This week has been a literal gold minefield for Canadian politics. Incredible juicy exploding nuggets of scandal and intrigue, uncovered under every nook and behind every cranny.
I encourage you to explore all the scandal eviscerating the senate right now, but I want to focus on one particular angle from this article: Damning Findings Removed from Sen. Mike Duffy's Audit Report.
Sources say the whitewash was part of a backroom deal with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff, Nigel Wright.
Fife revealed earlier this week that Wright helped Duffy pay back a $90,172 debt to the Senate for improperly claimed living expenses.
The PMO then confirmed that Wright, a former Bay Street executive, wrote a personal cheque to Duffy as a gift to an old friend, although sources say the two men are not close.
To put this into context, Nigel Wright has stuck his neck out not once, but twice, for Mike Duffy, and in both cases the circumstances are dubious at best and may prove yet to be criminal. And many people want to know the answer to a very simple question: Why?
In the absence of any coherent or believable communications from the Senate, the CPC or the PMO, all we're left with as an electorate are insidious conspiracies and anti-elitist fantasies.
Let's approach it logically
What would it take for Person A (Duffy) to get Person B (Wright) to whitewash damning reports and give A, under a cloak of secrecy, $90,000 in order to repay possibly fraudulently claimed expenses? These are the possible scenarios:
- B is so honourable that he will fall on his sword protecting A
- C is making B fall on his sword protecting A
- B owes A a previous debt
- A has made promises to B
- A has control over B
B is so honourable that he will fall on his sword protecting A
While this is possible, it isn't really plausible. Wright is an extremely competent person, from what I've read about him - smart and driven. These are rookie mistakes, if they are mistakes at all.
C is making B fall on his sword protecting A
Andrew Coyne also wonders why and suggests that a Fear of Audits led Conservatives to cover for Mike Duffy:
The question is why? Why go to such lengths to protect him? Why risk so much for so little? The revelations of recent days suggest one reason: because of the sorts of things the auditors were likely to uncover, had they been allowed to do their work.and to this possibility - that powers greater than Wright are pulling his purse strings.
There is only one person in the whole country that could make Wright risk so much for so little.
The PMO has been uncategorically supportive of Wright but has cut Duffy adrift, a flusterpated zeppelin about to be engulfed in a fantastical fireball.
B owes A a previous debt
He is a vociferous fundraiser and, against the rules, an influential campaigner.
B has made promises to A
We can't legitimately believe that snow-white altruism led to the gift of $90K. That there were no strings attached to either the whitewash or the money is not plausible. No one risks this type of exposure without some expectation of patronage, especially Wright, who seems to have broken the cardinal rule about being PM CofS: "never become the story".
It is possible and plausible that Duffy has promised some future mark to be called in on a whim, no questions asked, or perhaps he's already fulfilling those promises in his hermitage.
A has control over B
It might be that whenever Duffy comes calling Wright must answer for reasons entirely unknown. It may not even involve Wright directly. While this is possible, it does not seem plausible.
This story is moving too fast - Nigel Wright resigned this morning, but there will be more to come and more and more it appears that a mysterious Person C is making Wright fall on his sword for Duffy, but we'll have to watch and see.