Thursday, July 17, 2014

The "briber" and the bribee" how can you bribe yourself?

Good Day Readers:

Today's charges against Mike Duffy are a big mucking mess for the Harper government opening up a honking, mother of all can of worms.
The Sexiest Charge

By far the bribery allegation covered under sections 119, 121 and 122 of the Criminal Code is the most serious. What the RCMP seem to be arguing is there was evidence of criminal intent on Mr. Duffy's part but not Nigel Wright's. While the former received tangible benefits not so the latter. Huh? At least initially did the former Chief of Staff not succeed in making Mike Duffy shut the .... up and refrain from making public statements that were increasingly embarrassing for his employer? Can it be argued it was an attempt to make a damaging scandal go away?

True while he may not have financially benefited personally, did he not in other ways? Besides, the Senate has Conflict of Interest legislation why wasn't he cited under that? Earlier today Duff Conacher a lawyer who founded Democracy Watch announced he's going to pursue a private prosecution against Mr. Wright.

Mike Duffy

IF this goes to trial, does Senator Duffy have any more of his wade left or has he already blown it all? Notice earlier he was constantly mouthing off but lately has been quieter than a church mouse. Is that because he has no more wad left or his lawyer has told him to shut the .... up? He has vowed to force by subpoena Stephen Harper and God knows who else from the Prime Minister's Office, the Senate and senior bureaucrats to testify.

Of course the key witness would be the Prime Minister. Under The Parliament Act of Canada would Stephen Harper be able to resist testifying? Apparently, the judicial system doesn't like to force a sitting Prime Minister to testify while Parliament is in session plus there are rules as to when they can appear in court. On the other hand, it's harder to wiggle out of testifying in a criminal matter versus a civil proceeding. Legal experts are already speculating the fraud against the government charge would afford him the best opportunity to have Stephen Harper served with a subpoena.

Nigel Wright

The RCMP and Crown Prosecutors Office seem to be of the mind it's alright to offer a bribe but not alright to accept one, Nigel Wright would have to be subpoeaned. So far he's said virtually nothing publicly, in effect, lawyered up. By the way notice how his former employer (Onex) has quietly shipped him off to their London, England operations.

However, Stephen Harper has thrown him under the bus.

Does the fact he wasn't charged suggest he cut a deal he wouldn't be prosecuted in return for singing like not one but two canaries?

You've got to figure he must be thoroughly ....ed off by now.

The Diva Senator

You've got to figure Pamela Wallen can't be thrilled with today's developments. Will she be next? She must be quivering so much her pantyhose are now around her ankles.

Trial/No Trial?

If there's a trial(s) the .... will surely hit the fan possibly twice.

Will Mike Duffy and his lawyer try to play let's make a deal?

Probably those 18 breach of public trust and questionable expense claims would likely be the easiest to plead out.

Date of Next Election?

In the words of Sunnyvale Trailer Park Manager Jim Layhe there's a huge .... storm coming while the .... clock is ticking.

CyberSmokeBlog Chief Political Analyst Mr. Jim Lahey (right) and his Assistant Sunnyvale Trailer Park Manager Randy in the drunk tank.
Alternatively stated, the longer this goes on the more it will become the honkin, mother of all fat, juicy, salacious political trials. Best call the next election as soon as you can.

Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk

Senator Mike Duffy a wrench in the electoral works for Harper and Conservatives

By Jennifer Ditchburn
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Conservative Senator Mike Duffy leaves Parliament Hill in Ottawa, in a June 6, 2013 photo. (The Canadian Press//Fred /Chartrand)

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper has a new political opponent to contend with heading into the 2015 election, one that has the potential to inflict more significant damage than Tom Mulcair or Justin Trudeau.

Former Conservative Sen. Mike Duffy will have his day in court on 31 charges ranging from bribery to breach of trust in relation to a host of alleged misuses of public funds.

The legal machinations could very well unfold in the run-up to the federal election scheduled for the fall of next year, keeping the details alive in the headlines.

Duffy's first court date is scheduled for the day after Parliament reopens in September. The speed of the ensuing trial will have political strategists making their calculations.

How much Harper knew about the clandestine $90,000 payment made by his former chief of staff Nigel Wright to Duffy to cover his contested Senate expenses is likely to come up. The lead RCMP investigator has said he "is not aware of any evidence that the prime minister was involved."

That likely wouldn't dissuade the defence from making a very public attempt to have Harper testify, nor would the fact that the courts are reluctant to call prime ministers while Parliament is sitting.

Others, including Harper's former leader in the Senate, Marjory LeBreton, the current Conservative Fund chairman Irving Gerstein, the PM's former legal counsel and other close aides including Wright could also figure prominently in the legal to-and-fro.

The details of how Duffy was called upon to campaign alongside Conservative candidates during the 2011 election, while allegedly claiming expenses from both the party and the Senate, will also be laid out.

The situation is reminiscent of the one faced by Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin, who contended with the fallout from the sponsorship scandal and a federal inquiry during the 2004 and 2006 elections.

Harper now, like Martin then, says he had no knowledge of the scheme at the heart of the scandal. An important factor in Harper's favour is that the RCMP did not lay charges against Wright.

Still, both Duffy and the opposition will try to keep Harper in the scandal's orbit.

If Duffy's dramatic public denunciations of Harper and his closest officials on the floor of the Senate last fall are any indication, the former broadcaster will not hold anything back in defending himself.

"It will all come out in due course when all of the players are under oath and the email chain can be seen in its entirety," Duffy foreshadowed during his speech on Oct. 22.

Duffy's lawyer, Donald Bayne, has also exhibited a certain elan in defending his client publicly, suggesting the blame lies with Conservative officials and senators.

Duffy has alleged he was threatened and coerced by the prime minister's office and Conservative senators into repaying $90,000 worth of contested Senate living expenses, even though he felt he had not broken any rules.

"To date, Sen. Duffy has never had a fair hearing, either in the Senate or in the media," Bayne said in a statement late Wednesday.

"We are confident that when the full story is told, as it will be, and shown to be supported by many forms of evidence, it will be clear that Sen. Duffy is innocent of any criminal wrong-doing."

The opposition parties quickly seized the opportunity Thursday to directly link the Duffy charges with Harper himself. Both the NDP and the Liberals said the saga is about Harper's lack of judgment.

"We're hopeful these charges will help answer the questions the prime minister has refused to answer: What did he know, and when? Why hasn't the prime minister taken corrective action for the behaviour of his top advisers and members of this caucus?" said Liberal foreign affairs critic Marc Garneau.

"When will those involved in the PMO coverup be fired and face ethics investigations, rather than to be shuffled to other senior posts in government?"

The Prime Minister's Office issued a statement Thursday distancing itself from Duffy, who has been suspended from the Senate, along with two other former Conservatives appointed by Harper.

"We have assisted the RCMP throughout their investigation, and congratulate them on the progress they have made," said spokesman Jason MacDonald.

"Those who break the rules must suffer the consequences. The conduct described in the numerous charges against Mr. Duffy is disgraceful. As this is now a criminal matter that is before the courts, we have nothing further to add."

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