In the latest scandal in Canadian politics, The Prime Minister's chief of staff, who, in theory, runs the PMO (The Prime Ministers Office) paid a senator, Mike Duffy, $90,000 so that he could pay off a debt he has incurred because he was ripping off the taxpayer. In doing so, he avoided an inquiry into the whole affair, one in which some potential backroom deals and secrets may have come out. It should be noted that the Senator (Duffy) was appointed directly by the Prime Minister and was a very avid fundraiser for his (Harper's) party, and in fact was double dipping and claiming government expenses while he was fundraising for the party and not on official government business. Can you say cover up? I knew that you could.
"Obviously, I am very sorry that this has occurred. I'm not only sorry, I've been through the range of emotions. I'm sorry, I'm frustrated, I'm extremely angry about it, but that is the reality and I think we have dealt with it promptly."
Dealt with it promptly? Hardly. Dodging responsibility seems more like an apt description on what Teflon Stephen has attempted to do.
Did the prime minister know about the payment? Probably not. Because he didn't want to know. When the shit hit the fan, he was already prepared to not be responsible. He had his exit plan ready before the problem came to light.
The prime minister claims to not have known about the payment his chief of staff, Nigel Wright, made to Senator Mike Duffy. In all likelihood, he didn't. Because say what you will about Stephen Harper, but he certainly isn't stupid. And what Nigel Wright did was incredibly stupid. But in any case, assuming Harper didn't know, that doesn't absolve him of any responsibility for what happened. For a smart guy, Harper has made a grave tactical error here. One that has basically ended his political career as soon as the next election happens.
It is called the PMO, or Prime Ministers Office for a reason. Whatever happens there is a direct reflection on Harper and he ultimately is responsible for it. In fact, his chief of staff is hand picked by the prime minister and thus he takes the blame for any actions that reflect poorly on him. You can't simply throw Nigel Wright under the bus and make him the fall guy. It doesn't work like that. When you throw him under the bus and try to scapegoat him for this whole affair, then you are also throwing yourself under the bus.
And here is the end result. Nigel Wright is today's fall guy and bad story. It is fresh today. It won't be in a week or two. But, come next election, the only thing people will be talking about is how Stephen Harper isn't a competent leader, because he can't even control his own office. How can he be expected to run a country the magnitude of Canada if he can't even get the simple decisions right?
It is his office, so, if they screw up, he screws up. It is as simple as that.
Stephen Harper doesn't get a "get out of jail free card" for not knowing. He should get a longer sentence. In addition to hiring the man who committed the crime, and therefore being an accomplice at best, he then decided to make him the fall guy when he didn't stand up before the Canadian people and say that he screwed up and take responsibility for letting it all happen.
He hasn't done that.
Yes, he is angry, he is sorry, and he is disturbed about it. But he isn't admitting that he is responsible for it. Therefore, he is admitting that he isn't really responsible for anything. Is that the kind of Prime Minister we want.
I don't. Literally.
"I think anybody would have expected that when it was said the Mr. Duffy had repaid his expenses that indeed that he, and not somebody else, had repaid his expenses. And he (Wright) did this in his capacity as chief of staff, so he is solely responsible. And that is why he has resigned."
The prime minister, or anyone in his position would have to be illiterate to think that something that happens in the Prime Ministers Office doesn't bear directly on him and his leadership skills. And being that the main reason he has that job is that he is supposedly a great leader, he has shot himself in the foot with the whole way this has played out and how he has responded to getting caught playing his own game.
If Stephen Harper thinks that he can simply walk away from this, and that he is immune as Teflon Stephen for the things HIS office does, then he must be illiterate. When your office does something, in the name of your office, that is representing you, then you are responsible. That is the start and the end of the story. But only if you are literate enough to read between the lines.
When the next election comes around, you can be certain this is going to come up again, and no matter what Harper says, people will never believe he is a strong leader. Literally, he has backed himself into a corner. He has run on his leadership skills and now he has shown he has none.
Hopefully he is still smart enough to read the writing on the wall and not run again.