Thursday, October 24, 2013

Integrity is more than fear of looking bad 

Finding myself agreeing with Andrew Coyne is an odd position to be in, and makes me doubt myself.
But anyway, I do find this part of his column interesting:
At the heart of it remains Wright’s mysterious decision to cut Duffy a cheque from his personal account: still unexplained, still inexplicable, and not only because of its apparent illegality.... Why risk so much for so seemingly little?... Somehow a number of people around the prime minister absorbed the idea that it was okay to break the law to make an embarrassing political problem go away. That’s deeply troubling, whatever he told them, or they him. 
And Tasha Kheiriddin also connects some of the dots:
And when the issue of integrity is at stake, they won’t hesitate to sacrifice one of their own. ... Maxime Bernier resigned from cabinet in disgrace in 2008 after leaving NATO documents at the home of his ex-girlfriend, who had been linked to organized-crime figures. ...Helena Guergis was turfed in 2010 on unspecified allegations regarding her conduct, fueled by news reports that her husband, former MP Rahim Jaffer, had consorted with con men and “busty hookers.” Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was hauled before a commission of inquiry in 2008 over his relationship with fraudster Karl-Heinz Schreiber.
Why did the Conservative government pick on these cases, while others [Bev Oda, Tony Clement] resulted in no penalties? Because while those matters involved errors in judgment, the Bernier/Guergis/Mulroney matters touched on seedy elements that some, at the time, alleged might involve criminal activity.
The Conservative base does not approve of seedy. No matter the guilt or innocence of those accused, the mere association with persons of ill repute is enough to tarnish their reputation.
. . . A threat to the party’s reputation in this area had to be neutralized — in this case (the story goes) by allegedly ordering Mr. Duffy to pay back money that the Senator originally was told he didn’t owe.
If the Harper Cons are actually so focused on how things look that they will do anything to avoid an appearance of dishonesty, then they are doomed.
Honesty is not based on a fear that someone is looking. Integrity is not something that can be achieved by purchase or persuasion. The Harper Cons cannot build an honourable government on a foundation of sand.

Recommend this Post at Progressive Bloggers | 12 comments


If the Harper Cons are actually so focused on how things look that they will do anything to avoid an appearance of dishonesty, then they are doomed.

Honesty is not based on a fear that someone is looking. Integrity is not something that can be achieved by purchase or persuasion. The Harper Cons cannot build an honourable government on a foundation of sand.

Allison can probably correct me, but there have been over 30 major Con movers and shakers, MPs and Senators in deep since the first Harper Minority.

Harper and the PMO have cut loose immediately, those with alledged links to Organized Crime.

The rest, not so much. Fraud, money laundering, theft, influence peddling, blackmail and extortion, well, the pattern there is different.

First off is denial and attempts to slander the witnesses, obstruction, then stalling while erasing communivcations, and then, just hours before the RCMP show up with a warrant for said offender, Damnatio memoriae, disappeared from the rolls just like the Soviets used to remove unpersons from photographs.

Harper has had a long, long time to create the open, honest government that he keeps promising the rubes, but he has instead, used the time to try to gather all power to the PMO's office, and create the most corrupt and secretive Government in Canadian History.

By Blogger Enid, at 12:49 am  

Coyne does have a good point in the quote you selected Cathie, people take direction from the leader of an office in what is seen as acceptable and what is not in terms of general operating protocols. Whether expediency is seen as a good or bad thing, whether someone is a nit picker by the book type or someone comfortable with some fast and loose playing, these thing are sen by the leader's own decisions and attitudes. So what does it say about the office Harper has that there was a willingness to do all that appears to have occurred regarding Duffy since last year until this point even if it was behind his back (something I do not accept, for a PM so well known for being far more involved in the minutia of running things than any other leader normally leaves to staff to deal with to suddenly be so completely out of the loop in this one file goes beyond any reasonable expectation of believability to any rational person not blinded by partisanship.

I do find it more than a little ironic that the party and leader that made so much use of the "Libranos" theme to attack the former Liberal government for corruption has shown a far more powerful resemblance to a mafia run organization than any prior Canadian government on the federal level in our history, far more than any thing we saw from the prior Liberals. The combination of personal fealty to Harper above all other considerations (while the reverse is clearly not true once someone becomes a headache that actually causes real costs, while he is faster to dismiss where any possible organized crime connection may exist he still does it with others if the problems cannot be dealt with at what he considers a reasonable cost) combined with the clear omerta code not just between the leaders and MPs but instituted down throughout the ranks of the civil service in manners unprecedented before now enforced with brutal retaliation for the slightest deviations from it match that mafia/Sopranos comparison far better indeed, sad to say.

That so many around him felt it was fine to create the whitewash report to protect Duffy (which is it were not for the sole Liberal Senator on that subcommittee would have closed the matter before anything started to come out, something others may forget but I don't, we owe a lot to that Liberal Senator for not being willing to let this happen despite the clear pressures being brought by the PMO and Senate leadership for this) that Wright's so called 90K gift enabled tells us far more about the standard MO of the Harper PMO regardless of what the PM and his people have been saying, after all actions speak louder than words, especially actions taken that people don't expect to have to bear close scrutiny when they take them, as it is in this case. The culture created by Harper is only comparable to that of the brutal American mafia bosses in terms of operating style, and while we have in the past seen some tight and hard PMOs in the past this is not just a new level but a new dimension altogether, in that legality clearly is a secondary consideration when it is one at all for this operation on an operating basis across the board, something I would argue we have never seen before in this nation from a federal government.

To be concluded...

By Blogger Scotian, at 2:29 am  


I know you remember how emphatic I was that Harper was a danger if ever allowed the PMO, especially as a majority PM and that it was for abuse of power/position scandals and clear contempt for rule of law considerations that drove my fear, especially on the process side. Well, I would submit that my fears have been more than born out to have had a solid basis in reality, and that if anything I i may have understated just how bad it would be. This point Coyne raises illustrates that I believe, and I can at least hope that is finally starting to sink out there in the wider voting public that normally pays little attention to scandals that they don't see directly affect them (which I would argue this one does because of what it shows this PM will do whatever he wants regardless of legality to suit his aims/goals, every citizen should fear that threat to their own issues/concerns by a sitting PM that feels no restraints of legality in whatever he wants to do, the reasoning for that should be inherently obvious). Thank all the powers that be for PET and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it is the only thing left holding Harper in check from simply redesigning our system by legislative fiat (and no this is not exaggeration, pre-Charter a majority PM could even remove all civil rights from citizens by simple legislative fiat, see the 1970 War Measures Act if you don't believe it.

On that note I am off to bed, it is 5:30 am when I am at and I am starting to really feel it now, take care Cathie.

By Blogger Scotian, at 2:31 am  

Scotian..."the PM will do what ever he wants regardless of legality". He told Duffy to pay back the money and your hoping that the Charter finds him guilty of abusing the rights and freedoms of Canadians? Die hard partisans are bizarre. Yesterday in Ontario 1.7 million dollars was paid to very large corporations NOT to produce electricity, and, today pretty much the same will be paid to very large corporations NOT to produce electricity, for those keeping track thats enough cash to hire 25 full time nurses for a year, in Ontario we actually pay companys not to give us energy. Anyone read that lately? Its funny yet its kinda sad what we consider a scandal and what we think is important based on our political leanings. 25 nurses could help and ease many peoples pain and suffering, yet, somehow 90g's paid back to taxpayers is the issue. I'll never understand partisans of either slant and how their hatred for anything from the other side blurs what is really important. 25 nurses.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:55 am  

Personally, I'm glad Duffy was made to pay back the $90K. I don't get the focus on "how" that money made it's way back to taxpayers. I'm just glad it did. I guess the naysayers would have been happy if Harper (or the PMO) had not forced the repayment. I'll bet the bitching would have been just as loud. For Harper, it's often damned if you do and damned if you don't. I agree with a poster on another blog who simply stated: "forcing repayment of those funds, was the right thing to do. Harper won't lose too much sleep over the slings and arrows currently coming his way from all of the usual suspects." I'd much rather have Harper pull the $$ back in, than repeat some of the stuff that happened during the Chretien era.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:20 am  

I think that we a missing a crucial point in the Senate issue, and that is who decided that Wallin and Duffy were appropriate choices in the first place? Did they meet the residency requirements? If they did when they were appointed, then surely they meet that criteria now. Conversely, if they didn't meet the criteria, how were they instructed to "change" things so that they were eligible? We can look at the current situation with Judge Nadon. He doesn't appear to meet the criteria, but that doesn't seem to have been an issue for Harper.

By Blogger 131220, at 8:40 am  

Excellent point, 131220 -- Harper resents being "hamstrung" by rules, but then throws people under the bus when he gets in trouble down the road for this cavalier approach.

Scotian, I always appreciate your thoughtful analysis.

By Blogger CathiefromCanada, at 10:44 am  

"He told Duffy to pay back the money and your hoping that the Charter finds him guilty of abusing the rights and freedoms of Canadians? Die hard partisans are bizarre." Anonymous 4:55 am

Yes, you clearly are, because you have conflated two very different elements from my comment into something I never came anywhere near saying. My point on the Charter, as is clear from the comment, is that it is the sole protection we have against the removal of citizens rights by legislative fiat. I said NOTHING about the Charter where the issue with Duffy specifically was concerned, it was clearly in my section talking about the broader abuse of power questions of PM Harper in his own right. So thank you for showing how a "die hard partisan" mind bizarrely works, because you had to rewrite me to invent something I never said or even vaguely implied instead of quoting me saying what you claimed because I clearly said no such thing. Classic partisan tactics of deflection and distortion there, appreciate your showing us all just how willing to lie partisans can be. One of the advantages of being long winded is that it is much harder to put words in my mouth without being as obvious about it as you just demonstrated.


I always call things as I see them, I like to think that while I tend towards being wordy I also try to have something to say instead of empty rhetoric, bluster, and distortion such as we saw from Anonymous at 4:55 when (s)he decided to drive by smear with a complete fiction and claim I said so and it showed how I had to be the die hard partisan. I love how yet again we see classic right wing projection in action, I'd laugh about it if it weren't so pathetic (yes it can be dangerous but on a human level I really have always found the projection we tend to see from the hard right side about everyone not on their side pathetic and sad) at heart.

By Blogger Scotian, at 1:18 pm  

Finding yourself agreeing with a comment by Coyne shouldn't upset you. Be happy. Perhaps one day he will see the light. There is hope.

As to the little game of where is the money coming from and who did what, etc. this may bring down harper yet. We can only hope.

What is interesting is if Duffy and Wallin claimed expenses they ought not to, while they were on the caimpaign trail for the Cons and they raised money while doing so, will Harper and the Cons give the money back. Its like, "fruit of the poisonous tree". Just wondering.

Wallin and Duffy may have been a tad greedy, but they weren't stupid. They may well have been led to believe they were entitled to the "expense" money. Then of course when the public found out, the shit hit the fan, and they had to be gotten rid of. Perhaps, Wallin and Duffy, having done their work, fund raising, were expendable.

By Anonymous e.a.f., at 6:34 pm  

Expedience and self-preservation are Harper's MO -- as it is with too many politicians. Our cash-strapped media unfortunately continues to fall short of tying together all the loose threads from this emperor in his birthday suit, from Cadman to In-and-Out... The appointments of Porter, Carson, Duffy et al were rubber stamped flaunting of ethics and legalities, the bounds are only set in the PMO and its revolving rotation of college prepsters on the make. Harper could wiggle out of this, again on a technicality (I told him to pay it back) when the truth still stinks. Maybe it won't wash off this time, but Harper will run off to another foreign land and do another press conference, offering some cheap pearl for the taxpayers.

By Blogger rockfish, at 1:25 am  

I think it's possible that the reason they tried to cover up by giving Duffy that $90,000 was to avoid another investigation into more illegal election over-spending by the Conservatives.

As Tracey Kent pointed out, Duffy, Wallin (maybe other senators) helped some riding campaigns but their expenses may not have been shown as riding campaign expenses.


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