When a couple of senators were fingered for padding expense accounts, many Canadians thought the accusations simply confirmed what they’d long suspected. Justifiable or not, a growing number of people have a dim view of the Senate.
Now the scandal takes a hairpin twist as Senator Mike Duffy – recently told he would be suspended without pay – shoots back in a blistering speech to a Senate committee reviewing the matter. Duffy claims after originally being assured there was no problem in the way he’d managed his expenses, orders later came from the prime minister to repay disallowed housing claims.
With the Prime Minister’s Office being directly implicated by Duffy, calls from the opposition are mounting for Stephen Harper to testify about what he knew.
Duffy claims the Conservatives were so bent on appeasing their supporters that they clamped down hard on any potential controversy. He described the treatment he received from the PMO in terms of threats and extortion.
Senator Pamela Wallin, another on the suspension list, is also lined up to let loose on the subject.
Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. Then again, when they stop feeding you….
These carefully selected senators, when appointed, were ordered to strictly carry out the political bidding of the Conservatives – they well knew that. But when self-preservation comes into play not everyone is willing to fall on their swords for the love of party.
We’ll have to see how this plays out, but if these senators produce evidence to back the explosive claims, the prime minister will indeed have a lot of catching up to do in his explaining.
Any cloud over the PMO will undoubtedly play a large role in the next election, in 2015. And considering the last change in government was largely driven by the sponsorship scandal plaguing the Liberals, we’re into a cynical pattern. It’s far more encouraging to vote for the party we feel will do a good job than to vote against the party we feel has wronged us.