for the actions of both his caucus in the Senate and his party membership.
Sorry, I can’t watch Evan Solomon tomorrow - too bad his Ottawa time is in the middle of the afternoon here.