Duffy & Wallin Not Going Down Without A Fight.

Oct 25

If Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his merry band of yes-men in the PMO and Senate expected former Conservative Senators Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin to just quietly accept the possibility of being expelled from the Senate, they were very mistaken.

Duffy and Wallin, the two former high-profile journalists appointed by Harper to the Senate several years ago, wound up in hot water along with two other Senators for claiming living and travel expenses for which they were not eligible.

Mike Duffy (r) claims Prime Minister Harper authorized payment of his fraudulent expense claims.

Mike Duffy (r) claims Prime Minister Harper authorized payment of his fraudulent expense claims.

Duffy’s case got very interesting when Harper’s then-chief of staff Nigel Wright earlier this year wrote a $90,000 personal cheque to cover the corpulent senator’s questionable expenses.

Wright, who resigned when the payment was subsequently leaked to the media, claimed no one else – not even Harper – knew about it, but it’s come to light over a dozen people in the PMO knew about it.

While the RCMP are investigating Wright, there’s as yet no clear evidence Harper was aware of Wright’s actions, let alone ordered the payment, until such time as it was reported by the press.

Duffy, however, not only claimed Harper knew, but indeed ordered Wright to do it. He added Harper said it wasn’t about what Duffy did (violating the rules and potentially breaking the law), but how it was perceived by the media and the party’s base.

Though the PMO claimed Duffy’s accusations were merely a desperate attempt on his part to save his Senate seat, “The Ol’ Duff” (as he refers to himself) claimed to have copies of e-mails between himself and people in the PMO which substantiates his claim.

If so, that would be “the smoking gun” tying Harper directly to Wright’s cheque, creating a serious political scandal and putting the PM in contempt of parliament.

Pamela Wallin (l) in happier times with PM Harper.

Pamela Wallin (l) in happier times with PM Stephen Harper.

Wallin, meanwhile, lashed out at both the PMO and the Conservative Senate leadership for pressuring her to resign over her expenses (which she’s since repaid), while claiming the audit of her expenses was “fundamentally flawed and unfair”.

Duffy and Wallin clearly have no intention of meekly accepting expulsion from the Senate. If they’re to go down, they intend to drag as many of Harper’s people with them as they can. If the PM is among them, or at least has his reputation tarnished, so much the better.

It’s ironic how the very things Harper prized in Duffy and Wallin – their media fame, charisma and communication skills – are now being deployed to damage the PMO and (at the very least) seriously embarrass the Prime Minister.

Duffy and Wallin were essentially “bagmen” for Harper’s Conservatives, touring the country at speaking engagement pumping up the Conservative brand on Harper’s behalf, especially during election time. They were very good at it, too.

Unfortunately for Harper and his party, they either had no idea the pair would try to scam the system by padding their expense claims, or assumed they wouldn’t be quite so overt about it.

Say what you will about Duffy and Wallin, who’ve besmirched their once-stellar reputations, but they are fighters. You don’t get to the top of the heap in Canadian journalism, especially covering politics, by being a milquetoast. It’s no surprise the pair intend to go down swinging.

They won’t admit their obvious wrongdoings or apologize for their actions, but will fight with all the skills acquired from decades in the journalistic trade to work this angle to their advantage, ensuring those they’re beholden to for their cushy senate seats pay a price for what the pair see as betrayal.

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