On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Ontario's Crown prosecutors announced there would be no appeal of the acquittal of Sen. Mike Duffy, who had been found not guilty last month of 31 charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery.
Yesterday -- that is to say, for those of you who read this later, on Wednesday -- The Globe and Mail reported that former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper will now resign as MP for the Calgary Heritage riding and slip out the back door of the Parliament Buildings a final time.
The Globe's story, and all the coverage of the same story since, seems not to have mentioned the elephant in the Parliamentary chamber, that is, the simplest explanation of why the humiliated ex-PM was sticking around so long after the Oct. 19, 2015, federal election when he obviously didn't feel much like it. To wit: He needed to preserve his Parliamentary privilege long enough to avoid being called to testify about the shenanigans in the Prime Minister's Office back in the days when the boys in short pants were trying to get then-Conservative Sen. Duffy to stop embarrassing the Harper Government.
Had he been called to testify, of course, the question he was bound to be asked by Duffy's very sharp lawyer was, "How much did you know?" We can only speculate on why the former prime minister might have not wanted to have to answer such a question under oath.
Even not-very-alert readers should recall that Duffy's guilt or innocence hinged on whether he thought up the scheme to pretend he himself had found those 90,000 Canadian dollars that Harper chief of staff Nigel Wright gave him to pay his contested and controversial housing expenses, or whether he'd been pushed into something he was uncomfortable with by someone in the PMO.
On April 21, Justice Charles Vaillancourt ruled that the senator didn't jump but was pushed, and found him not guilty of all the charges he faced. A week ago, the RCMP announced it would not press charges against Sen. Pamela Wallin, another Conservative senator whose case may have been discussed in the PMO. And on Tuesday came the word from the Ontario Crowns' office that there would be no appeal of the Duffy case. On Wednesday, Harper pulled the plug.
There's nothing to see here folks. Move along, please.
Tonight, Harper will be feted by his disappointed supporters at a Tory clam-bake on the Left Coast. There will be a laudatory movie and everything. Then the jockeying to replace him, as well as interim Opposition Leader Rona Ambrose, will start in earnest.
Among the little jockeys competing to sit in the big man's saddle will be another Calgarian, Jason Kenney, the honourable member for Calgary Midnapore, former minister of this and that.
I guess Kenney was trying to get a head start on the leadership race when he cutely published a sarcastic Tweet Tuesday evening about a photo of the Alberta NDP's climate leadership plan announcement, wondering, "Why is a guy in smocks & a stethoscope at a carbon tax announcement? Is he there to help revive the Alberta economy?"
This prompted a certain amount of sharpish discussion back and forth on Twitter, in which Kenney stuck manfully to his point -- illustrating, perhaps, how we're all just one or two tweets from unemployment.
Many who tweeted back pointed out that federal Conservatives also frequently show up at news conferences in hospital scrubs (not to mention bewinged military uniforms) to make their various points. A photo of Rona Ambrose in green scrubs with a stethoscope around her neck and what looks like a nice Rolex on her wrist made the rounds, and, for a spell yesterday, the hashtag #SmockDoc was trending.
For those of you who don't know, here's the difference: The guy in the scrubs in the NDP photo is a real doctor who is also a passionate advocate for a phase out of coal-fired power generation.
His name is Joe Vipond and he's an Emergency Room physician in Calgary. He's also a clinical lecturer at the University of Calgary. In other words, Dr. Vipond has earned the right to wear scrubs and carry a stethoscope wherever he pleases, even if it is as a prop in a political photo.
In case you weren't sure, Ambrose is not a real doctor. Just like Harper isn't a real helicopter pilot.
Apparently the Tories still think none of us notice any of this stuff!
Either that or they've reached the point where they don't understand the difference themselves any more between real docs and the ones in the ads who tell you "more doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette…"
Tobacco is bad for your health. Climate change is real. Just sayin'!
Author: David J. Climenhaga