Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Welp, that's one way to change the channel...

I said a few days ago that the brilliance of Harper's recent Throne Speech was that it focused a lot on pocket issues, the things Canadians tend to care about. Bah, I said towards the Opposition's focus on the Senate scandal; Canadians don't care and are starting to get past it, the most it has left will be a sour taste in the back of the mouth, probably alleviated by unbundling their cable channels.

Then of course we had yesterday's spectacle in the Senate, and oh man is it a doozy. Mike Duffy's speech was bombshell after bombshell written into Hansard, word for word. Crazy stuff, some of the best quotes creating allusions to a "conspiracy" to force Duffy into his current position. And he says he has paper proof of it, all to come out "in due time."

While I'm pretty sure Duffy is just trying to worm his way out of accepting the blame for his foolish decisions - and why not, it isn't as if he has anything left to lose at this point - these revelations are very distracting to say the least. It hits Harper on almost every level of credibility that he has tried to build up. Clearly, how can Canadians stand by their Prime Minister if he is involved in these kinds of shadowy conspiracies, just to save face?

We can draw one clear recent parallel that probably won't comfort Harper either. Dalton McGuinty, fresh off a miraculous election win and sitting in a strong position among both his party and the electorate, was basically run out of office because of the continually exploding gas-plant scandal. So far in this Duffy saga, we're just starting to see underneath the water level how big this iceberg really is. The question is going to become how deep it goes.

Is Harper going to suffer the same fate as McGuinty, and resign before its too late? In order to avoid considering that possibility, Harper would probably need to try and force another channel change. But given how simply fascinating this row is becoming, I don't think pithy appeals to consumer protection and pricing gaps are going to cut it when Canadians start asking why Harper's PMO tried to protect their own, and then throw Duffy to the wolves when their sordid little secrets were exposed.

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