Andrew Coyne has written a very good and entertaining piece for the National Post:
This is the hardest thing I have ever done. This has been the worst experience of my entire life. Believe me, no one feels more badly about this than I do. How could this have happened to me?
I just want all the facts to come out. I’m just trying to get to the bottom of all this. I am prepared to answer everyone’s questions. I am prepared to speak with certain hand-picked media. But first let’s let the police do their work. Let’s see all the evidence. Let’s release all the documents. And then let’s let my lawyers move for a mistrial.
About my expense claims. We’re still trying to piece together what happened, but it seems that, yes, in the crush of a very busy schedule, some receipts marked “personal” or “private” may have been inadvertently mixed in with some other receipts marked “business” or “naughty.” And I pledge to you today that every penny of these expenses will be repaid, with interest, out of the proceeds of future expense claims.
It goes on and on and you’ve got to read the whole hilarious, sarcastic and sad column. One additional point: the major politicians in scandal-land have strong connections to the federal Conservative party. That’s probably not a popular thing to point out. Too bad. It’s true, and it says something important about the rotten, cheating, lying, hateful and stupid political culture Stephen Harper has built.
Exiled Conservative senator and former Conservative fund-raiser Mike Duffy is now accused of paying a friend $65,000 for what is technically known as “???”. The friend, former TV technician Gerald Donohue, says he did “internet research and provided verbal advice” to Duffy, which RCMP Cpl. Greg Horton said he believes was “little or no apparent work.” From CBC:
The documents show there might be more to the Duffy investigation than just his living allowance. The RCMP need Duffy’s banking records to prove where the $65,000 went, Horton wrote, because Donohue says he never saw any of it, and that it went to his business. The money was paid by cheque, the court documents state. “The supporting documentation relating to the bank transactions will assist investigators in identifying where the money went after it was deposited, and who received the money if Donohue did not,” Horton wrote. The affidavit also notes that Nigel Wright, who was Harper’s chief of staff until he resigned over a report that he repaid $90,000 of Duffy’s Senate expenses out of his own pocket, turned over hundreds of pages of emails to investigators on Aug. 21.
Meanwhile, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford might be under police investigation and his driver and pal Alexander Lisi, who was arrested last week for drug trafficking, allegedly offered weed for the return of Ford’s stolen cellphone. Whuuuaaa? Don’t even know what to make of this (besides the fact that weed should be a legal recreational drug, not a currency for stolen goods).
In any case, Canada’ conservative politicians seem to be winning the political corruption arms race these days. Outside of Quebec, anyway.
The RCMP referral and other recommendations are contained in the committee’s report that says Wallin had an “unusual pattern” of stopping in Toronto, where she owns a condo, on her way from Ottawa to Saskatchewan, the province she was appointed to represent in 2009. Between January 2009 and Sept. 30, 2012, Wallin made 95 trips between the nation’s capital and Saskatchewan and 75 of them involved stops of one or more nights in Toronto, the auditors found. The audit report contains a chart that outlines all of Wallin’s expense claims — the amounts, the dates, the travel routes, and details of her trips, including whom she met with and other activities. Expense claims were deemed appropriate if Wallin stayed over in Toronto in order to avoid a late arrival in Saskatchewan or if there was Senate business in Toronto. But the review found many instances where Wallin had said on her expense forms that she was on Senate business but in fact was not.
This whole Harper machine seems more and more Mulroneyesque every day.