Senate scandal deepens

If the prime minister was hoping that his prorogation and subsequent 17-week summer break would put the Senate scandal on the backburner when Parliament returned, he was spectacularly wrong.
It is increasingly obvious that Mr. Harper really has no one left to blame but himself for all of this. He hired Nigel Wright as his chief of staff, and he appointed Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, and Patrick Brazeau to the Senate.
And, as we learned last week, Mr. Harper misled Parliament in the spring when he said that Nigel Wright had “acted alone.”
The inconvenient truth is now that at least 13 of Mr. Harper’s own staff, who he hired to work in the Prime Minister’s Office, knew about the $90,000 cheque and the scheme to mislead Canadians about Mr. Duffy’s fraudulent travel and housing claims.
You read that correctly–13 people–are now part of this scandal and cover-up.
So far from acting alone, Nigel Wright had the assistance of at least a dozen other high-ranking Conservatives in this fiasco.
The scandal and cover-up no longer are about travel and housing, but about a prime minister who lacks clearly lacks the judgment required to lead this country.
If he chooses to surround himself with so many people who are willing to bribe a sitting Senator, mislead Parliament and Canadians, and go to great lengths to cover their own dirty work, then one has to wonder who else does he have working in his office and what sort of misdeeds are they undertaking today–with or without his knowledge?
It is worth noting that Ray Novak actually got a promotion recently as he was chosen–by Mr. Harper–to replace Nigel Wright as his chief of staff.
If the prime minister has such bad judgment about the people he hires to work in his office and put in the Senate, how can anyone trust his judgment and honesty when it comes to other issues–from protecting Canadians’ privacy to tabling accurate federal budget and economic figures and negotiating trade deals?
Unfortunately, for Mr. Harper, this scandal is in its infancy. All of these issues arose from a random audit of just seven senators out of the 105 who have been appointed.
Thankfully, Auditor General Michael Ferguson has agreed to audit all of the expenses and budgets of the senators, and has promised to report back to Canadians prior to the next election in 2015.
This scandal and the fallout are far from over. And in the end, Mr. Harper will have no one to blame but himself for this theft of Canadian tax dollars and the tangled web of lies that was constructed to cover it up.
Stay tuned.

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